The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced on the 4th the 30 national team entries for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) to be held in March. In order to make up for the recent sluggishness of international competitions and the decline in baseball popularity, the principle was to form the best national team.
However, as veteran pitchers Kim Gwang-hyun (SSG) and Yang Hyeon-jong (KIA), born in 1988, who are celebrating their 35-year-old season, are included again, it is pointed out that the generational change of the national mound is slow. On the other hand, there is optimism that a generational change is already under way as young starting pitchers in their early and mid-20s, such as Kwak Bin (born in 1999, Doosan), Kim Yun-shik (born in 2000, LG), and So Joon Sohn (born in 2001, kt), were first selected for the national team.
In fact, more weight is being placed on the point that it is the catcher, not the pitcher, who needs a generational change. The catchers on the WBC national team are Lee Ji-young (born in 1986, Kiwoom) and Eui-ji Yang (born in 1987, Doosan), both veterans in their mid-30s. The two catchers who were included in the WBC national team interest list announced by the KBO as a preliminary entry in November last year, but were missed in the final entry, were Park Se-hyeok (NC) and Park Dong-won (LG). Both players were born in 1990 and are veterans who are celebrating their 33-year-old season this year.
The same objection was raised in the baseball team that participated in the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021. Yang Eui-ji and Kang Min-ho 토토사이트 (Samsung), born in 1985, were selected as catchers for the national team, and they were all veterans. It is revealed how much the catcher generation change is delayed in the current KBO league.
The Asia Professional Baseball Championship (APBC), held in November 2017, was composed of young players based on age and annual service restrictions. At this time, among the members of the national team, there are a number of players who have proven their clear growth through pitching since then, such as Park Se-woong (Lotte), Koo Chang-mo, Park Min-woo (hereafter NC), Kim Ha-seong (San Diego), Koo Ja-wook (Samsung), and Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom).
However, Han Seung-taek (KIA) and Jang Seung-hyeon (Doosan), who were selected as catchers, who were pointed out as weak positions in the APBC national team, were not re-selected as national players, and even failed to secure starting positions in their team. Currently, it is difficult to find a catcher in his 20s in 10 clubs. This is why concerns are being raised that no matter how difficult it is to develop a catcher who can be used as a first team player, it is very serious. Therefore, the selection of a catcher in his 20s for the national team is nothing more than a sense of remorse.
Some are looking for the reason for the slow growth of catchers going back to amateur baseball, not the KBO league. Young players avoid physically demanding catchers. As a result, it is rare for talented players to play catcher.
Some point out that it is also a problem that there are few former catchers among the field leaders who teach young players. It is a story that it takes a long time to nurture prospective catchers who have been nominated by 10 clubs and have entered the pros due to the difficulty of completely recreating them from the ground up.
This year, after the WBC, the Hangzhou Asian Games in September and the APBC in November will be held, and the national team will be composed mainly of young players. It is doubtful who will be selected as a young catcher and lead the national team while protecting the home.
The voice that pros and amateurs should put their heads together and think more fiercely for long-term catcher development is gaining strength. Attention is focusing on whether Korean baseball, which relies on veteran catchers, can wisely overcome the current catcher crisis.