Genius shortstop, 39, enlists in the military as a first-round pick…Doosan Field Commander, 4.6 billion free agent compensation player to watch

Doosan searched for a successor to “genius shortstop” Kim Jae-ho (38) through the Icheon finalization camp. The team was expected to be weakened by the military enlistment of “first-round pick” Ahn Jae-seok (21), but Park Jun-young (26), who joined as a compensation player, showed off his improved skills and revealed the outlook for the shortstop position next season.

One of the challenges for Doosan to make a leap in the 2024 season is to find a starting shortstop. “Genius shortstop” Kim Jae-ho served as the fielding commander for a decade, but he will turn 39 next year, and Ahn Jae-seok, who was expected to be the post-Jae-ho, decided to join the active roster after batting .222 with six home runs and 36 RBIs in 222 games over three seasons.

While Kim’s extension is confirmed and he will play shortstop next year, a “starter Kim Jae-ho” scenario is not what Doosan is looking for. Like KT Wiz second baseman Park Kyung-soo, Kim Jae-ho needs to serve as a moral support on the bench and on the field, passing on his know-how to the younger players to brighten the team’s future.

Next year, then, is when the post-Jae-ho era really needs to begin, and coach Lee Seung-yeop has found a candidate to succeed the shortstop genius at the recently concluded Icheon camp. He is Park Jun-young, who joined Doosan as a compensation player.

Park was drafted by the NC Dinos in the first round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of Gyeonggi State University. At the time, he was a pitching prospect with a fastball in the mid-80s and showed promise with a 1-3 record and a 6.95 ERA in 32 games in his first year, but he underwent elbow surgery late in the season and decided to switch to hitting while serving in the military as a social worker.

Park picked up a bat in the 2020 season. Defensively, he had no problem playing shortstop, as he played both pitcher and shortstop in high school. However, he didn’t make much of an impact, batting just 2-for-7 with 109 hits, 12 home runs, 53 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases in 221 games before moving to Doosan. The 2022 season was no different, as he batted just 2-for-6 with four homers and 19 RBIs in 75 games. 헤라카지노

Park wore a Doosan uniform as compensation for Park Se-hyuk, who became a free agent last December and signed a four-year, 4.6 billion won contract with NC. He underwent surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder two months before his designation, and despite an eight-month rehabilitation, he made a quick recovery and finally made his Doosan debut in early July. His numbers for the year were just 2-for-8 with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 51 games, but he briefly flirted with the idea of being a compensation player when he went 3-for-3 in the month of July.

Manager Lee Seung-yeop said, “Park Jun-young stood out in the hitting department. He improved a lot. He is a very strong player, but through the final camp, his practice attitude, efforts, and qualities exceeded my expectations. I’m definitely looking forward to next year.” He predicted Park Jun-young as the next Kim Jae-ho.

Joining Park in the shortstop competition is Park Ji-hoon, 23, who was drafted by Doosan with the 49th overall pick in the second round of the 2020 KBO Draft. Lee said of Park, who is batting 2-for-1 with two RBIs in 22 games this year, “Park is the same way. He can play third base when (Heo) Kyung-min is struggling, and he can also play first base and shortstop. If he is good enough, he can be a starter,” he said.

Park Jun-young, who has more experience than Park Ji-hoon, has gained the upper hand in the shortstop competition through the final camp. “At this point, I’m more inclined toward Park Jun-young,” Lee said.

With Ahn Jae-seok enlisted in the military, Doosan plans to hold shortstop auditions for Park and Park Ji-hoon, as well as Park Kye-beom, Lee Yoo-chan, Jeon Min-jae, and Kwon Min-seok, in spring training next year. The goal of the auditions is simple. With Kim Jae-ho’s retirement so imminent, the team needs to find a replacement.

Lee said, “Next year, we need to find a player who can take charge of every game with stability. “We have Kim Jae-ho, Park Joon-young, and Park Ji-hoon at shortstop, but the opportunity is open to anyone. The existing players should be on their toes,” he said, predicting a hellish second year of training.

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