It was November of last year. NC Dinos coach Kang In-kwon, who took off the tag of “acting,” picked infielder Kim Joo-won (21) without hesitation when asked, “Who do you think is the key player for the 2023 season?”
In NC last winter, infielder Noh Jin-hyuk (34, Lotte Giants) transferred as a free agent (FA). There was a great concern that the power might be weakened due to the departure of Noh Jin-hyeok, who is capable of both shortstop and third baseman. To make matters worse, even infield prospect Joon-Young Park (26, Doosan Bears) left the team as an FA compensation player for catcher Se-Hyeok Park. The infield depth (player layer) has become somewhat loose, but internally, I am not very concerned. It is because of the existence of Kim Joo-won, a shortstop in his third year. 메이저사이트
Kim Joo-won is currently one of the best infield prospects in the KBO League. After graduating from Yushin High School, he wore a Dinos uniform with the 6th overall pick in the 2nd round of the 2021 rookie draft. Appeared in 69 games in his first professional season, posting a batting average of 0.241 (40 hits in 166 at-bats). His batting average fell further his last season to .223 (61 hits in 273 at-bats) in 96 games. However, he hit his first double-digit home run (10) in his debut and made 10 stolen bases, joining the ’10-10 Club’. 36.1% of all hits were doubles or more. His scoring position batting average of 0.293 was above his season average. Even if his grades are not spectacular, it is evaluated that his growth potential is limitless considering his age, a second year high school graduate.
In a phone call with this magazine, Kim Joo-won said, “(Last year) I am satisfied with the increase in home runs. The balls I thought of at the plate came in and I focused on hitting, so it seemed to lead naturally to the result. The defense also produced slightly better results, so I am satisfied with that part. ” said However, he soon voiced his remorse. He said, “Last year wasn’t bad, but I think it was a bit disappointing. I felt my stamina drop a little at the end.” He said let’s make it, so I’m focusing a little more on weight training.”
Kim Joo-won’s role models are Genda Sosuke (Seibu Lions), who plays in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), and Francisco Lindor (New York Mets), who is active in the American Major League Baseball (MLB). Genda is a “defensive master” who has won the Golden Glove for five consecutive years since 2018, and Lindor has won the Gold Glove twice in MLB’s career. Kim Joo-won laughed, saying, “Recently, I often watch Brandon Crawford (San Francisco Giants) videos. Then, he looked back and said, “I was a bit uneasy about throwing at the beginning of last season, but I found a balance by continuing to practice with coach Jin Jong-gil.”
After the end of last season, NC signed a contract with second baseman Park Min-woo for 5+3 years, up to 14 billion won as free agent. Depending on how Kim Joo-won, who will be breathing with him, shows, the team’s performance may change. Shortstop Kim Joo-won’s shoulders are heavy for NC, which has to build a new center line. Lim Seon-nam, NC general manager, said, “It is important how young infielders like Kim Joo-won and Oh Young-soo do.”
Kim Joo-won had a batting average of 0.267 (4 hits in 15 at-bats) in his first 4 games of the season. He played an active role with 2 hits and 1 RBI in 5 at-bats against Doosan in Jamsil on the 5th. He said, “It’s not a burden. I don’t think it’s my position, but I think I have to prepare something diligently and show it as a result. The first thing is to work hard without cheating.” I hope to improve more than last year,” he said with great strength.