The Hanwha Eagles failed to send a single player to the national team in the last World Baseball (WBC). Among the 10 KBO league teams, Hanwha was the only one that failed to produce a national team player. It was the humiliation of ‘0’ for the national team in 4 years after the 2019 WBSC Premier 12 competition.
However, it seems that the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games will make up for the humiliation of the WBC. In pitching, the performance of young Hanwha players is outstanding.
The first thing that comes to mind is third baseman Noh Si-hwan (23). Up to the game on the 19th, Noh Si-hwan ranked 5th in batting average (0.377), tied for 2nd in most hits (23), 1st in doubles (9), 3rd in on-base percentage (0.457), 5th in slugging percentage (0.577), It ranks third in OPS (1.014) and is sweeping the top ranks in various hitting indicators. Batting WAR (1.02) ranks first in the entire league (based on stats). His potential is in full bloom at the beginning of this season, marking his fifth year as a player. If he continues his current performance, there is a high possibility that he will become the third baseman for the Asian Games national team.
The player who caught the eye of the pitcher was Moon Dong-ju (20). Moon Dong-ju, who showed good form in the second half of last year, which was his debut season, and raised expectations for the second year season, is cruising with 1 win and 1 loss in 3 games and an average ERA of 1.08 this year. He boasts a powerful pitch with 18 strikeouts in 16⅔ innings, and on the 12th against the KIA Tigers, he became the first Korean player to break the 160km/h wall (160.1km/h based on the Sports to Eye PTS system). Moon Dong-ju, who was also mentioned as a final candidate for the WBC national team, is evaluated as the strongest selection card in the upcoming Asian Games.
Kang Jae-min (24), who was unfortunately eliminated from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics held in 2021, also challenges toward the Taegeuk mark once again. Kang Jae-min, who was somewhat stagnant last year, is recovering his good form from two years ago, recording an average ERA of 2.89 with 1 win and 2 holds in 9 games this season. He is currently recording a WAR of 0.38, which is the fourth best among bullpen pitchers under the age of 25 (born in 1998 or later), following Cheol-Won Jeong, Seung-Hyun Lee, and Jae-Woong Kim. He’s an attractive enough resource considering he’s a sidearm pitcher.
Kim Seo-hyun (19), who caught attention with just one game before his debut, is also a potential national team candidate. Kim Seo-hyun, who made her first-team debut against the Doosan Bears on the 19th, drew everyone’s attention with her perfect pitching with two strikeouts in one inning. Hanwha’s trackman standard 160.1km/h (PTS standard 157.9km/h), and the end of the ball was stamped with a messy fastball, overwhelming the batter. If Kim Seo-hyun continues to perform steadily without stopping in the first match, it is worth aiming for the national team entry.
The Hangzhou Asian Games national team will include players under the age of 25 or under the age of 4 years of professional service. There is a guideline that selects a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 3 people per team. However, after the meeting of the KBO Power Reinforcement Committee held on the 18th, Chairman Cho Gye-hyun said,메이저놀이터 “There are not many accumulated data of players now. We are discussing the possibility of going all the way to the WBC. We are also planning to look closely at the maximum 3 players per team rule.”
Hanwha captain Jung Woo-ram confidently said at Media Day held on March 30th, “In the next three years, Hanwha will have the most national team players.” And Hanwha’s young players are proving that the captain’s boasts are not lies.