Geelong disbanded → No trip to Australia, but only KIA is going? The background to the only KBO league team participating in the ABL

KIA Tigers is sending a player to the Australian Professional Baseball (ABL).메이저놀이터

KIA will send young prospects to Canberra Cavalry, a member of the ABL, for the 2023-2024 season, which begins on November 17 (Korean time).

In the meantime, Geelong Korea became the window for KBO league players to advance to the ABL. Geelong Korea, founded in 2018, participated in the ABL in the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons respectively. After being absent for two seasons due to COVID-19, he played 40 ABL games again in the 2022-2023 season.

Geelong Korea was a team that was an alliance of 10 clubs in the KBO League. In addition to the players selected by Geelong Korea itself, prospects from each of the 10 teams joined to form one team. Quite a few players who played in the US and Japan played in Geelong Korea uniforms in the ABL, enjoying the effect of an overseas educational league. KIA also had Choi Ji-min (20), Kim Seok-hwan (23), and Kim Gyu-seong (26) join Geelong Korea last season.

However, with Geelong Korea being withdrawn from the ABL starting this season, each team was faced with a situation where they had to find new ways to develop. Hanwha, Samsung, and Doosan chose to form a joint team and compete in the Japanese educational league, and some of the remaining teams also chose the educational league schedule organized by the KBO.

KIA has been working hard to participate in the ABL for a long time. Officials visited Australia, contacted Canberra, and even invited them to Gwangju. Through exchanges, it was agreed that players selected from KIA this season would join Canberra. The Yokohama DeNA BayStars, a member of the Japan Professional Baseball (NPB) Central League, are also known to be participating in this cooperation.

It’s not just about sending players to Australia.

KIA General Manager Shim Jae-hak said, “You can participate according to the conditions we provide, not only the number of games you participate in, but also the number of at-bats and innings,” adding, “Not only the players, but also coaches and dedicated trainers are with us.”

KIA is greatly strengthening training as it enters the leadership of Director Shim. The pitcher academy, which has been in progress at Hampyeong Challengers Field since last year, has developed into an all-round training program under the leadership of Futures coach Seung-rak Son (2nd team). He is putting effort into customized training by looking into and analyzing detailed indicators of pitching and batting. Choi Ji-min, who went through Hampyeong Academy and Geelong Korea last year, overcame concerns about ball control and settled into the first team full-time this year, winning a gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games.In addition to the players joining Canberra, KIA will engage in multi-faceted training and development in connection with the finishing camp for the remaining period. Until the end of this month, the teams will be divided into Gwangju and Hampyeong to conduct training and practice games. Players who will join the soon-to-be-announced APBC (Asian Professional Baseball Championship) national team roster will also train together and adjust their condition. During the finishing camp held in Okinawa, Japan next month, in addition to young players, players selected in the 2024 KBO rookie draft are expected to join and showcase their skills.

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