Another goal of ‘Lee Kang-cheol-ho’, who dreams of advancing to the semifinals in 14 years at the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), is ‘generation change’.
The national team coach Lee Kang-cheol and the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Technical Committee formed the WBC national team list with the generational change in mind. As a result, a roster that stands out for its ‘harmony of old and new’ was born.
Kim Gwang-hyeon, Choi Jeong (SSG Landers), Yang Hyeon-jong (KIA), Yang Eui-ji (Doosan Bears), Kim Hyun-soo (LG Twins), and Park Byeong-ho (KT Wiz), who are the ‘parents’ of the Korean baseball team, may be the last Taegeuk mark in this tournament. Dreams of ‘Last Dance’ in
‘Young Guns’ such as Koo Chang-mo (NC Dinos), Go Woo-seok, Jung Woo-young (LG), Kwak Bin, Jung Cheol-won (Doosan), So-Jun Sohn (KT), Won Tae-in (Samsung Lions), Lee Eui-ri (KIA) is the core of
On the field side, Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom Heroes), who is challenging to advance to the major leagues (MLB) after the 2023 season, Kang Baek-ho (KT), Kim Hye-seong (Kiwoom), and Choi Ji-hoon (SSG Landers) are considered to be the lumber to lead the future national team.
The 10th Kim Hyeon-soo and the 7th Taegeuk mark by Kim Gwang-hyun… Dreaming of ‘Last Dance’
Kim Gwang-hyun and Yang Hyeon-jong, who debuted side by side in the KBO League in 2007, have been active as the aces of the Korean national team for over 10 years.
Even though they are in their mid-thirties, Kim Gwang-hyun and Yang Hyeon-jong, who are still reigning as the top left-handed pitchers in Korea, were called to the WBC team this time.
Kim Gwang-hyun, who was first selected for the adult national team during the final qualifying round for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is already the 7th Taegeuk mark in the WBC. Starting with the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, Yang Hyeon-jong also wore the Taegeuk mark for the 6th time.
Kim Gwang-hyun, who was the main player in the ‘9-match gold medal’ at the Beijing Olympics, also experienced a runner-up in the 2009 WBC. When Korea won the 2014 Incheon Asian Games gold medal and the 2015 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier 12 championship, Kim Gwang-hyun played an active role as an ace.
Yang Hyeon-jong contributed to Korea’s gold medal win at the Guangzhou Asian Games, the Incheon Asian Games, and the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang.
Kim Hyun-soo was literally a ‘regular customer’ of the Korean baseball team. Kim Hyun-soo, who first boarded the adult national team at the Beijing Olympics, is the 10th Taegeuk mark.
Kim Hyun-soo tasted glory such as winning the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, runner-up at the WBC in 2009, and winning the Premier 12 in 2015, and swallowed regret at the WBC in 2013 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
Yang Eui-ji is still the main catcher for the national team. The 2015 Premier 12, 2017 WBC, 2018 Jakarta Palembang Asian Games, 2019 Premier 12, and the Tokyo Olympics have kept the national team home.
Park Byeong-ho and Choi Jeong-do held the 5th Taegeuk mark in their arms this time side by side.
Although they are in their mid-to-late 30s, they are still the core of the Korean national team’s pitching.
Kim Gwang-hyun and Yang Hyeon-jong must hold the center of the mound. National team coach Lee Kang-cheol is thinking of using people who are rich in experience as well as showing off their skills.
Kim Hyun-soo, Park Byeong-ho, and Choi Jeong are also the main players in the national team’s batting line. All three of these are likely to be placed on the center line. In particular, I look forward to ‘one shot’ from Park Byeong-ho.
Park Byeong-ho and Choi Jeong-eun also have heavy shoulders on the defensive side. As Choi Ji-man (Pittsburgh Pirates) could not participate in the WBC due to opposition from his team, Park Byeong-ho must play as the starting first baseman. Choi Jeong-eun is the only professional third baseman on the WBC team.
As there are many young players in the national team’s pitching staff, Yang Eui-ji’s role in defense is also very important.
These veterans are also responsible for passing on their know-how to juniors who will lead the Korean national team in the future.
Since it is the Taegeuk mark that may be the last, their determination is great. Choi Jeong-eun said, “I hope we win and become a ‘last dance’ like the Chicago Bulls (of the 1998 NBA).”
A large number of ‘young guns’ were selected for the pitching staff… ‘Find the future axis’
A large number of young players in their early 20s were selected for the pitching staff. Except for Kim Gwang-hyun, Yang Hyeon-jong, Lee Yong-chan (NC), Kim Won-joong (Lotte Giants), and Ko Young-pyo (KT), all are in their 20s.
Eui-ri Lee was born in 2002 and is the youngest among pitchers and fielders. So Joon Sohn (KT), born in 2001, Yoon-shik Kim (LG), born in 2000, Bin Kwak, Cheol-won Jeong and Woo-young Jung, Woo-seok Ko, born in 1998, and Chang-mo Koo, born in 1997 were selected for the national team.
This is the first time that Koo Chang-mo, Sohn So-jun, Jung Woo-young, Kwak Bin, Jeong Cheol-won, and Kim Yun-shik have worn the Taegeuk mark in a major international competition.
Koo Chang-mo, Won Tae-in, So Joon So, Kwak Bin, and Lee Eui-ri are expected to play a key role in the starting lineup for the future Korean national team. 온라인바카라
With Oh Seung-hwan (Samsung), who was the team’s regular closer, missing, Ko Woo-seok is highly likely to take charge of the back door in this WBC. Go Woo-seok, who became the king of salvation last year, is considered to be the right person to take charge of the back door of the national team in the future.
Jung Woo-young and Jeong Cheol-won, former rookie kings in 2019 and 2022, are also expected to play a key role in the bullpen of the national team in the future.
When a big tournament is held, the growth of young players is bound to stand out. Just like Kim Gwang-hyun and Yang Hyeon-jong, coach Lee and the KBO Technical Committee hope that the resources responsible for future Korean mounds will grow through this tournament.
Young pitchers are well aware of this expectation. The youngest Lee Eui-ri emphasized, “It is not that seniors step aside, but that young players can grow only when they try to surpass their seniors. Only then can Korean baseball develop.”
Lee Jung-hoo, who is expected to play a key role in the Korean national team’s line-up in the future, has been on the national team again following the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, the 2019 Premier12, and the Tokyo Olympics.
This tournament, where MLB clubs pay attention to Lee Jung-hoo, who has already become the main player of the national team, is also a ‘showcase’ for entering the MLB.
Kang Baek-ho, who is expected to lead the center line of the Korean national team in the future, wields a bat with the determination to wash away the humiliation of a ‘no medal’ at the Tokyo Olympics.
Kim Hye-sung and Choi Ji-hoon, who will have to add strength in the national team’s infield and outfield, will also accumulate experience as backups in this tournament. In particular, Kim Hye-seong raised expectations by showing off her good condition with 11 hits in 17 at-bats and a batting average of 0.647 in 5 practice games held at the Tucson Camp in Arizona and in Korea.