KBO has changed some of the roster of players on the national baseball team that will participate in the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. Both pillars of the national team were excluded as they were unable to maintain proper performance due to injuries. The KBO emphasized that military service was not taken into consideration in the process of selecting replacement players.메이저놀이터
KBO said, “On the 21st, the Korea Baseball Softball Association (KBSA) Performance Improvement Committee and the KBO Strength Enhancement Committee replaced two of the 24 members of the Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team who were injured or in the recovery stage from injuries but judged to be difficult to show normal performance during the tournament. has been confirmed,” an official announcement was made on the 21st. Among the 24 players, Lee Jeong-hoo (25, Kiwoom) and Koo Chang-mo (26, NC) are excluded from the national team due to this decision.
The two players initially attracted great expectations as key players of the national team. Lee Jeong-hoo, the best hitter in the KBO League, was the center and pillar of the national team’s batting lineup. Last year, Lee Jeong-hoo recorded a batting average of 0.349, 23 home runs, 113 RBI, and 85 runs in 142 games, winning five batting awards and going straight to the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) title. He is recognized by everyone as the best hitter in the KBO League and is receiving attention in the major leagues as well. However, this time, due to injury, he cannot wear the Taegeuk symbol.
Lee Jeong-hoo, who took the gamble of revising his batting form with the prospect of advancing to the major leagues after this season, did not perform well at the beginning of the season. Until April, his poor batting average of 0.218 embarrassed everyone. However, after returning his batting form to a significant extent to what it was before, his batting average and offensive production began to recover to the point that people called him ‘Lee Jeong-hoo as expected’. He showed an explosive rise with his batting average hitting 0.305 in 26 games in May, 0.374 in 24 games in June, and 0.435 in 13 games in July.
However, he suffered an ankle injury in the game against Lotte on July 22, and was diagnosed as out for the season, so his participation in the Hangzhou national team was naturally cancelled. It goes without saying that the importance of a player who can hit at a critical moment on the international stage, which is a short-term match, is important. The injury to Lee Jeong-hoo, who has shown such talent in international competitions, is a fatal blow. However, since this was actually decided in July, it is somewhat different from Koo Chang-mo in that it can be seen as a predicted elimination.
Koo Chang-mo was highly anticipated as the national team’s left-handed ace and a pitcher who could start and win the most important games. Although injuries were frequent in his professional career, it is no exaggeration to say that a healthy Koo Chang-mo is the best native pitcher in the league. In 2020, he recorded 9 wins, no losses, and an average ERA of 1.74 in 15 games, and he pitched well last year with 11 wins, 5 losses, and an average ERA of 2.10 in 19 games.
However, Koo Chang-mo was also hampered by injury. Koo Chang-mo, who was prematurely eliminated from the LG game in Jamsil on June 2 due to forearm pain, showed no clear improvement in the subsequent examination. To make matters worse, he was later discovered to have a stress fracture and had to undergo rehabilitation for a long time. Koo Chang-mo only appeared in the second-team game on September 19th, and recorded his highest speed of 145 km/h, but it was difficult to guarantee that he had recovered his pitch. Because he had too few samples.
Koo Chang-mo’s joining caused great controversy even among baseball fans. It was pointed out that the national team was immediately convened on the 23rd and began its first training, so it was impossible to guarantee that they would be in normal condition. Koo Chang-mo expressed his own confidence, but the KBO Power Strengthening Committee had a slightly different idea. The KBO Strength Enhancement Committee personally observed Koo Chang-mo’s second-team appearance on the 19th and explored the final possibility, but settled on the side of ‘impossible’.
One person in the baseball world said, “Goo Chang-mo is a sure-to-win starting card to be used in the finals or in the game that is the biggest critical point in advancing to the finals.” “They may have decided that it might be better to select a left-handed bullpen separately,” he analyzed.
Regardless of whether it was planned or sudden, the loss of the two players is a painful loss for the national team. This is because the pillar of pitching and batting that can be trusted at critical moments has disappeared. It can be said that in this national team, which is mainly composed of players under the age of 24, there is no player who can completely replace Lee Jeong-hoo’s presence right now. There is no left-handed starting pitcher who can show pitching quality as good as Koo Chang-mo when he is healthy. An important game is scheduled to be played with right-handed aces, but the presence of Koo Chang-mo will inevitably remain a disappointment.
Meanwhile, KBO selected outfielder Kim Seong-yoon (24, Samsung) and left-hander Kim Young-gyu (23, NC) in their place. The fact that the KBO delayed as much as possible the announcement of a replacement for Lee Jeong-hoo, who was already scheduled to drop out, was the result of its will to select a player who was in the best condition before being called up. This is where Kim Seong-yoon was selected. Unlike Koo Chang-mo, Kim Young-gyu is not a starting resource. However, he is expected to add strength in the bullpen. He is also a player who can pitch more than one inning.
In fact, not many people paid attention to Kim Seong-yoon’s name before this season began. He graduated from Pohang Steel High School and was selected in the second 4th round (39th overall) by Samsung in 2017, but until last year, the most appearances in the first team in a season was only 48 games (2022). However, he left a strong impression this year, recording a batting average of 0.314, 2 home runs, 27 RBI, and 18 stolen bases in 96 games. It is clear that he is one of the best left-handed hitting outfielders in the league among players under the age of 24.
The national team currently lacks outfielders. The only professional outfielders are Choi Ji-hoon (SSG) and Choi Won-jun (KIA). Accordingly, various alternatives were being considered, such as inserting Kim Hye-seong as an outfielder in an emergency. There was some talk that they would select a right-handed hitter who was lacking, but in the end, Kim Seong-yoon replaced Lee Jeong-hoo.
Kim Young-gyu emerged as the core of the NC bullpen last year by recording 2 wins, 7 losses, 1 save, 13 holds, and an ERA of 3.41 in 72 games. This year, he pitched 56⅔ innings in 59 games and was doing well with 2 wins, 4 losses, 21 holds, and an ERA of 3.34. . He can throw a fast ball and has quite a bit of experience, so he has been mentioned as one of the strong candidates if a left-handed bullpen was selected after Koo Chang-mo was eliminated.
However, some fans suspect that the KBO consciously took military service into consideration when making selections, saying that Lee Jae-hyun, a member of the same team, should have been selected instead of Kim Seong-yoon. Samsung has already selected right-hander Won Tae-in and infielder Kim Ji-chan, but both players have not completed their military service. If Lee Jae-hyeon, who also has not yet completed his military service, is selected, it is doubtful that Kim Seong-yoon, who has completed his military service, would have been selected instead, considering other teams’ opinions, since all three players have yet to complete their military service.
However, a KBO official said, “The principle of not selecting three players per team who have not completed military service was not even discussed at all,” and added, “For this Asian Games, selection was made without considering military service at all, and except for wild cards, age He emphasized, “The national team was formed under the principles of an annual age limit (under 25 years of age or less than 4 years of joining the team) and a maximum of 3 players per team (including wild cards).” There were only age, seniority restrictions, and wild card considerations, and military service had nothing to do with the composition of the national team. In other words, this can be taken as a protest that the current national team needs Kim Seong-yoon more than Lee Jae-hyun.
In fact, the KBO is bound to be very sensitive to issues related to military service. In particular, if you win a gold medal at the Asian Games, you can receive military service benefits. For this reason, controversies related to this issue continue every time the Asian Games are held. During the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, there was criticism that military service was considered too much in the selection process, and this became controversial, leading to the humiliation of Korean baseball in which the national team coach at the time, Seon Dong-yeol, was dragged to the National Assembly Audit Office. This led to a change in the rules to impose an age limit starting from this competition and to proceed without stopping the league.
Some believe that the bold exclusion of Koo Chang-mo was intended to prevent such controversy in advance. Koo Chang-mo is also an undrafted athlete, and if he does not win a gold medal at this Asian Games, he was scheduled to enlist in the Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Sangmu) in December. He had already signed a non-FA long-term contract with NC, and in a situation where the contract was divided into two depending on military issues, it was actually Koo Chang-mo who absolutely needed this gold medal. Because of this, there has been a lot of criticism of Koo Chang-mo, who raised his pitch right before the tournament after being sidelined for a long time, and some believe that the KBO may not have taken this into consideration as well as Koo Chang-mo’s current condition.
Meanwhile, there is a possibility that additional players will be replaced in the future. The KBO added, ‘In addition to replacing the two players, the KBO Strengthening Committee plans to closely examine the physical condition of other representative players and make additional replacements if it is judged that their performance has decreased due to injuries.’ Currently, Asian Games entries can only be replaced for injured players. This means that players who are not performing properly due to injuries can be replaced at any time, even during the training period, which could lead to another controversy over the selection of new players. This is because the league is in progress for a long time.