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The will of man is his happiness

NC selected ‘Wild Thing’ in the 1st round for 2 consecutive years, “highest score potential”, chose promising candidate instead of immediate match

NC Dinos selected right-hander ‘Wild Thing’ (a pitcher with a fast velocity but in need of improvement in control) in the KBO rookie draft for the second year in a row. Except for the physique requirement, the strengths and complements are similar.스포츠토토

In the 2024 KBO rookie draft held at the Grand Ballroom of the Westin Chosun Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul at 2 p.m. on the 14th, NC selected a total of 11 players, including Whimoon High School pitcher Kim Hwi-geon in the first round and Daegu Sangwon High School pitcher Im Sang-hyeon in the second round (pitcher). 8 players, 2 infielders, 1 catcher and outfielder each).

The name that stands out the most is Kim Hwigeon. Kim Hwi-geon, a right-handed fireballer with a sturdy physique of 191 cm tall and 105 kg in weight, has a fastball with a maximum speed of 152 km per hour. Among third-year high school pitchers this year, he boasts the second-highest velocity after Jang Hyun-seok (Masan Yongmag High School, joined the LA Dodgers) and Lee Chan-sol (Seoul High School, joined Boston), who have confirmed their advancement to the United States.

After being nominated, Kim Hwigeon showed extraordinary motivation, saying, “I will return the love NC gave me a thousand times. I will sacrifice my right arm for NC.” He also mentioned his connection, saying, “I was born in Changwon and played baseball while watching NC.”

Min Dong-geun, head of the NC scouting team, explained the reason for the nomination, saying, “Kim Hwi-gun is a special selection resource with excellent pitch value based on his excellent physical strength and explosive pitch. I was confident that he was a special fastball selection resource that fits the recent KBO league trend.” He also stated that he “decided on his nomination noting that he has the highest peak potential.” The NC team said, “There is a possibility of increased speed in the future based on the flexibility of the pitch without any unnecessary elements,” and added, “It is difficult for batters to target the cutter, which curves quickly.”

After the nomination, NC general manager Lim Seon-nam said, “(Kim Hwi-geon) is a special starting resource with excellent physical condition, athletic ability, and explosive pitch. I think he is a player with infinite potential. We will turn that potential and possibility into reality through the club’s training system. “I was confident that I could do it, so I nominated him without hesitation,” he said. He then added, “I think we will be able to show Kim Hwi-gun standing on the mound at Changwon NC Park and throwing in the not-too-distant future.”

Expectations on site are also high. After the draft, NC coach Kang In-kwon said, “He is a pitcher who throws a fastball exceeding 150 km per hour. Also, since his parents have DNA from being athletes, it appears that he will not have any problems making a living.” Both of Kim Hwi-geon’s parents were basketball players, and in particular, his mother, Jeong Yun-sook, was a former national team player who played for WKBL Hyundai Engineering & Construction (now Shinhan Bank), Kumho Life Insurance, and KB Stars.

However, the point of concern is control. Kim Hwi-geon, who pitched 9 games and 34 innings this year, recorded an ERA of 2.12 and 48 strikeouts, but he had 21 four outs. Coach Kang was also worried, saying, “He seems to be having issues with ball control.” Still, he did not spare his support, saying, “I think it would be good if good talent was evaluated more highly than control.”

NC also invested its first round pick in Fireballer last year. It was Shin Young-woo, a pitcher at Gyeongnam High School. He cooked hitters with a fastball of up to 154 km/h and a knuckle curve, and showed excellent strikeout ability by striking out 85 batters in 50⅔ innings during his senior year of high school last year. However, Shin Young-woo also had difficulty controlling the ball, giving up 43 balls with 4 outs.

Shin Young-woo, who debuted on the professional stage this year, appeared in 17 games in the Futures League and is going through an adjustment period with 3 wins, 7 losses, and an average ERA of 6.14. Although he is still trying to gain control, giving up 4 outs and 97 balls in 66 innings, he also struck out 83 and recorded a hitting percentage of 0.197, proving that his pitch is solid.

Kim Hwi-geon is also the type of player who is not easy to be put into the first team right away. However, once he has finished adapting to the professional ranks and has gained some control, he is a player with a high ceiling, as expected by the club. This is where NC’s direction can be seen through the drafts of the past two years.

Meanwhile, Director Lim said of this draft, “This year’s draft, like last year and before, we tried to select the best player among the remaining players in the order we selected. And we prioritized the player’s potential rather than his current skills. “I wanted to nominate him,” he said. He continued, “In fact, we said there was a position we needed right now, so we proceeded according to our principles rather than pulling out or arranging positions. It didn’t deviate too much from our expectations, and I’m quite satisfied with the result.”

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