The Kiwoom Heroes have prepared for the future by trading their main starting pitcher Choi Won-tae (26) after the injury to their top hitter Lee Jung-hoo 안전놀이터 (25).
“We have executed a trade with the LG Twins to acquire infielder Lee Ju-hyung, pitcher Kim Dong-gyu, and a first-round draft pick in the 2024 MLB Draft from the LG Twins for pitcher Choi Won-tae,” Kiwoom announced on April 29. Won-tae Choi has been a dominant starter this season, going 6-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 17 games (102⅓ innings). He was an integral part of Kiwoom’s starting rotation during their best season of the year, but will be leaving the organization.
Kiwoom suffered a major blow when Lee Jung-hoo was injured on April 22. Foreign hitter Ronnie Dawson joined the team and has been performing well, but it’s not easy to fill Lee’s shoes alone.
Furthermore, Kiwoom is in ninth place in the league with 41 wins, three draws, and 50 losses this season. They are 4.5 games behind fifth-place KT (43 wins, 2 draws, and 43 losses). While the team hasn’t given up on a postseason berth just yet, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to make the jump to the top of the standings if Lee Jung-hoo is unable to return.
Against this backdrop, Kiwoom sent off Choi Won-tae, who is set to become a free agent after next season, to receive prospects. They got Lee Ju-hyung, a second-round (13th) pick in the 2020 Rookie Draft, and Kim Dong-gyu, a second-round (17th) pick in the 2023 Rookie Draft, as well as a first-round (8th) pick in the 2024 Rookie Draft to be held this year.
[OSEN=Gocheok, Lee Dae-sun] On the afternoon of the 29th, a game between Kiwoom Heroes and Samsung Lions in the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ was held at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul.In the bottom of the third inning, Kiwoom’s Lee Ju-hyung hits a single to center field. 2023.07.29 /email@example.com
The key prospect in the trade is Lee Ju-hyung, who has been highly anticipated since his days at LG. Lee went straight into the lineup against Samsung on July 29 and went 1-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored. Manager Ko Hyung-wook said, “Lee Joo-hyung is a player who had a very good evaluation at LG. If we give him a position, his batting could be even better. He needs time to grow, but even with a small opportunity, his talent may suddenly blossom,” he said, looking forward to Lee’s performance.
Kim Dong-kyu is another right-handed pitcher with good physical condition (195 cm, 100 kg) and great potential. “He is very tall and has good strength. He throws in the mid-to-high 140 kilometers per hour and has a good changeup. We see him as a future starter. He can be utilized as a bullpen pitcher in the first team right now, but I think it is better to develop him as a starting pitcher for the future.”
The first-round pick from LG is also drawing attention from fans. With the first-round pick, Kiwoom was able to select six players in the top 30. They can pick players ranked 8th (LG), 9th, 16th (KIA), 19th, 24th (Samsung), and 29th overall.
“We have a lot of picks, so we’re going to have a lot of trouble,” said Ko Hyung-wook, laughing, “They say that the pitching prospects this year are good, but there are also good hitters. We will think a lot and try to select good players.”
Lee Jung-hoo, who has been the centerpiece of Kiwoom’s team, will enter the major leagues after this season. We can’t help but think about the ‘post-Lee Jung-hoo’ era. It will be interesting to see what Kiwoom will do in the future, as it is attracting many prospects and creating future power.
[OSEN=Gocheok, Lee Dae-sun] On the afternoon of the 29th, the game between the Kiwoom Heroes and Samsung Lions of the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ was held at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul.In the bottom of the third inning, Kiwoom’s Lee Ju-hyung makes a ceremony after hitting a single to center field. 2023.07.29 /firstname.lastname@example.org