The 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team is about to change generations. In the meantime, Kang Min-ho (38, Samsung) and Yang Eui-ji (36, Doosan) have been revealed in the living room.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) and the Korea Baseball Softball Association (KBSA) confirmed 198 players on the preliminary list for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games on the 28th.
What stands out about the selection of the national team this time is the age and annual age restrictions. Players under the age of 25 or under the age of 4 years are the main players in this tournament. There are only three wild cards (up to one per club) with no age-year limit.
Wild card candidates also excluded veteran players as much as possible. Players born in 1994, such as Choi Won-jun (Doosan), Choi Hang (SSG), and Kim In-hwan (Hanwha), were the oldest. Among the total of 198 people, only Ahn Kwon-soo (30, Lotte), who joined the KBO in 2020, was the only one in his 30s.
Posujin was the same. 29-year-old players such as Han Seung-taek (KIA), Kim Jun-tae (KT), and Jang Seung-hyun (Doosan) were the oldest, and Ahn Jung-yeol (28, NC) and Ju Hyo-sang (26, KIA) were also in their 20s. Other than that, a large number of young players such as Jung Bo-geun (24, Lotte), Kang Hyeon-woo (22, KT), and Cho Hyeong-woo (21, SSG) were deployed. Even this year’s high school graduate rookie Kim Dong-heon (19, Kiwoom) was included.
As a result, it was possible to build catchers only with combinations that had no experience in international competitions. Currently, out of 19 professional catcher candidates, only Han Seung-taek and Jang Seung-hyun competed in the 2017 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC), but this tournament also had restrictions such as those under the age of 24 or who had been in the 3rd year as a pro. Virtually no players participated in the first-team competition.
Regardless of the combination, it has been confirmed that this Asian Games will be a tournament in which neither Kang Min-ho nor Yang Eui-ji appeared in 17 years. At the 2006 Doha Asian Games, Kang Min-ho wore the Taegeuk mark at the age of 21, and the two players steadily joined the national team.
Kang Min-ho served as a backup catcher for veterans Jin Gap-yong (49) and Park Gyeong-wan (51) in large tournaments such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2009 World Baseball Classic (WBC). Since then, from the 2013 WBC, he occupied the starting position. Following him, Yang Eui-ji entered the national team for the first time at the 2015 WBSC Premier 12 and has been playing steadily. He also kept his home in various competitions, including once each at the Olympics and Asian Games, and twice at the WBC.크크크벳
While the two players who inherited the lineage of KBO catchers wore catcher masks, it was not easy to change the home generation. Since the 2010s, catchers in their twenties have been selected in international competitions (Olympics, Asian Games, WBC, Premier 12): Lee Jae-won (26 years old) of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, Kim Tae-gun (28 years old) of the 2017 WBC, and Park Se-hyeok (2019 Premier 12) 29) There were only three. And it all ended in one-shots. In this WBC, even Lee Ji-young (37, Kiwoom), a year older than Yang Eui-ji, joined the national team.
The catcher position is not easy to develop. For this reason, catchers who have established themselves to some extent can be recruited only by paying a high price in the free agent (FA) market. Making a catcher for the national team is not an easy task. This is because the entire pitching staff can be shaken if they show anxiety in the homeroom.
However, Kang Min-ho and Yang Eui-ji cannot play forever. It is necessary to find a new catcher even for future international competitions. And finding hope in this competition can make the next 10 years easier.