The 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), which opens in March, is a ‘showcase’ stage for Korean players aiming to advance to the major leagues. In particular, it is an opportunity to increase his ransom for KBO League best hitter Lee Jeong-hoo (Kiwoom), who dreams of entering the big league after the 2023 season in partnership with “super agent” Scott Boras. Lee Jung-hoo’s brother-in-law, King of Salvation Ko Woo-seok (LG), also expressed his will to challenge the major leagues, so we can check his competitiveness against world-class hitters.
The WBC, where a large number of active major leaguers compete, has become a bridgehead for Korean players to advance overseas. During the 2nd tournament in 2009, Ryu Hyun-jin (Toronto) played well and signed a six-year, $36 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013. This amount is the highest amount for a Korean player who entered the big leagues through the posting system (private competitive bidding). Kim Tae-gyun and Lee Bum-ho also entered the Japanese professional baseball by wielding a hard hit in the second tournament.
Team performance is also important. Korea reached the semifinals in the first competition in 2006, and took the runner-up in the second competition, and the marketability of the players also increased. However, in the 3rd tournament in 2013 and the 4th tournament in 2017, he was disgraced by being eliminated in the first round. Even after that, Park Byung-ho (KT), Kim Hyun-soo (LG), Kim Ha-seong (San Diego) and others stepped on the major league stage, but they were not treated beyond Ryu Hyun-jin.
Lee Jung-hoo and Ko Woo-seok also set out to catch the ‘two rabbits’ to improve grades and national prestige. Lee Jung-hoo’s genius batting skills are already recognized in the United States. When Lee Jung-hoo formalized his major league challenge through the posting system, MLB.com made a special mention of this news. In addition, right after the news of the agent contract with Boras was delivered, there were already reports predicting Lee Jung-hoo’s destination.
On the 26th, ‘Sports Kidda’, an American media, picked the Dodgers as the leading destination, saying, “All major league experts and fans believe that Lee Jung-hoo will be a valuable asset to the major league team.” The media explained, 스포츠토토 “There is a history of recruiting Ryu Hyun-jin, one of the best pitchers in the league,” and “Lee Jung-hoo can be of great help to the Dodgers as he has a strong Korean fan base.” In addition, the New York Yankees and Boston were also mentioned as teams that would show interest in Lee Jung-hoo.
Go Woo-seok, who has excellent fastballs exceeding 150 km/h, is more desperate. This is because he made a mistake that provided an excuse for defeat in the semifinal match against Japan at the Tokyo Olympics last year, and suffered the pain of becoming a losing pitcher by being hit at the right time in the final. Go Woo-seok said, “I have been working hard with the thought that I should improve for two more years with the game that day as an opportunity.”