The KIA Tigers’ competition for the starting pitcher is just beginning. Will new recruits Byun Woo-hyeok (22) and Joo Hyo-sang (25) find their place through the second camp practice?
On the 24th (Korean time), KIA finished the 3-week first spring camp held at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, USA. Now, KIA crosses over to Okinawa, Japan again, and prepares for the 2023 season in earnest through the second spring camp from the 27th to March 8th.
The topic of KIA’s second spring camp is ‘fierce competition’. In particular, it is expected that the process of finding new starting candidates will be centered around young players. Unlike the 1st spring camp, which focused on technical and physical training, the 3-day training and 1-day rest pattern, the 2nd camp will have 5 practice matches with 3 KBO league teams. They are scheduled to play against Hanwha (2 matches), Samsung (2 matches), and Lotte (1 match).먹튀검증
In the full-fledged 2nd camp practice game evaluation game, infielder Byun Woo-hyeok and catcher Joo Hyo-sang are attracting attention among the fielders. After the first camp, KIA Tigers coach Kim Jong-guk named him as one of the most trained beasts along with Kim Do-young (19). Coincidentally, both Byun Woo-hyeok and Joo Hyo-sang are newly recruited students who recently joined KIA, and are also ‘catfish’.
KIA’s early trade of Byun Woo-hyuk and Joo Hyo-sang after the end of last season was not simply to give positive tension to each position in the squad and inspire a sense of competition. Jang Jeong-seok, general manager of the KIA, did not hide his expectations, saying, “Byeon Woo-hyuk and Joo Hyo-sang are players with sufficient ability to strengthen the depth of each position and become a core player in the infield and catcher from a long-term perspective.”
Byun Woo-hyeok, who is expected to be a right-handed hitter, has to compete for position with Ryu Ji-hyeok, the existing third baseman, and Kim Do-young, who will alternate between third base and shortstop this season. If you show more long hitting power, it is a resource that can be used as a designated hitter.
Earlier, in the evaluation match against the national team held on the 20th, Byun Woo-hyeok showed off his strength by hitting a left-handed home run against his teammate Lee Eui-ri. If Byun Woo-hyuk can continue to show the charm of long hitting power in Okinawa’s actual game and demonstration game, the composition of the KIA infield’s starting pitcher can fluctuate greatly.
The same goes for Joo Hyo-sang, who will be in charge of the KIA home this season along with Han Seung-taek. Han Seung-taek and Joo Hyo-sang, who have been consistently playing every season since moving to KIA in 2016, are expected to compete infinitely this season. After completing his mandatory military service, he successfully completed elbow ligament joint surgery and rehabilitation, and sweated hard at the Hampyeong training ground.
At the Arizona camp in the U.S., with a good training attitude, he impressed coach Kim Jong-guk and the coaching staff properly. Now, it is important for Joo Hyo-sang to show a good performance in karate and defense as a host while breathing with the pitchers of his team in actual matches.
It is difficult for one catcher to handle all schedules while playing 144 games in the regular season. Inevitably, Joo Hyo-sang can be given more than a certain level of opportunity. And in the long run, the fierce competition between Han Seung-taek and Joo Hyo-sang would lead to the strengthening of KIA’s home power, which is what KIA and KIA fans want.