Kim Joo-won (21), the future of NC Dinos, showed off his presence against the Korean national team at the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), raising expectations for the 2023 season.
Kim Joo-won is considered one of the main shortstop candidates for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games and the 2023 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC), which will be held in the second half of this year. Although it is an age-restricted competition, it would not even have been mentioned without the talent who had established himself in the first-team infield two years after his debut. The international competition, which is often visited by major league scouts, is also a big league showcase for prospects from countries other than the United States. But Kim Joo-won was lucky to get that opportunity first.
On the 17th (Korean time), scouts from nine major league teams gathered at Memorial Stadium located in the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, USA. It was to watch the first practice match between the national team and NC.안전놀이터 Kim Joo-won started as a shortstop and 6th hitter in this game and recorded 1 hit and 1 run in 3 at-bats.
His only hit was from Ko Young-pyo (32, KT Wiz), who showed the most overwhelming pitching among the 7 national team pitchers who participated in the game that day. Kim Joo-won, who started as the lead batter in the second inning, hit Ko Young-pyo’s second pitch and scored a heavy hit. However, NC’s run to base ended there. Seo Ho-cheol’s next ball rolled in front of Ko Young-pyo, resulting in a 1-4-3 double play, and Oh Jang-han struck out on a missed swing and withdrew. The innings were over after 10 pitches, far short of the standard of 20 to 25 balls per inning per pitcher requested by national team coach Lee Kang-cheol prior to the game. In the end, Ko Young-pyo was able to leave the mound only after striking out An Joong-yeol on a swing and catching Han Seok-hyun with a first baseman ground ball.
The secret to Kim Joo-won’s capture of the national team’s ace, who was close to being untouchable, was the balance of the upper and lower body that he constantly studied throughout the winter. After the game, he said, “I prepared the lower and upper body according to the routine in preparation posture during practice, but I prepared according to today’s game. The results came out well, so I am satisfied.”
Expectations for Kim Joo-won of NC this season are different. This winter, Noh Jin-hyeok (34), the main shortstop, transferred to the Lotte Giants as a free agent for a total of 5 billion won over 4 years. This is because Park Jun-young (26), who was in charge of backup, also moved to Doosan Bears as a compensation player for Park Se-hyeok (33). Suddenly, only Kim Joo-won was the only resource left to make him the starting shortstop. However, I am less worried because it is Kim Joo-won, who has shown his presence since Noh Jin-hyeok was there. Kim Joo-won started playing more games (636⅓ innings) than Noh Jin-hyeok (441⅓ innings) as a shortstop last year, his second year of debut, and recorded 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases at bat, showing outstanding potential in all aspects of offense, defense, and week. showed
Song Ji-man (50), NC hitting coach, praised Kim Joo-won, saying, “I have no doubt that he is the next runner-up to Lee Jung-hoo (24, Kiwoom),” and recalled Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego). Coach Song, who had watched Ha-seong Kim as a player and leader from the time he joined Nexen (currently Kiwoom) in 2014 to 2018, told Star News, “At that time, Ha-seong Kim’s expectations were in the major leagues (ML). As one or two years passed, The club also thought, “This player can go to the big leagues,” he said.
Kim Joo-won, who showed some of his talent, expressed his strong aspirations, saying, “I definitely felt a sense of intimidation when I saw the national team’s lineup. I will practice well in the remaining camps and apply them well and prepare like now.”