The Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC), held in November 2017, was not a competition with the most elite members, but the national team was composed of young players who will lead the future of Korean baseball. was More emphasis was placed on the experience of young players rather than grades.
The coaching staff of the national team, led by head coach Seon Dong-yeol, did not select a wild card allowed by the regulations. All of them were players under the age of 24 or under 3 years of professional experience. Although the national team was defeated by Japan in the final and finished runner-up, the young players’ unique spirit and seriousness in the competition itself received good reviews from fans and promised a future.
Six years ago, all players were in their early 20s. And many of the players were evaluated as great players since their amateur days, and were nominated for the top round and were ‘treasures’ of each club that joined. Basically, it means that what you have is a lot of players. When substituting the general graph of players’ prime years, which are usually from the mid-late 20s to the early 30s, 6 years later, they have reached the peak of their careers and should be leading Korean baseball.
But unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. In particular, pitchers who had high expectations did not advance as much as expected as their careers went downhill or struggled with injuries. There are few success stories compared to the fielding team that hit the jackpot, such as Kim Ha-seong, Lee Jung-hoo, Koo Ja-wook, and Park Min-woo, who have advanced to the major leagues.
Six years ago, out of 12 APBC representative pitchers, two players were selected for the final roster for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) to be held this year: Park Se-woong (Lotte) and Koo Chang-mo (NC). Park Se-woong has emerged as Lotte’s native ace and has been consistently active until recently, so he signed a multi-year non-FA contract with a total of 9 billion won for 5 years ahead of this season. As long as he is healthy, Chang-mo Koo, one of the best ace stuff in the league, also stamped for a total of 13.2 billion won for up to 7 years. It deserves to be called a success story. 스포츠토토
But the rest of the pitchers haven’t reached this level of career. At least Lim Ki-young (KIA) continued to rotate in the starting rotation and played an active role as a solid first-team player for the team. Of course, it is natural that there must be a hiatus, such as having to resolve military issues, but there are many players who have been absent for a long time or suffered major ups and downs due to injuries, which saddened the club and fans.
According to the tally of Statties, a website specializing in statistics, among the remaining 10 pitchers, there is no pitcher with a total win contribution (WAR) of 6.0 or higher over a total of 5 seasons from 2018 to last year. He has done well for one season, but that suggests he hasn’t been able to keep that momentum going. There are many more players suffering from injuries. In the case of Kim Yun-dong, he cannot overcome the aftermath of his shoulder injury and is in retirement. Ham Deok-ju, who was on the good side, also spent longer in the rehabilitation group than in the first two years due to the aftermath of the injury.
In some cases, such as Jang Hyeon-sik (KIA), after returning from injury, he became a member of the first team again. Still, it’s undeniable that there are many players who either don’t live up to expectations or paint a very different picture when they were nominated and when they went to APBC. The fact that Korean baseball’s mound generation has been slow for a while is evident in the sadness of this list. This year, the APBC tournament is scheduled after the season. This year’s roster players need to be a little more responsible for their future six years later.