Australia-going 150km lefty extraordinaire, 19-year-old wicketkeeper, Future multi-hitter & 3-hitter, 195cm righty orthodox… Who’s the next Choi Ji-min?
Who is the next Choi Ji-min?
The KIA Tigers announced on November 27 that they will send five players to the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League (ABL): pitchers Kwak Do-gyu, Kim Ki-hoon, Kim Hyun-soo, Hong Won-bin, and infielder Park Min. The team will play a total of 40 games, starting with the opening game on November 17 and returning by January 21 next year.
Sending a team directly to a foreign professional team is unusual. KIA sought an alternative after Geelong Korea, a team comprised of Korean players in the ABL from this year, fell through. In September, the team’s president, Shim Jae-hak, met with the Canberra Cavaliers owner and agreed to send the team.
“We decided to send this team to give players who need practical experience due to military service and players who lack first-team experience a chance to play,” said Shim. “We expect our players to improve their skills against high-level foreign players.” The club said it will continue to explore various ways to develop players, including sending teams to the ABL.
All five players need to be upgraded. The team is looking forward to sending back Choi Ji-min. Choi had a breakout year in the Australian League last year with Geelong Korea. 먹튀검증토토사이트 He touched 150 mph with a fastball that didn’t even reach the low 140s. He was a first-team left-handed wicketkeeper and a key part of the Hangzhou gold medal team. “The key was gaining confidence through practice against Australian batsmen,” Choi said.
Kim Ki-hoon was touted as a future ace when he was drafted in the first round in 2019. But he never quite found his groove. After a stint in the mercantile sector, he returned to the spotlight with his hot stuff. He battled for a starting spot and a must-win role, but was held back by his pitching. In 29 appearances, he went 2-2 with a 4.60 ERA. Like Choi, he is expected to rebound in the Australian League.
Kwak Do-gyu is a 2023 fifth-round pick who throws a 148 mph fastball. His fastball is a combination of a sidearm and a three-quarter breaking ball. He pitched 11⅔ innings in 14 games in the first team this year. He posted an 8.49 ERA with no wins or losses. In the Futures League, he went 6-5 with a save and six holds. He posted a solid 2.89 ERA. With his fastball and changeup, he’s a solid resource in the bullpen.
Kim Hyun-soo and Park Min returned from military service side by side. The former Lotte player went 9-2 with a 3.84 ERA for the Sangsang this year. He led the Southern League in wins. He’ll help fill out the starting depth next season. Park Min, a 2020 second-rounder, has both offensive and defensive talent, including a triple-digit batting average for the second straight year with the Commerce. 2019 second rounder Won-bin Hong has yet to play in the first team. At 195 centimeters, he has a lot of potential with his hardware.
The Australian League has a lot of fastball pitchers and power hitters. You”ll be able to gain a lot of experience against them. The best training comes from practice. That’s why they play a lot of games in the training league. If the five Tiger brothers return to form, KIA’s batting depth could be even deeper, so we’re looking forward to another Ji-min Choi.