“I can study and play baseball at the same time.” In Korea, there are people who have tried to do things that seem like only a dream. Although they are currently unable to pursue their dreams due to the barriers of reality, they have come to fruition, albeit belatedly. LG’s fourth-round rookie Jin Woo-young is one of them.
Global Advancement School produced its first KBO draft pick. Although the program has no players scheduled to graduate next year, Jin Woo-young, who graduated in 2019, has earned the title of “Global Advancement School’s first professional draftee” by being selected by a KBO team through the minor leagues and independent leagues. His professional baseball career, which started in the minor leagues, has taken a major turn.
Global Advancement School’s baseball team made headlines when it appointed Choi Hyang-nam as its head coach. However, the team hasn’t been able to compete in the Gyeongsangbuk-do since 2020, due to a lack of registered players. Jin Woo-young is likely to be their first and last KBO draft pick.
Jin started playing baseball in the sixth grade, later than most players. He went to Bae Myung Middle School’s baseball team, but transferred to Global Advancement School’s middle school after just one semester of first grade. At such a young age, he wanted to play baseball but felt he needed a plan B in case he didn’t make it as a professional baseball player. At Global Advancement School, an alternative school with English classes, he developed his foreign language skills while pursuing his dream of becoming a baseball player.
By the time he graduated from high school, his record wasn’t stellar. He finished his senior year with a 7.16 ERA in 11 games and 49 innings pitched, but a Korean scout for the Kansas City Royals took a chance on his potential. In 2019, Jin went 6-2 with a 2.35 ERA in the Kansas City Rookie League.
At the time, FanGraphs.com noted his splitter, writing in a scouting report, “Watching his splitter slip through his fingers without rotation is astonishing. He’ll need to throw harder in the minors, but he’s young enough to make anything happen.”
But in 2020, the global pandemic changed his career. Minor leagues were canceled, leaving him with no way to stay in practice. He rejoined the Kansas City Rookie team in 2021, but after 18 games with a 5.46 ERA, he was released.
Just as he had been preparing for the transition from middle school to adulthood, he quickly prepared for the next step. After completing his military service, he joined the Paju Challengers and prepared for the 2024 rookie draft. At the KBO Dream Cup Independent Baseball Tournament in June, he started against the Yeoncheon Miracle and was named the tournament MVP after pitching five innings of two-run ball.
In the 2024 draft held on July 14, he achieved his goal. He was selected by LG in the fourth round. Jin Woo-young is the highest-ranked pitcher selected by LG in the draft.
On the night of the 14th, Jin Woo-young posted on social media, “I am honored to start a new beginning with the team I have dreamed of since I was a child, the LG Twins. I will work hard and grow as much as you have trusted me, and I will show you how I throw on the mound in Jamsil as soon as possible,” he wrote.
The LG scouting team said of Jin Woo-young, “He has excellent physical condition, good power and elasticity. He is a player who can immediately play a role as a power middle pitcher in the future because of his stable fastball and heavy delivery.”
Meanwhile, LG traded its first-round pick to the Kiwoom Heroes when it acquired Choi Won-tae ahead of this year’s draft. They made 10 selections in the second through 11th rounds, four of which were pitchers. Two outfielders, three infielders, and one catcher were selected. In the second round, the team’s highest pick, they selected Kim Hyun-jong, a right-handed outfielder from Incheon High School.
After the draft, LG’s head of scouting, Paik Baek-jin, said, “We focused on pitchers who have good physical conditions, who can provide immediate power or prepare for the future, and hitters with good speed. I think it’s a satisfactory draft result as we prepared.” 토토사이트
Second-rounder Kim Hyun-jong was born in 2004 and is 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds. In 18 games this year, he batted .412 with three home runs, 18 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. LG was excited about Kim’s hitting potential. The scouting team said of Kim, “He has a solid offensive game. He is a mid-to-long-range hitter, and his overall game is stable, including his range, ability to judge pitches, and reaction speed.”
The third round pick, right-handed infielder Son Yong-jun from Dongwon University of Science and Technology, was born in 2000 and is 178 centimeters tall and weighs 85 kilograms. He batted .448 with four home runs, 20 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases in 21 games in the college league this year. The club said, “An offensive infielder with good contact and power. He has a wide range on defense and is quick to judge pitches and get off to a good start.” Son also has a history of fulfilling his military service obligations through active duty.