After a sleepless night, the morning has dawned for 1083 people.
The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) will hold the 2024 KBO Rookie Draft at the Westin Chosun Hotel Grand Ballroom in Sogong, Seoul, starting at 2 p.m. on Thursday. Officials from the 10 clubs and players’ families, as well as 100 baseball fans selected through a pre-registration process on the KBO website, will be on hand to watch the draft.메이저사이트
The draft will be held in the same format as last year’s draft. There will be a total of 11 rounds and the teams will be selected in the reverse order of their final standings from last season: Hanwha Eagles-Dusan Bears-Lotte Giants-Samsung Lions-NC Dinos-KIA Tigers-KT Wiz-LG Twins-KIUM Heroes-SSG Landers.
According to the KBO Baseball Rules, teams are allowed to trade the following year’s designation for a player in a trade. Kiwoom, which acquired the pick in a previous trade, can exercise the first-, second-, and third-round picks held by LG, KIA, and Samsung, respectively, while NC can use the seventh-round pick held by Hanwha for one more player.
The total number of players eligible for this year’s rookie draft is 1083, including 782 high school graduates, 296 college graduates (including 41 early drafters), and five other players, including overseas amateurs and professionals. The Early Draft System, which was implemented last year, allows sophomore players from four-year (including three-year) universities to participate in the draft.
Han Jun-seo? Han Taek-yeon? Who will get the first pick?
The first player to be called in this year’s draft is likely to be left-hander Hwang Jun-seo (Jang Chung-go), who has been touted as the “biggest name in high school” for months.
Having shown flashes of potential since his freshman and sophomore years, Hwang went 6-2 with a 2.16 ERA in 15 games and 49⅔ innings pitched this year. His strikeout and walk totals were 58 and 16, respectively, indicating that he is a pitcher who can showcase a sophisticated arsenal of pitches along with a heavy delivery. Cho Dong-wook, Yuk Sun-yeop, Kim Yoon-ha, and Won Jong-hae also shared the mound with Jang Chung-go.
However, his poor performance in the most recent international tournament could be a factor. Hwang didn’t quite live up to expectations at this year’s World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup, going 1-2 with a 3.97 ERA in three games and 12⅓ innings pitched. He took the losses in both of his starts.
In contrast, right-hander Kim Taek-yeon (Incheon High School) was a monster at the U-18 Baseball World Cup, going 2-0 with a 0.88 ERA in six games and 16 innings, striking out a whopping 29 batters. He was at the center of some controversy for throwing a “five-hitter,” but he exceeded expectations by showing off his abilities on the international stage. It’s clear that the sentiment of ‘Hwang Jun-seo will be the first pick in the draft’ has changed after the tournament.
Now it’s down to Hanwha, who has the ‘first round pick’. It is certain that the player who is not selected as the first pick of the two pitchers will head to Doosan, who is waiting for the ‘second pick of the first round’.
6 1st-3rd round picks, all eyes on Kiwoom’s choice
One team that could make a difference in the early rounds of the draft is Kiwoom. After trading with KIA on November 11 last year in exchange for catcher Joo Hyo-sang and a second-round pick, they traded with Samsung on April 27 this year to acquire veteran infielder Lee Won-seok and a third-round pick in exchange for pitcher Kim Tae-hoon.
A particularly eye-catching trade was the July 29 deal with LG. At the time, Kiwoom sent their star pitcher Choi Won-tae to LG in exchange for pitcher Kim Dong-gyu, infielder Lee Ju-hyung, who can play both infield and outfield defense, and a first-round pick. As the team was struggling with injuries to Lee Jung-hoo, the trade was largely seen as a move that focused on the future rather than the present.
As the team fell to the bottom of the standings this season, Kiwoom has steadily accumulated picks and now has a whopping six picks in the first through third rounds of this year’s 30-player draft. At this point, it seems like a lot of well-regarded pitchers are expected to be drafted in the higher rounds than in previous years. With six picks, it remains to be seen whether Kiwoom will focus on bolstering the mound or come up with an unexpected strategy. Depending on the strategy, other teams may also make different moves.
Over 1000 participants in the draft, will there be a ‘surprise pick’?
Basically, every team comes to the draft with a certain plan, but the strategy may change as the draft progresses. Last year, Park Myung-geun (LG) was a typical example. After not being selected in the first round and then in the second round, he fell to the third round, and LG reached out to him. It was an unexpected “lucky break” for the club.
There’s nothing to say that this won’t happen again. Some players will be drafted early, while others, like Park, will be called later than expected. Each team can request a timeout and have a short discussion, so there is a lot of tension until the draft is over.
After a day of intense discussions between scouts, senior officials, and development teams, we’ll see how the 10 clubs will end the draft with their picks. The fateful hour is fast approaching.