“We have to make sure that he doesn’t put any pressure on us.”
Ryu Jung-il, head coach of the Korean National Baseball Team, talks about how he plans to utilize Jang Hyun-seok (19, Masan Yongmago) ahead of the team’s scrimmage against the Commerce Baseball Team at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Saturday.
Jang Hyun-seok is the only high school player on the Ryu Joong-il team. Despite his young age, his skills are said to be good enough for the pros. This year, he threw a ball in the mid-to-high 150 kilometers, and his changeup, including a curve and slider changeup, is considered to be at a high level.
In nine high school games this year, he went 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA. In 29 innings pitched, he struck out 52 batters. His walks allowed per inning (WHIP) is just 0.79.
With such a strong performance, Jang was expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the rookie draft, but he set his sights on a bigger stage.
Early on, he decided to try his hand at the American game and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a total of $900,000. The Dodgers even prepared his jersey in advance, saying that the number 18 is worn by many top Asian players.
This is an important tournament for Jang Hyun-seok as well. If he wins a gold medal, he will be eligible for military service, which will make his journey to the big leagues easier.
For now, Ryu said he will utilize Jang Hyun-seok as the starting pitcher. “He’s a starter for now. He’s a high school student, so I want him to pitch when he’s not under pressure. For example, we’ll use him in the first game against Hong Kong or on the last day. He’s a young player, so we want to see how he performs on the mound. He’s going to be nervous.” To ease Jang’s nerves, Liu decided to give him the benefit of the doubt after watching him pitch out of the bullpen.
He was trying to ease the pressure, but if Jang Hyun-seok showed his guts on the mound, he could be given more responsibility. “If he’s really good, we can put him in as often as we want,” Ryu smiled.
“The bullpen pitching is good. There are some pitches that are a little high, but the ball itself is good. I’ll take him to the U.S. because he’s good,” he said.
Meanwhile, the national team will make its first and last practice check against the Commerce baseball team. Kwak Bin will be the starting pitcher. He will pitch three innings. Won Tae-in (2 innings), Jang Hyun-seok (1 inning), Jung Woo-young (1 inning), Go Woo-seok (1 inning), and Park Young-hyun (1 inning) will pitch. In addition, the team has reached an agreement with the commercial side to allow pitchers and batters to play alongside the commercial players.
Moon Dong-ju will be the starting pitcher. Moon will pitch three innings, followed by Na Kyun-an (two innings) and Kim Young-gyu (one inning). The seventh and eighth innings will be pitched by Sangmu and the ninth by Choi Ji-min of the national team.
The starting lineup for the national team is Kim Hye-sung (second baseman), Choi Ji-hoon (center fielder), Noh Si-hwan (third baseman), Kang Baek-ho (designated hitter), Moon Bo-kyung (first baseman), Kim Hyung-joon (catcher), Park Sung-sung (shortstop), Choi Won-joon (right fielder), and Kim Sung-yoon (left fielder). For the commercial baseball team, Yoon Dong-hee (right fielder), Kim Joo-won (shortstop), Kim Ji-chan (second baseman), and Kim Dong-heon (catcher) were deployed as batters 1-4.
The team will have its final practice on Oct. 27 before leaving for Hangzhou on Oct. 28. They will play their first game against Hong Kong on Oct. 1, followed by their second game against Chinese Taipei on Oct. 2. On Oct. 3, they will play their final group game against the qualifiers.토토사이트
Liu said, “We asked the commerce side to bunt when we have runners on first and second base, regardless of the score, so they can see our defense. (The national team players) came from different teams, so we need to get to know them first. We also asked them to steal bases when they reach first and third base so we can play defense,” Liu said.