안전놀이터KIA Tigers made a selection in the rookie draft that focused on the team’s future. KIA general manager Shim Jae-hak, who noticed the potential of the new players, expressed satisfaction with the draft results.
KIA selected a total of 10 people in the 2024 rookie draft held on the 14th, including pitcher Cho Dae-hyun (Gangneung High School), 6th pick in the first round, and catcher Lee Sang-jun (Gyeonggi High School), 26th pick in the 3rd round.
KIA put a lot of effort into strengthening the pitching staff, selecting 7 out of 10 pitchers. The others were two infielders and one catcher. General Manager Shim Jae-hak explained, “Because we lacked resources for right-handed starting pitchers, we focused on nominating pitchers. For the pitchers selected in the back, we focused on velocity,” and added, “We selected infielders who were stable and quick on their feet.”
What attracted the most attention was KIA’s 6th place pick. After much deliberation, KIA chose right-hander Cho Dae-hyeon. He has a sturdy physique of 193 cm and 90 kg, and utilizes his hardware to throw a powerful fastball at a maximum speed of 151 km/h. He also has good stamina to maintain his good results while serving as a two-bat this year.
KIA views Cho Dae-hyun from a different perspective than Lee Ui-ri and Yoon Young-cheol. Rather than using Cho Dae-hyun as an immediate force, the plan is to take time to develop him into a starting pitcher. Unleashing the right-hander’s potential is one of KIA’s main tasks.
General Manager Shim said, “Cho Dae-hyun will not play in the first team right away. Yang Hyeon-jong, who joined in 2007, also started slowly with one win,” and added, “If we develop him through our training system, I think his potential will explode. I have high expectations.” .
KIA also highly evaluates the growth potential of Lee Sang-jun, who was called in the 3rd round. Lee Sang-jun, who played in the recently concluded World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup (World Youth Baseball Championship), is a catcher with strong arms and slugging power.
General Manager Shim said of Lee Sang-jun, “I thought he would be selected early. After much consideration, I nominated Lee Sang-jun ahead of the pitcher we originally planned to select. I am satisfied that we were able to select him,” and added, “He has a good chance of becoming a great catcher. When I saw it in person on the field, I was satisfied with the selection.” He expressed his expectations, saying, “His throwing ability to second base is comparable to that of professional players. He has good throwing ability, so I think he will grow quickly if he improves his defensive ability.”