Roger Dean Stadium, where the sun was shining, was covered with dark clouds when game time came, and then it rained. The weather in Florida in the middle of the summer can be fickle.
The 2023 season of Jo Won-bin (20), who plays for the Palm Beach Cardinals, a single A team affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, whose home ground is here, is also similar to this weather. After sluggish batting average of 0.148 (8 hits in 54 bats) in 16 games in April, he rebounded with a batting average of 0.338 (25 hits in 74 bats) in 21 games in May. He has an on-base percentage of 0.449 and a slugging percentage of 0.378.메이저놀이터
Ranked 21st in the Cardinals prospect list by ‘MLB.com’, he is still sweating silently for the moment to shine brightly in the not-too-distant future.
St. Louis prospect Cho Won-bin is quietly walking his own path. Photo (Jupiter, USA) = Correspondent Kim Jae-ho
I met him and talked.
The new season has been about two months. How are you?
I’m doing well. The surrounding environment is all better than last year. Major league players are using the clubhouse used during spring training. I thought (the environment) would get better as I went up. It seems that we are doing it in the best environment here. Rookie level players have different lockers and different training times.
This is the first so-called ‘full season’. Would it be different from high school or rookie level?
I am learning to play every day. The most important thing is mental management. The season is long, so I’m learning that I don’t have to feel bad when I miss a game, and I don’t have to be happy when I did well, but it’s still hard to accept. If I don’t play one game, I feel bad the next day, and that seems to continue. How you hold that part is important. Physically, I run a lot, but there is no problem because I take frequent breaks, sleep a lot, and do recovery exercises.
Are there any co-workers who are particularly helpful?
Within the team, there are many older brothers who entered the draft after graduating from university. Those older brothers have been playing for this team (Single A) since last year. After graduating from college, I have a better sense of the game than younger players like me, and my attitude to the game is different. I learn a lot by watching what the hyungs do.
When it comes to the minor leagues, what often comes to mind is the ‘difficult road’.
When the expedition travels for more than an hour, they find a lodging there and play a series of matches for a week. I’m not sure about the travel time because I usually sleep or look at my phone on the bus. When it’s long, it seems to go for about 2-3 hours.
In April, it was very sluggish.
In April, I don’t know either. My body was well prepared during the spring camp, but the results did not follow. Even if the content of the game is not bad, batters have no choice but to pay attention to the numbers. I was in a hurry when the record didn’t come out. No matter how much the team says that it is evaluated not by batting average, but by the quality of batting balls and the content of on-base, etc., but when you run a game, you see an electronic display board, and even though you thought you were doing well, you had to pay attention to the record because it did not meet your expectations.
To be honest, I’ve never played many matches before. I wonder how my record will look when I play close to 100 games this year.
What do you expect?
I don’t want to make predictions now. The feeling of hitting keeps going back and forth. It is not easy to play one at-bat. I’m making my blow.
Cho Won-bin signed a contract with St. Louis last year and started to challenge the American stage. Photo = MK Sports DB
What is the hardest thing at bat?
When I was a rookie, pitchers threw whatever they wanted, but now they come in to catch me. I also analyze my power and use it right away if I show weakness in any ball. It’s not easy with the mindset of ‘I have to keep going like this’ just because I did well in one at-bat. Right now, the response to the fastball is doing well, but since he continues to hit the fastball well, the opponent is almost fighting only with a breaking ball. You can aim for a walk, but even a breaking ball can come as a strike, and if the count is unfavorable, you seem to be in a hurry. To cope with a breaking ball, I try toe-tap, hit while stamping my feet, and try this and that to the best of my ability.
In the minor leagues, practice is more important than training. In the end, I don’t think there’s an answer other than practice, right?
Since there are matches every day, I think I have to find a way through it and overcome it. I am also doing image training, but it is different from directly dealing with what the pitcher throws. Coaches and instructors are very helpful. They make separate training and do additional exercises.
It’s still early in the season, but he’s still ok when it comes to seeing the ball and hitting it. It also supports stamina. I believe that if I fix the parts that I am not good at, there will be better results.
In the past, I posted a video on Instagram looking at the batted ball after hitting a home run. can you explain?
It was against the Detroit Tigers. It was a rainy day and the pitch was dark. The batted ball went to the right, but I couldn’t see it well. So I was watching the batted ball, but the opposing team seemed to be in a bad mood because they threw a bat right after hitting and watched the batted ball. The manager and coach complained to the referee. Fortunately, the beanball didn’t fit (laughs). The teammates laughed and asked, ‘Why are you watching the batted ball? Throwing the bat is not intentional, it comes from hitting unconsciously. I thought that the other person might feel bad for my thoughtless actions.