Jang Chung-go left-handed pitcher Hwang Jun-seo has earned the honor of being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 KBO Rookie Draft.
The Hanwha Eagles selected Hwang Jun-seo with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 KBO Rookie Draft on Thursday at the Westin Chosun Seoul in Jung-gu, Seoul.
A total of 1,083 players applied for the draft, including 782 high school graduates, 296 college graduates (including 41 early draft picks), and five other players from overseas amateurs and professionals.
Hwang Jun-seo, who had been touted as the “No. 1 overall pick” since Jang Hyun-seok (Masan Yongmago) signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball, took home the honor of the KBO’s top prospect.
Hwang is the type of pitcher who cooks hitters with a variety of pitches and precise delivery, and he went 6-2 with a 2.16 ERA in 15 high school games this year, striking out 58 batters in 49⅔ innings pitched.
Hwang throws a fastball that reaches speeds of over 150 kilometers per hour and is expected to be the next Kim Kwang-hyun.
Hanwha general manager Son Hyuk said, “Our scouts have been recommending Hwang Jun-seo all year. Hwang Jun-seo is the pitcher everyone wants. He is a pitcher that everyone wants in the future.”
The first-round picks for the 2024 Rookie Draft are Hanwha-Dusan Bears-Lotte Giants-Samsung Lions-NC Dinos-KIA Tigers-KT Wiz-LG Twins-KIUM Heroes-SSG Landers, in reverse order of team standings from the 2022 season.
Of these, LG’s eighth overall pick in the first round was acquired by Kiwoom via trade.
Kiwoom also acquired the 16th overall pick in the second round, which belonged to KIA, and the 24th overall pick in the third round, which belonged to Samsung, in a trade that resulted in six of the top 30 picks in the draft.
With the second overall pick, Doosan called up right-handed pitcher Kim Taek-yeon from Incheon High School.
Kim went 7-1 with a 1.13 ERA in 13 high school baseball games this year, including five consecutive starts at the Under-18 Baseball World Cup, which concluded last week, where he was instrumental in helping Korea win the bronze medal.
Doosan head coach Kim Tae-ryong said, “Kim has been consistent from the spring to the World Youth Games in Taiwan. She has a good fastball and maintains her velocity. We expect him to develop into a stopper for Doosan in two to three years at the earliest.”
The first round of the draft went as expected without any major upsets.
In a year where pitchers with fastballs over 150 kilometers per hour were unusually abundant, pitchers were called.
In a year where pitchers with fastballs over 150 kilometers per hour were unusually abundant, pitchers were called up in droves.
Lotte selected pitcher and hitter Jeon Mir (Gyeongbuk High School). Jeon has a 150 kilometer per hour fastball as a pitcher and long batting power as a hitter.
“He has excellent athleticism to handle both pitching and hitting,” said Lotte President Sung Min-kyu. We didn’t hesitate.”
Samsung chose Yuk Sun-yeop (Jang Chung-go), a 190-centimeter tall right-handed fastball pitcher.
“He has a fierce desire to play baseball. I hope he can establish himself as a starting pitcher in three years if he has the desire.”
NC’s fifth overall pick in the first round, right-hander Kim Hwi-geon (Whimun High School), KIA’s sixth overall pick, right-hander Cho Dae-hyun (Gangneung High School), and KT’s selection, right-hander Won Sang-hyun (Busan High School), are all hard-throwing pitchers who can reach speeds in excess of 150 kilometers per hour.
Kiwoom, which acquired two first-round picks via trade, called the eighth and ninth overall picks back-to-back.
The eighth overall pick, which was acquired by sending Choi Won-tae to LG, was used on right-hander Jeon Jun-pyo (Seoul High), and the ninth overall pick, which was originally held, was used on right-hander Kim Yoon-ha (Jangchung High).
“Jun-pyo Jeon is a pitcher with more than nine strikeouts per nine innings, while Kim Yoon-ha has a good strikeout-to-walk ratio and good control of his pitches,” explained SSG scouting team leader Lee Sang-won.
SSG selected infielder Park Ji-hwan (Se-ad) for the first time in the draft.
“We prayed that Park Ji-hwan would stay,” said SSG President Kim Sung-yong. He has the trifecta of offense, defense, and base running, so he will be responsible for the future of the team.”
Six players were also selected through the Early Draft System, which is in its second year and allows college sophomores to try out for professional teams.
KT selected pitcher Choi Yoon-seo (Dongwon University) with the 37th overall pick in the fourth round, and Samsung selected pitcher Kim Sung-kyung (Songwon University) with the 44th overall pick in the fifth round.
On the day, Kiwoom utilized the picks from the trade to select a total of 14 players to prepare for the future.
The NC Dinos also received a seventh-round pick, totaling 12 selections.
Among the five players who participated in the KBO’s rookie draft tryouts last month, infielder Hwang Young-mook (formerly of Chung-Ang University) and pitcher Jin Woo-young (formerly of the Kansas City Royals) were selected in the fourth round at No. 31 and No. 38, respectively, to wear Hanwha and LG uniforms.
Pitcher Jung Hyun-soo (Songwon University), who made a name for himself on the baseball entertainment program “Strongest Baseball,” was selected by Lotte with the 13th pick in the second round, and infielder Ko Young-woo (Sungkyunkwan University) was selected by Kiwoom with the 39th pick in the fourth round.
This year’s draft produced 110 selections out of 1,083 total applicants, a 10.2 percent employment rate.
Ten teams exercised all of their picks through the 11th round.
There was also an increase in the percentage of college players in the early draft.
Last year, 18 (16.4%) of the 110 players drafted were college players, compared to 27 (24.5%) this year. 안전놀이터