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He did say that he thinks one of two players will come, Cho Dae-hyun and Won Sang-hyun, who was selected by KT. I think you did a good job.”

Asked if he had any discussions with the front office about the first-round pick after the 2024 KBO Draft on Thursday, KIA head coach Kim Jong-kook said he was briefed. It is impossible for the first-team coaching staff to have detailed knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of high school and college amateur players. This is usually left to scouting organizations and front offices. However, they do talk about the general direction with the field manager, and KIA’s choice was leaning toward one or the other early on.안전놀이터

Among them, Kia named Gangneung High right-hander Cho Dae-hyun. The general consensus among KBO scouts is that the “top five” of the rookie draft was more or less decided by September, after Jang Hyun-seok (LA Dodgers), the top pick, announced his entry into the major leagues. This meant that the selection of the sixth pick by KIA could have changed the rest of the teams’ picks, but KIA chose Cho Dae-hyun without much fanfare.

KIA focused on strengthening their right-handed pitching in this year’s draft. Left-handers had been somewhat plentiful in recent drafts. In fact, KIA is the only team whose current homegrown starters (Yang Hyun-jong, Lee Yi-ri, Yoon Young-chul) are all lefties. In the bullpen, top pick Choi Ji-min has shown flashes of potential this year, as has 2019 first-rounder Kim Ki-hoon. While the team is considered a lefty powerhouse, they needed a righty to balance things out. Cho Dae-hyun is a promising prospect.

Dae-hyun Cho has a strong physique, measuring 193 centimeters and 90 kilograms. Scouts give him very high marks for his physical abilities. He has a fastball that reaches up to 151 kilometers per hour at a high plateau and has good stamina. He also has good stamina, according to KIA. The team sees him as a starting pitcher.

“I think there is a high possibility,” said Kim, “He has a lot of speed at the beginning, but he is not physically strong, but I received a report that he can be a good player if he manages his physical condition well.” This suggests that the Kia front office isn’t in a rush to sign Cho Dae-hyun. A club scout said, “Yoon Young-chul, who was drafted a year ago, and Cho Dae-hyun are different. If Yoon Young-chul is an immediate powerhouse, Cho Dae-hyun is a player who will take time.”

Yoon Young-cheol, a high school rookie who successfully secured a spot in the starting rotation ⓒYonhap News Agency

However, KIA can afford to wait for that time. Lee has already settled into the starting lineup. It’s a matter of whether or not he grows from here. Lee’s potential is already among the best in the KBO. The team has won 24 games in the last three years. Yoon Young-chul, a closer, has also shown promise in the starting rotation this year. His fastball velocity needs work, but his game management, changeup, and feel for the game are all passing grades.

With Lee Yi-ri and Yoon Young-chul, KIA doesn’t need to rush Dae-hyun Cho. Unlike Yoon, Kia reportedly plans to give him a year or two to develop with systematic training. He can throw 150 kilometers right now, but some say he has the stuff to throw up to the mid-150s if he’s developed properly. The work to create that bowl is expected to be done step by step.

If the project to create a right-handed starting pitcher with Cho Dae-hyun is successful in the next two to three years, the KIA starting rotation could become a sustainable one with Lee Yi-ri and Yoon Young-chul. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but given the recent history of Kia’s top draft picks establishing themselves in the first team a bit faster than other teams, it’s something to look forward to. This is the case with Kim Ki-hoon (1st round, 2019), Jung Hae-young (1st round, 2020), Lee Yi-ri (1st round, 2021), Kim Do-young (1st round, 2022), Choi Ji-min (1st round, 2022), and Yoon Young-chul (1st round, 2023).

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