“You can go to the 1st team camp” Kiwoom Ohtani, futures manager gave a free pass
Kiwoom Heroes Spring Camp, which will be held next year in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA, is expected to feature new faces one after another. It was thanks to the long-awaited recruitment of an outside FA. There are players who have never had a relationship with Kiwoom, such as Won Jong-hyun (35), Lee Hyeong-jong (33), and foreign pitcher Ariel Hurado (26), and there are welcome faces such as Lim Chang-min (37) and Edison Russell (28).
Another familiar, yet unfamiliar new face may appear here. The protagonist is Kim Geon-hee (18), a rookie who was nominated with the 6th overall in the 1st round of the 2023 rookie draft.
Kim Kun-hee, who has a height of 185 cm and a weight of 87 kg, became famous from the time of the draft, being called ‘Kiwoom’s Shohei Otani (28, LA Angels)’, who challenged both pitching and other jobs. As a catcher, he had an arm strong enough to display major league-class second base pop time (the time it takes for a catcher to throw a ball straight to second base after receiving it from the pitcher). The average pop time in the major leagues is around 2 seconds, but Kim Kun-hee averaged 1.81 seconds and reached a maximum of 1.76 seconds during his days at Wonju High School. Like this, he is also a pitcher who throws a fast ball with a maximum speed of 151km per hour with his strong shoulders. In his senior year of high school alone, he pitched in 9 games and posted an earned run average of 1.29.
However, his professional stage is different. Knowing that, Kiwoom also said, “It is true that I thought it was a talent that could be a two-other job,” but kept quiet about the possibility of realization. The Kiwoom finishing camp held in Wonju, Gangwon-do last month was the first stage to confirm the possibility of Kim Kun-hee’s two and other jobs. Seol Jong-jin (49), coach of the Kiwoom Futures League team, also cited Kim Kun-hee’s ability to pitch and hit as one of the main purposes of the camp.
At the beginning of the camp, Kim Gun-hee only batted and defended first base. He only received a fungo at first base, and his prowess as a catcher was not checked. He also started throwing the ball midway through camp. He pitched in the morning, batted practice in the afternoon, and so on. Kiwoom gave one task to ‘the batter’ Kim Gun-hee. His fastball was to hit unconditionally. ‘Hitter’ Gun-Hee Kim performed this task perfectly, pushing every ball and at the same time flying over his right wall.
In a recent phone call with Star News, coach Seol said, “When hitting, we split the breaking ball and the fastball to hit. Goes over the wall. A high school graduate is at A+ level,” he praised. He continued, “Although the hitting point is still behind, you can teach it. The basic skills are well equipped. As a hitter, Gun-hee Kim’s charm is his positive attitude and fast bat speed every time at bat. On top of that, he has the power to push through the fence with his flexible wrist. It has it,” he added.
‘Pitcher’ Kim Gun-hee was only allowed to throw fastballs with up to 80% of the power. However, 142 km/h came out easily. Coach Seol said, “The thing I was most worried about was that ‘if a former catcher plays pitcher, his arm swing can get smaller.’ I watched with the coaches from behind, and the pitching form was perfect for throwing (An) Woo-jin. Of course, Woo-jin is much better at hitting (mit) after throwing, but even though Kun-hee is a high school graduate, he has good arm swing and wrist strength, so he can also play on the ball. I felt the strength,” recalling the moment everyone admired.
In fact, the coaching staff of Futures was struggling to suppress their expectations for Kim Kun-hee. This is because there are many cases where the actual appearance is different from what was written in the scouting report. However, in a short period of time of less than a month, Kim Geon-hee excited the hearts of the coaches. Coach Seol said, “According to the report, ‘It won’t be that far’, but we were surprised to see him throw it. It was judged to be A-class in terms of overall physical strength, such as muscle strength, and then I became greedy.” 메이저사이트
So management has become more meticulous. At the end of the camp, Kim Gun-hee was not given a ball or a bat. Coach Seol said, “I’ve become more careful. I was worried that I might get hurt if I was greedy. It’s not easy to train pitching and hitting together. We could see that he was having a hard time at the beginning, but he was definitely having a hard time at the end. Of course, himself. He didn’t say he was tired,” he laughed.
It is not easy for a rookie to greet his first spring camp in the first team, but coach Seol gave Kim Kun-hee a free pass. He said, “After the final camp, I reported to coach Hong Won-ki, ‘The club has decided on a direction, so I think I can take him to the 1st team.’ I thought it wasn’t bad. If I go and think it’s not yet, I can move according to the manual. Everyone’s eyes will be different, but I think it’ll be okay to play two and two together for a while.”
Everyone says it is close to impossible, but the leader who has nurtured numerous talents hoped that a second Ohtani would be born in the KBO League as well. Coach Seol said, “It’s a good thing if both things go well. It’s rare in the KBO league, and I think the team’s challenge itself is positive. For the development of Korean baseball, I think it’s okay to challenge as long as you have both pitching and hitting potential (Kim). Geon-hee’s talent is enough,” he said with strength.