The World Under-18 Baseball Classic, which concluded on Tuesday with Japan winning the championship and Korea earning a bronze medal, had its share of stars. One of the brightest stars was Korea, who bounced back from a disappointing preliminary round to finish third in the bronze medal game, falling short to the United States.
Kim Taek-yeon, a right-hander from Incheon High School who has been plagued by controversy over his treatment at the tournament, was the last player to salvage some pride by pitching in the bronze medal game. Kim took the mound for the Koreans, pitching seven innings of two-hit ball, striking out nine and walking none.
Kim’s performance was outstanding throughout the tournament. In six games, she pitched 16 innings and totaled 29 strikeouts for a 0.88 ERA. She was a pillar of the team’s mound, pitching against Taiwan on the 2nd, Australia on the 4th, Puerto Rico on the 6th and 7th, the USA on the 8th, the Netherlands on the 9th, and the USA again on the 10th.
For her efforts, Kim was named to the tournament’s All-Star Team by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), which organized the tournament. She was selected as the best pitcher from Japan, the United States, Taiwan, and North and Central America, despite the fact that there were quite a few good pitchers in the field. His performance in the tournament was impressive.
It’s true that the controversy surrounding his frequent pitches raised some eyebrows. The criticism that the team was too focused on the results and didn’t take into account the exhaustion of certain players is a valid one. However, it’s also true that Kim pitched well in this tournament. It’s clear that his value will increase in the upcoming draft.스포츠토토
He was already a top-tier pick based on his high school performance. His rapid growth caught the eye of scouts from 10 teams. With top prospect Jang Hyun-seok signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hwang Joon-seo, a left-handed pitcher from Jang Chung-go, is the favorite to go first. Kim Taek-yeon is a strong second-round pick.
Second-ranked Doosan’s shoulders are lighter with Kim Taek-yeon’s good form ⓒWBSC
Currently, all 10 clubs have completed their mock drafts and are finalizing their selection strategies. Hanwha, which holds the No. 1 overall pick, is widely expected to select Hwang Jun-seo. Doosan, which has the second overall pick, also believes Hanwha will select Hwang Jun-seo. He has a lot of upside, and Hanwha is currently lacking a left-hander in its starting lineup.
“He’s not quite there yet,” said Kim Yong-soo of Sportime Baseball, who was a scout for LG last year and watched Hwang closely, “but he still throws 148 kilometers per hour. He throws a good splitter here. He throws a good splitter here, and I can definitely see that he can be scary with more training.” He was very impressed with his potential.
It will be interesting to see if Kim’s potential at the tournament can be the final straw for Hanwha. However, Doosan, which holds the second pick, may not be too hurt by whatever Hanwha decides to do. Hwang Jun-seo could be sent down, and Kim Taek-yeon’s command is good enough.
If Hanwha takes Hwang as expected, expect Doosan to take Kim as expected. In the unlikely event that Hanwha picks up Kim, Doosan can then draft Hwang Jun-seo as planned before Jang Hyun-seok’s major league debut. Hanwha and Doosan, who had the first and second picks when Jang Hyun-seok decided to go to the majors, were expected to be the biggest losers, but Doosan can take some of the sting out of Kim’s better-than-expected performance.
The rest of the first round is still foggy. “I think the order is set until No. 5,” said a scout from multiple clubs. However, there is a lot of ambiguity at No. 6. “I think it’s a foregone conclusion up to the fifth pick, but from the sixth pick on, it’s up in the air,” said a team official with a lower pick.
“Kiwoom, who holds the 8th and 9th picks, has been known to make ‘surprise picks’ in the past,” another senior club official said, noting that Kiwoom holds six of the top 30 picks. “Overall, I think it’s a weaker market than last year. It’s also a pitching market. College pitchers have fastballs, but they’re not quite there yet, so in that sense, Jang Hyun-seok and Lee Chan-sol’s challenges in the major leagues are affecting the entire first round.” The 2024 KBO First-Year Player Draft will take place on April 14 at 2 p.m. ET.