“I hope that only about three of the players we selected (in the mock nomination) will actually come.”
SSG general manager Kim Seong-yong spoke about his hopes after the mock nomination conducted by the club itself ahead of the 2024 KBO rookie draft. did. Last year’s Korean Series winning team, SSG, had the 10th overall pick. Although the top-ranked players were continuously attracting attention, for SSG, it was ‘a pie in the sky’.스포츠토토
General Manager Kim, who has extensive experience in amateur baseball, commented at the time that “the draft level this year is a little lower than last year,” and expressed a small hope, saying, “It would be good if only the three players we wanted came.” Even if SSG wants to, even if only one of the nine teams ahead of the team selects that player, SSG’s hopes will inevitably be dashed. It was a 10th-ranked disappointment, but the more I felt like it, the more I had to come to my senses and refine my strategy.
In conclusion, SSG completed the 2024 rookie draft relatively satisfactorily. After the rookie draft held on the 14th, General Manager Kim was asked, “Did you select more than three players you wanted?” and he smiled and said, “Yes, the scouts worked hard all year.” Director Kim added, “The first, second, and third rounds all came as we expected.” The goal has already been achieved in the third round.
SSG selected Park Ji-hwan from Sekwang High School, who was selected as the ‘Biggest Beast’ in the first round, Lee Seung-min from Whimoon High School, who attracted great attention as ‘Lee Byeong-gyu’s son’ in the second round, and Cheong High School pitcher Park Ki-ho in the third round. There is no doubt that this draft was more about pitchers than fielders. In fact, everyone from the 1st ranked Hwang Jun-seo to the 9th ranked Kim Yun-ha were pitchers. SSG named their first fielder at number 10 and it went as planned.
Through discussions with the field, the SSG front office decided to focus more on the fielder side of this draft. Since they had the 10th pick, it was a simple strategy to select the best player among the remaining players. I was secretly hoping that Park Ji-hwan, who was the biggest fielder in front of me, would not be selected, but as SSG thought, all the teams in the lead in the order selected a pitcher, and SSG got their wish.
Manager Kim said, “I thought it would be great if the number one fielder came to us. I really prayed, but Park Ji-hwan came right away,” and said with a smile, “Coach Kim Won-hyung also said on the field that he hoped good fielders would come. Lee Seung-min also has really good tools. “He is a player. If he gets a good opportunity, I think he will be evaluated as a good player in the future,” he said with satisfaction.
Park Ki-ho, who was selected in the third round, is also a player we closely observed. Director Kim said, “Park Ki-ho’s hand goes down further than the side arm, and he raised his arm to increase his speed, but he couldn’t control it. That’s why he was undervalued in the middle.” He added, “When I went to the national team this time, I saw him lowering his arm again. “I thought it would be okay. I have the same hand height as Yoon Tae-hyun, but my style is different,” he said.
It is also noticeable that quite a few college players were selected after the 4th round. They selected pitcher Choi Hyun-seok of Pusan National University of Science and Technology in the 4th round, Dongguk University infielder Jeong Jun-jae in the 5th round, Inha University outfielder Jeong Hyun-seung in the 6th round, and Cyber Hankuk University of Foreign Studies pitcher Park Seong-bin in the 7th round. Including Songwon University pitcher Yoon Seong-bo in the 9th round and Yeoju University catcher Kim Gyu-min in the 10th round, 6 people were selected from universities alone.
General Manager Kim explained, “There is a good example of Choi Ji-hoon. He wondered if there were players who could immediately become a force,” and explained, “I went that way because the market for fielders this year was not that good.”
Meanwhile, after the draft, SSG said, “Considering the team’s situation, we focused on reinforcing fielders who could help the team’s power,” and explained the reason for nominating Park Ji-hwan and Lee Seung-min, adding, “The middle and lower rounds can be used immediately as a strength boost for next season.” We focused on nominating players who are possible and can become starting players in the Cheongna Dome era in the mid to long term. We highly valued the physical strength, experience, power, and desperation of college players, and focused on nominating two-year college players and early draft players. “I put it,” he explained.
Park Ji-hwan is recognized by everyone as the biggest fielder of the year. It has all three beats of gongsuju. He can be used as an infielder, but if you’re looking to maximize his hitting talents, his good arm means he can also be used as an outfielder. His contact ability was outstanding. Seung-min Lee also has an advantage in hitting, and with his excellent physical condition, he was evaluated to be expected to make great progress in the long hitting category in the future. Both players were ‘tool guys’ representing high school baseball this year.
Although the pitchers are a bit lacking, it cannot be helped that SSG had a limited range of choices as the teams that were already ranked high were swept. However, as there are quite a few pitchers appointed in the past two years, and there are also players returning from military service, it is evaluated that generational change on the fielder side has been considered first.