The 2020 Tokyo Olympic baseball team held last year aimed at a generational change itself. When Yang Hyun-jong and Kim Gwang-hyun were playing in the United States and could not go, Won Tae-in (Samsung), Lee Eui-ri (KIA), Kim Min-woo (Hanwha), and Ko Young-pyo (KT) formed the mound axis. As for the beasts, Lee Jeong-hoo (Kiwoom) and Kang Baek-ho (KT) received attention. It was the first international competition where seniors stepped down and players in their 20s began to take the lead.
Korean baseball, which has seen hope but also suffered through the Tokyo Olympics, is very likely to form a cross-generational team again at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) next March. There are new generations like outfielder Lee Jung-hoo and closer Go Woo-seok (LG) who have completely risen from their positions, but once again, the position where seniors have no choice but to step forward is prominent.
The mound is an example. A new ace Ahn Woo-jin (Kiwoom) appeared in this year’s league. He is the only pitcher to win two gold medals and also won the Golden Glove. He is the number one successor to Yang Hyeon-jong and Kim Gwang-hyeon. However, the controversy over the history of school violence remains and the cause of the Taegeuk mark has not been fulfilled. Then, as of this year, except for Ko Young-pyo and So Hyeong-jun (KT), the best domestic starters in the league are still Kim Gwang-hyun and Yang Hyeon-jong. Now that he has returned to the KBO League, the possibility of being selected by the WBC is high. If Ahn Woo-jin, the current best player, cannot go, the selection of Kim Gwang-hyun and Yang Hyeon-jong becomes more essential.
First baseman is also a position that symbolizes the generational change in Korean baseball. Kang Baek-ho was selected along with Oh Jae-il (Samsung) as the first baseman of the national team, which has been followed by Lee Seung-yeop, Lee Dae-ho, Kim Tae-gyun, and Park Byeong-ho (KT). Last year, Kang Baek-ho challenged for multiple crowns and won the Golden Glove for two consecutive years, leading the league.
Kang Baek-ho is by far the first-ranked next generation to succeed the lineage of the national first baseman. However, Kang Baek-ho, who started with an injury and had a bitter taste this season, has no choice but to be pushed to the lower ranks. On the other hand, in terms of performance, batting condition, and defense, no first baseman can beat Park Byeong-ho, the home run king who won the Golden Glove after three years.토토
The WBC is very different from the Olympics. Supervised by the Major League Secretariat, there is a wide range of participation by active major leaguers. The level of participating countries will also rise one notch higher. Korea has to wash away the shame of being eliminated in the first round of the finals in a row in the 3rd and 4th tournaments. If so, you should pick only the players who are currently in the best condition in the league.
The WBC technical committee recently held a meeting with the coaching staff and almost decided on the entry. We will have to wait until the roster is announced in early January next year, but looking at the results this season, there are still many veterans in the national team. Yang Hyeon-jong, Kim Gwang-hyeon, and Park Byeong-ho all last wore the Taegeuk mark at the Premier 12 in 2019.