KIA had to make a “fateful choice” in the 2022 rookie draft that attracted the attention of the entire KBO league. The first pick was a big question mark. Maybe it was a happy thought, but that’s what made it all the more stressful.
Kim Do-young, an infield resource with so many versatile tools that he was called “the next Lee Jong-beom,” and Moon Dong-joo, a right-hander who can throw a fastball over 150 kilometers per hour, were graduating in the same year. All of them were outstanding talents who would lead the entire KBO league in the future. It wasn’t easy to give up on any of them. That’s why KIA, who had been watching these players for a long time, fell in love with Jang-Go. In the end, the pick of the century came down to Moon Dong-ju and Kim Do-young, given the team’s outfield situation.
The need for a generational change in the infield didn’t stop there. In the second round of the draft (15th overall), the team selected infielder Yoon Do-hyun from Gwangju Il-Go High School to join Kim Do-young in the top round. Yoon was also deemed worthy of the top pick. Kia sees the two players as a duo that will lead the team’s infield in the future.
While Kim has gotten a lot of hype, Yoon was also a great prospect in the amateur ranks. In fact, in middle school, there were more eyes on Yoon than on Kim. “I heard that Yoon Do-hyun was also very good at baseball in middle school,” said Kia manager Kim Jong-guk, who is leading the team’s final camp in Okinawa, Japan. “In the amateur ranks, Kim Do-young and Yoon Do-hyun were the two best players in the region, so I have high expectations.”
However, compared to Kim Do-young, Yoon Do-hyun has been slower to settle into the first team. He has only appeared in one game this year. In the Futures League, he only appeared in 11 games this year. In the two years since joining the club, he has played only 12 games between the first and second teams. It wasn’t a matter of talent, but injuries. After joining the team, he was sick here and there and couldn’t play well. Especially his rookie season, he lost almost a whole year.
“I had to take a year off due to injuries,” Kim said, adding, “In terms of hitting, Yoon Do-hyun got a lot more attention when he first came in. Yoon Do-hyun is also from the youth (national team). Not only his batting but also his baserunning was stable, and his defense may have been a little out of position, but I thought it would get better with practice, but it was unfortunate because of the injury issue.”
The aftermath of his injury ultimately prevented him from joining the final camp in Okinawa. However, according to club officials, the injury tunnel has been largely cleared. Kim also has Yoon Do-hyun on his radar. “If he gets rid of his injury issues and prepares well from the Futures, I think he will have a better chance of playing in the first team next season,” Kim said, indicating that he will give him a chance if he stays healthy.
Everyone recognizes the hitting talent. Kia hitting coach Lee Bum-ho said, “I went to spring training with him and saw his hitting talent. I think he has the ability to hit as well as Kim Do-young. “I think Kim Do-young and Yoon Do-hyun have enough batting talent to be on our team for a long time to come,” he said, adding, “They’ve been struggling with residual injuries, but their batting talent is quite high. I’m looking forward to seeing them get over their injuries and give it a go.”
The expectations for Yoon Do-hyun are high, as the second base position will eventually need a generational change. KIA plans to hold on to Kim Sun-bin, who will be eligible for free agency for the second time in his career after this season. That’s because there’s no other second baseman with his fundamental skills, in-dugout leadership, and franchise star power. In fact, they should have had a successor in place for the first four years of his free agency. But Kim won’t be around forever. A succession plan should be outlined within two to three years.
There is Park Chan-ho at shortstop and Kim Do-young at third base, who is already established. Next year, Kim might want to give Chan-ho a little more rest and use the extra time to test Do-young Kim at shortstop. These two positions are no big deal. All that remains is first and second base. “Now we have to think a little bit after Sun-bin,” Kim said, predicting fierce competition among the players. With Kim Kyu-sung and Hong Jong-pyo, who were backups this year, not performing well, the plan is to utilize a diverse pool with Park Min and Yoon Do-hyun. It will be interesting to see how quickly Yoon Do-hyun, who has high expectations from the club and fans, can catch up. 카지노사이트