The 2024 KBO Rookie Draft, which will take place on April 14, is now just over a month away. With the former No. 1 overall pick, ultra-athletic pitcher Jang Hyun-seok (19-Masan Yongmago), signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a $900,000 signing bonus, all eyes will be on the next best options for Hanwha and Doosan, who hold the No. 1 and No. 2 picks.
Hanwha, which holds the No. 1 overall pick, is expected to select Jang Chung-go left-hander Hwang Jun-seo, 18. Hwang distinguished himself early enough to make the youth national team last year as a sophomore, drawing rivalry with Jang Hyun-seok. While he doesn’t have the same hard-hitting fastball as Jang, who throws up to 156km/h, the left-hander is recognized for his soft delivery, balance, and steady delivery.
He was skinny at 187 centimeters and 75 kilograms, but this year he gained 5 kilograms and threw up to 150 kilometers. Hanwha wasn’t too disappointed when Jang Hyun-seok went to the United States because they had a solid alternative in Hwang Jun-seo.
If Jang Hyun-seok had stayed in Korea, Hanwha would have taken him, while Hwang Jun-seo would have likely gone to Doosan, who had the second pick. It was said that Doosan was the team that lost the most with Jang Hyun-seok going to the U.S., but that story has been debunked. Kim Taek-yeon, 18, of Incheon, has exploded onto the scene as the top right-handed prospect in the draft.
The 6-foot-3, 184-pounder is 7-1 with a 1.13 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 13 high school games this year. He has 97 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings while walking just 10 batters (nine walks and one wild pitch).
Kim, who recently led Incheon Go to the finals of the President’s Cup, has a hard fastball that reaches up to 150 kilometers and sits well past 100 pitches, giving him the ability to go long innings as a starter. He is already being called ‘Doo Taek-yeon’ by fans as he is expected to be selected by Doosan in the second round.
Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop is well aware of Kim’s presence. Before the game against Hanwha on the 13th, Lee said, “I’ve been talking to the scouting team about rookies. I think they will pick good players who will fill in the gaps in our team.” “I also watched Kim’s pitching video. It was good,” he said and smiled.
“We don’t know what will happen because we are not No. 1, so we have to see who (No. 1) Hanwha will pick first,” Lee said. While Kim Taek-yeon has been on a roll, Hwang Jun-seo has faltered as of late.스포츠토토
With Hanwha’s lack of left-handed pitching, it’s extremely unlikely they’ll pass on Hwang, but the gap between the first and second picks is closing. It will be interesting to see what happens in the month leading up to the draft. Both Hwang and Kim will be participating in the World Youth Baseball Championship in Taiwan next month from July 1-10. It will be interesting to see how the two pitchers fare in their final evaluation before the draft.