5 active major leaguers who looked promising for the WBC national team. However, two of them suffered the loss of elimination. Why? 

In November of last year, the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) confirmed a list of 50 players interested in the 2023 WBC (World Baseball Classic) national team and submitted them to the WBC Organizing Committee. It was a kind of preliminary list to select the final 30 players. 

The 50 included five players who are playing in the American Major League, the home of baseball. Korean major leaguers Kim Ha-seong 토토 (San Diego Padres), Choi Ji-man (Pittsburgh Pirates), and Park Hyo-jun (then Pittsburgh), as well as Korean players Tommy Edman (St. Louis Cardinals) and Rob Lefsnyder (Boston Red Sox) were named. 

Naturally, attention was focused on whether or not Korean players would board. KBO, which had been shouting pure blood, decided to break it and set up an entry according to the WBC rules, which allow nationality to be determined based on parental or grandparental lineage and place of birth, regardless of current nationality. In response, in September of last year, Yeom Gyeong-yeop, then technical director of the WBC national team, left for the United States and met with a Korean big leaguer to discuss his intention to participate in the national team. 

Edman is a Korean player born in May 1995, the second of two sons and one daughter to a Korean mother, Kwak Gyeong-ah, and a college baseball coach father, John Edman. His full name is Thomas Hyeonsu Edmon, and he uses his Korean name Hyeonsu for his middle name. Refsnyder was born in Seoul in 1991 and was adopted in the United States at the age of five months. Unlike Edmund, he has a Korean name of Kim Jeong-tae. 

In the final 30 entries announced on the 4th, among the five big leaguers, Choi Ji-man, Kim Ha-seong, and Edman were honored with the national team. Lefsnyder and Hyojun Park were eliminated. Why couldn’t all of the active big leaguers wear the Taegeuk mark? 

Cho Bum-hyun, technical director of the WBC national team, said, “Refsnyder received a call that he could not participate due to personal circumstances.” In that case, he decided that it would be better to use domestic players.”

Park Hyo-joon, who received attention as a Pittsburgh multiplayer last year alone, is having a colder winter than ever before, facing release waiting measures three times this offseason. His rich minor league experience and the advantage of being able to play both infield and outfield positions, but his dream of becoming a Taegeuk mark was thwarted due to problems with his team. 

Choi Ji-man, who has the most major league experience among the five big leaguers, is also still considered a ‘provisional member’. In November of last year, he underwent elbow surgery and received up to 12 weeks of rehabilitation, and he has not yet received permission from his new team, Pittsburgh. Chairman Cho Bum-hyun said, “Choi Ji-man will undergo a medical test in the United States due to his elbow surgery. He should also listen to the story of the newly moved Pittsburgh club,” he said. “The player said he would contact me. He will wait for an answer.” 

The most anticipated are Kim Ha-seong (shortstop) and Edmund (second baseman), who will form the strongest Keystone combination ever. Kim Ha-seong was the first Korean to be named among the three finalists for the Gold Glove last year, and Edmund won the Gold Glove in 2021 prior to this. 

National team coach Lee Kang-cheol said, “Edmon is a multiplayer whose main position is second baseman. He is a player who has also received the Gold Glove the year before last,” he said. He is planning to use it as a main player.”