- Hwang Jun-seo-Kim Taek-yeon 1-2 Picks
- Lotte Immediate Power pitcher likely to be named
- Pitcher Jeon Mir and 5 others wanted
- Won, kt-KIA still interested
With the 2024 KBO Draft just around the corner, the first and second overall picks are already in the bag. With the Lotte Giants holding the No. 3 pick, all eyes will be on Lotte’s ‘pick’ as it could change the strategy of the remaining teams. As high school players prepare for the draft, they hope to join a team that recognizes their value rather than favoring a particular club.
The 2024 KBO Rookie Draft will be held next month on April 14. With Jang Hyun-seok (Masan Yongmago), who was expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, choosing to head to the United States, Hwang Jun-seo (Jangchung High School) and Kim Taek-yeon (Incheon High School-Isang Pitchers) naturally became the first and second picks. Hwang Jun-seo is a left-handed fireballer with a fastball that tops out at over 150 kilometers per hour. His changeup is also very complete. Right-hander Kim Taek-yeon is also a hard-throwing pitcher who has good command of his pitches and good control. Barring any major upsets, they are likely to be selected by Hanwha and Doosan, who have the first and second picks.
That leaves Lotte, which has the third pick, as the favorite. Lotte is expected to go with a pitcher, as there are a lot of pitchers with instant electricity among this year’s high school players, and last year’s first-round pick, Kim Min-seok, was a beast. Jeon Mir (Gyeongbuk High School), Kim Hui-gun (Whimun High School), Cho Dae-hyun (Gangneung High School), Won Sang-hyun (Busan High School), and Yuk Sun-yeop (Jangchung High School) are in the running.
If Lotte chooses a player with ties to the area regardless of skill, Won Sang-hyun is likely to get the call. He is a year older than the other candidates, having been enrolled at Kaesong High School before transferring to Busan High School. Won Sang-hyun was brilliant in last year’s Bonghwangdae final against Gangneung High, pitching 8 1/3 innings with five strikeouts and no runs to give Busan High its first Bonghwangdae title.
However, Won himself doesn’t think he has much of a chance of being drafted by Lotte. “I grew up watching Lotte games at Sajik Stadium since I was a kid, but I don’t think I’ll be drafted third overall. I think (Yuk) Sun-yeop or (Jeon) Mir will go,” he said, adding, “I’ve been coming to watch games at KT and KIA clubs recently.” KIA and KT hold the sixth and seventh picks, respectively.
If we expand the scope to other local players, Yuk Sun-yeop and Jeon Mir are at the top of the list. In particular, Jeon Mir, who is a two-hitter, has excellent skills as both a hitter and pitcher. He was even selected to the World Youth Baseball Organization’s national team. “I’ve been living in Daegu for a long time, so I definitely want to join Samsung,” he said, “but I also imagined what it would be like to throw a ball on the mound of Lotte, the most popular club, while listening to the fans screaming. Above all, I want to join a club that believes in me and can challenge me.”
Kim Hui-gun and Cho Dae-hyun also shared their insights. Kim Hui-gun, who recently received a call from a local club, said, “I transferred from Bukil High School to Whimun High School, so I don’t have a concept of a club with ties. I want to join a team that recognizes my value,” he said, adding, “I am currently on a diet to lose about 5 kilograms because I have gained a lot of weight.”메이저놀이터
Cho Dae-hyun said, “I will feel better when I throw the ball in front of many fans as a member of the popular Lotte team. I often talk to Cho Kyung-min, who joined Lotte last year, for advice,” he said, adding, “I’m nervous about the draft, but I’m also very excited.”