There were many evaluations that the best sidearm composition among the candidates for the 2023 rookie draft was the two-way battle between Daegu High School Kim Jeong-woon (kt) and Raon High School Park Myeong-geun (LG). Initially, it was the opinion that both players were expected to be nominated in the first round or at the latest in the second round. In fact, Kim Jeong-woon was nominated by kt in the 10th overall in the first round.
However, Park Myung-geun’s name did not come out even after the middle of the second round. At the time of the rookie draft, there is a story that quite a few clubs were confused about it.
Although Park Myeong-geun is a sidearm player, he can throw a fast ball with a maximum speed of 150km per hour, and his pitches are perfect and his commands are quite good. On top of that, it also had fast quick motion, which is the highest level at the pro level beyond the high school level. Being able to keep runners in check was the greatest advantage for a team that had plans to use it as a bullpen.
According to ‘Trackman’스포츠토토, which provides tracking data to 9 KBO league teams (based on the National High School Baseball Championship held at Mokdong Stadium in 2022), Park Myung-geun has an average fastball of 143.8 km and a high school top-class speed of about 2463 revolutions per minute (RPM). ) was recorded. The RPM was at a level that was high enough for a pro. It wasn’t even that his grades in high school were bad. However, in the first and second rounds, no team called Park Myung-geun. Many scout officials who remember the time say that it was because of the ‘physique’.
According to his profile, Park Myung-geun’s height is 174 cm. He may be bigger in the future, but he’s far below the average player these days. Although it is a little different depending on the propensity of scouts and clubs, there are quite a few people who feel the burden of being ‘undersized’. The logic is that if the bowl is small, there is not much to fill. In fact, there are quite a few examples of players with small physiques who have stagnated in the skills they showed in high school.
The irony is that most of the 10 clubs expected that ‘any team will nominate Park Myung-keun in the second round’. We thought that even if it was burdensome to draw in the 2nd round, someone would have a different opinion, so it would not come over until the 3rd and 4th rounds. Same with LG. At the time, Kim Yong-yong, who was well aware of the nomination circumstances as an LG scout, said, “Park Myung-geun remained until the third round, and he had no choice but to make the nomination.” He said that he was a talented person who was a waste of procrastination, whether he was undersized or not.
Commissioner Kim recalled, “Park Myung-geun threw up to 150km at the beginning of last season. However, as the summer passed and the speed fell to the early 140km range, there was a lot of talk (among scouts) about his physical condition.” It was a concern that the small body could eventually act as a limiting point. But he was a player with many strengths. LG, who had a total of 27 rounds in the third round, could not turn away any longer.
Commissioner Kim says that it was lucky for the team to be pushed to number 27 and embraced by LG. Commissioner Kim said, “The movement of the ball is very good and the quick motion is fast. Park Myung-geun’s quick motion is less than 1 second, but it is difficult to steal. It is a very big advantage that the middle pitcher has the ability to stop stealing.” I thought I could block one inning if I went out,” he explained the atmosphere of LG at the time of nomination.
Such Park Myeong-geun became a member of the LG mound, which is said to be the best in the league, sooner than expected with the interest of LG coach Yeom Gyeong-yeop. From the opening of the season, he started to step out at an important moment that might seem reckless. On the 11th, when there was a vacancy in the starting lineup due to Lee Min-ho’s injury, he went out as a starter and pitched 3 innings in the match against Sajik Lotte. Although he seems to be putting too much pressure on a rookie, coach Yeom is confident. He is confident that if he adapts well this year, he can be used as a starter next year.
On the 14th, against Doosan in Jamsil (13-4 LG won), he blocked one inning with no runs. This process left a strong impression. On the mound in the 6th inning, Kim Jae-hwan struck out, Yang Eui-ji struck out shortstop grounder, and Lohas struck out, receiving warm applause from LG fans in Jamsil. Kim Jae-hwan and Yang Eui-ji, the league’s top hitter, and even a foreign hitter received an outcount with bold and fierce pitching. Doosan’s last pursuit match was also wiped clean in front of Park Myung-geun.
The maximum velocity of the fastball reached 149 km. The 149km was also the so-called ‘snake fastball’ with tremendous movements that could be clearly seen with the naked eye. The ball seemed to go into the body of a left-handed hitter, but at the last moment it bent into the strike zone and hit the full course. It was confirmed that he was able to throw the ball with restraint and pitch, and he also had guts. With LG’s luck, it may be able to release another snake in Jamsil following Jung Woo-young.