Baseball Rookie Draft Held Today…Hwang Jun-seo, Kim Taek-yeon Maxed Out

The day of the KBO Draft is here.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) will hold the 2024 KBO Rookie Draft on Thursday at 2 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Westin Chosun Hotel in Sogong, Seoul.

The rookie draft has been held as an all-round draft since last year. It will be held in 11 rounds. The teams will be selected in the following order: Hanwha Eagles, Doosan Bears, Lotte Giants, Samsung Lions, NC Dinos, Kia Tigers, KT Wiz, LG Twins, Kiwoom Heroes, and SSG Landers, in reverse order of their final standings from last season. For the second year in a row, Hanwha will hold the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

However, Kiwoom, who received the pick from another team in a trade, received the first-round pick in a trade with LG, allowing them to select two players in the first round. They will also exercise their second- and third-round picks from KIA and Samsung. NC also has a seventh-round pick from Hanwha.

This year’s rookie draft includes 782 high school graduates, 296 college graduates (including 41 early draft picks), and 5 other players, including overseas amateurs and professionals, for a total of 1083 players. The Early Draft System, which was implemented last year, allows players to enter the draft as sophomores at four-year (including three-year) colleges.

This year’s draft was dominated by pitchers. There are predictions that all 10 first-round picks will go to pitchers.

The favorite to go first overall is Jang Chung-go left-hander Hwang Jun-seo. At 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, Hwang has a fastball that reaches 150 mph and a splitter, slider, and curveball. His physique and pitching style are said to be reminiscent of Kim Kwang-hyun’s high school days.

Kim Taek-yeon, a right-hander from Incheon High School, is expected to wear the Doosan uniform at No. 2 barring any major upsets. Described as the “next Go Woo-seok,” Kim is praised for his hard-hitting fastball that reaches up to 153 kilometers and his reliable breaking ball.

Kim’s recent performance at the U-18 Baseball World Cup further boosted his stock. He’s even being talked about as a possible No. 1 overall pick. However, it will be difficult for Hanwha to give up on Hwang Jun-seo given their lack of left-handed pitching.

Other top first-round picks include Jeon Mir (Gyeongbuk High), Yuk Sun-yup (Jangchung High), Kim Hwi-gun (Huimun High), and Jeon Jun-pyo (Seoul High). Won Sang-hyun (Busan High) and Cho Dae-hyun (Gangneung High) are also expected to go in the first round 먹튀검증.

Among the outfielders, infielder Yeo Dong-gun (Seoul High), who is expected to be a “five-tool player,” and Park Ji-hwan (Se-ad), who is considered the best shortstop in high school, are in the spotlight. Among college graduates, left-hander Jeong Hyun-soo (Songwon University), who was recognized for his skills in the baseball talent program “Strongest Baseball,” is expected to be selected in the bottom of the first round.