The international stage is an opportunity to show the spirit of Korean baseball to the world. Individual players can show off their skills and raise their reputation. Since A-matches are not regularly held like soccer, it is important how to utilize this short period of time.
Regardless of age, the Korean national team builds the best power in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) and Premier 12. Among them, it is worth saying that the WBC, which is supervised by the Major League Secretariat and is relatively free from these restrictions, is the best stage than the Premier 12, where it is difficult for major leaguers to participate. It is also a tournament where you can face the most world-class players.
There are quite a few cases where they performed well on this stage and advanced to the major leagues or higher leagues. Korean and Japanese players are like that. These are examples of going to the United States as a post or free agency after being highly evaluated on the back of the WBC performance. There are players who are looking forward to this route in the 2023 WBC, which will be held in March.
Lee Jung-hoo (25‧ Kiwoom), who officially tapped for a major league challenge after this season, is a representative example. Numerous major league clubs have already watched Lee Jung-hoo since he was a child and sent scouting reports to his home country, and some clubs have put in effort, such as asking about the story in the clubhouse. There is a high possibility that the kind of batting Lee Jung-hoo shows against top-level pitchers in the upper leagues will have a close impact on player evaluation.
However, Lee Jung-hoo is not the only one who has a major league dream. Recently, young players representing the KBO League have openly expressed their longing for the major leagues. This is all the more true because they are the generation who grew up watching the rush of Korean players to advance to the major leagues, starting with Ryu Hyun-jin (Toronto). No matter what evaluation you get, no matter what conclusion you get, having big dreams is not a bad thing in any sense.
There are several players other than Lee Jeong-hoo that major league scouts are paying attention to. In particular, Go Woo-seok (25‧LG), whose posting or FA time is about to leave, is chosen as a representative resource to hold a direct ‘showcase’ with Lee Jung-hoo. An official familiar with overseas circumstances said, “Whether major league clubs are interested in recruiting or not, the KBO League’s top players continue to monitor. That’s the job of scouts.” It is true that the number of scouts has drastically decreased. Still, Ko Woo-seok’s recent growth will also be of interest.” 메이저놀이터
It’s only natural if you look at the sex. He has achieved results comparable to being the best bullpen pitcher in the KBO League. Especially in the last two years. In 2021, he had a 2.17 earned run average with 30 saves in 63 games, and last year he had a 1.48 earned run average with 42 saves in 61 games. Previously, there were some ups and downs, but now it feels like it’s on a stable track. If this momentum continues, he could be a strong candidate.
It is not clear at what point Ko Woo-seok will try to advance to the major leagues, but basically, if he finishes this season normally, he will be eligible to challenge as a free agent if he completes the number of registration days until the 2024 season. Ko Woo-seok also has thoughts about the major leagues, and it is known that his politely turning down LG’s offer of a multi-year contract has something to do with this.
Most of the major league challenges of KBO League players were starting resources. Ryu Hyun-jin, Yun Seok-min (retired), Kim Gwang-hyun (SSG), and Yang Hyeon-jong (KIA) are representative examples. As a bullpen pitcher, Lim Chang-yong (retired) had a short one-year experience, and Oh Seung-hwan (Samsung) played four years in the U.S. via Japan. Seung-hwan Oh participated in 232 major league games, recording 16-13 with 42 saves and an earned run average of 3.31.
Before comparing Oh Seung-hwan and Go Woo-seok, it is positive that Ko Woo-seok can challenge the United States at a much younger age than Oh Seung-hwan. Fastball speed and slider speed are also steadily uphill. If you make a good impression against good hitters in Japan or the Miami series against players from North and Central America, such as the United States or the Dominican Republic, you may be able to take a step closer to your dream of becoming a player. Even as a player, he will feel quite a bit when dealing with high-level players.