Kia hopefuls shine at Futures, but will they reach their potential next year?

KIA Tigers outfielder Kim Seok-hwan (24) and pitcher Kim Hyun-soo (23) have been impressive in the Futures League (second team) this year, brightening their prospects for next season. Next year will be crucial for them as they need to shed the prospect tag and establish themselves as first-team players.

Drafted by KIA with the 24th pick in the 3rd round in 2017, Kim Seok-hwan is a left-handed power prospect with a long bat. He has resolved his military issues and can play left field and first base.

After entering the season with high expectations every year, Kim has yet to reach his full potential. In four seasons and 69 first-team games, he has only hit .159 with 22 doubles, four home runs, 13 RBIs, and an OPS of .515. He has never played more than 60 games in a single season.

Kim also struggled in the first team this year. He started just 12 games and struggled mightily, batting just .130 (3-for-23) with three RBIs. He was sent down to the second team in early June and didn’t return to the first team until late September, but even then he struggled to get at-bats due to the fierce competition for spots.

In the Futures League, however, he was a force to be reckoned with.

In 79 games, he hit .307 with 18 home runs, 73 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.986. 먹튀검증토토사이트 His numbers were good enough to lead the entire Futures League in home runs and RBIs.

Kim will need to break out of his egg next season and prove himself to be competitive on the first team. He missed the KBO award ceremony due to participating in the team’s finalizing camp in Okinawa, Japan, and said in a video, “I will become a better player. Next year, I will do my best to win an award in the first team.”

Right-handed pitcher Kim Hyun-soo, who was drafted by the Lotte Giants with the 28th overall pick in the 2019 second round, joined KIA as compensation for Ahn Chi-hong, who moved to Lotte ahead of the 2020 season.

Kim also realized the high barriers of the first team. In his four-year career, he appeared in 39 games, pitched 86⅓ innings, and struggled to a 2-7 record with a 7.09 ERA.

After enlisting in the military in May of last year, Kim took the mound in the Futures League this year for the Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Commerce). He started all 15 games and posted a 9-2 record with a 3.84 ERA. He tied for the Futures League lead in wins.

After completing his military service, Kim headed to the Australian Baseball League to gain real-world experience. He currently plays for the Canberra Cavaliers and is preparing for the 2024 season. He is expected to return to Kia at the end of January next year.

“Based on my experience playing in Australia, I will definitely try to help the team in the first team next year,” Kim Hyun-soo said in a video at the KBO awards ceremony.

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