What does Kiwoom Heroes think the future will look like?
Kiwoom exercised a total of three additional picks in the 2024 KBO rookie draft held on the 14th. In the first round, Seoul High School pitcher Jeon Jun-pyo, in the second round, Seongnam High School infielder Lee Jae-sang, and in the third round, Bibong High School Lee Woo-hyun were each nominated through additional draft rights. This is the result of sending catcher Joo Hyo-sang to the KIA Tigers, pitcher Kim Tae-hoon to the Samsung Lions, and pitcher Choi Won-tae to the LG Twins, receiving 2nd, 3rd, and 1st round picks, respectively.
This was significant because it was a higher order than Kiwoom’s original order. After completing the draft, Lee Sang-won, head of Kiwoom’s scout team, commented with satisfaction, saying, “It went as I expected. We selected the player with the most outstanding skills that we could select in our turn.”
As team leader Lee Sang-won said, it is worthy of evaluation as the best nomination in each turn. The pitchers were evenly selected from right-handers (Jeon Jun-pyo, Kim Yun-ha), left-handers (Son Hyun-ki),메이저놀이터 and side-arm throwers (Lee Woo-hyun). The advantages are also different. Jeon Jun-pyo cited his ability to strike out close to one per inning, and Kim Yun-ha cited his excellent walk and strikeout rates as his strengths. Lee Woo-hyun is classified as the biggest sidearm thrower this year.
The nomination of infielder Lee Jae-sang also stands out. His defensive ability is the best among this year’s draftees, and his offensive ability is also evaluated as decent. Kiwoom is a ‘famous shortstop’ representing professional baseball. In the past, starting with Kang Jeong-ho, Kim Ha-seong and Kim Hye-seong continued to produce large shortstops. Over the past 12 years from 2010 to 2021, Kiwoom has won a total of 8 shortstop Golden Glove Awards. Team leader Lee Sang-won said, “Jaesang Lee definitely has strong arms and offensive power,” and added, “If he receives professional training from the club and develops according to the development plan, he will show a good performance.”It was a draft that could lay the foundation for Kiwoom’s leap forward. Kiwoom, which finished second last year, is in last place with a winning percentage of 0.395 as of the 16th. After the season ends, there is a high possibility that Lee Jung-hoo will leave for the Major League Baseball (MLB) through the posting system. Ace Ahn Woo-jin is also expected to sit out due to elbow rehabilitation treatment and military service.
It became clear that rebuilding was necessary. If the second-place team from last year had only exercised the 9th pick, their future would have been more precarious, but thanks to the active collection of picks this year, they were able to select a wide range of top prospects. Of course, it is unclear whether they will grow into core resources of the future. However, the probability was increased by nominating additional players in the upper rounds and ahead of the original number.
It doesn’t have to be a core resource. Professional baseball is a sport that requires both shining superstars and a strong player base. It is enough for a variety of people selected from the middle and lower ranks to thicken the first-team player base, and for the players selected from the top ranks next year to become the main players. It is worth paying attention to Kiwoom’s ‘Post Lee Jeong-hoo’ plan.