KIA Tigers will send a team to the Canberra Cavalry of the ABL, the Australian professional baseball league.주소
KIA plans to send a total of five players to the Canberra Cavaliers, including pitchers Do-gyu Kwak, Ki-hoon Kim, Hyun-soo Kim, Won-bin Hong, and infielder Min Park.
As Geelong Korea’s dispatch to the ABL fell through this year, the club looked for alternatives, and in September, general manager Shim Jae-hak met directly with Canberra Cavalry owner and agreed to send a team.
General Manager Shim Jae-hak said, “We decided on this dispatch to provide real-life opportunities to players who need real-world experience due to military service and players who lack first-team stage experience,” adding, “Our players will lead the way in improving their skills against high-quality foreign players.” “I look forward to it,” he said.
Kim Ki-hoon is a promising left-hander who was selected in the first round of 2019. Post-Hyeonjong Yang is the next ace who was highly anticipated. However, due to ups and downs in command, he was unable to secure a clear position in the first team, and was discharged last year after first resolving military issues in Sangmu. He had 2 wins, 31⅓ innings, and an ERA of 4.60 in 29 games this year. He must have been stimulated by juniors such as Lee Ui-ri and Yoon Young-cheol, who have established themselves as key starters. It appears that the will to grow to the next level through ABL experience is strong.
Kwak Do-gyu is a rookie left-handed pitcher who joined KIA in the 5th round of the 2023 rookie draft. This year, he appeared in 14 first-team games, pitched 11⅔ innings, and recorded an ERA of 8.49.
Kim Hyun-soo joined the Lotte Giants in the second and third rounds of the 2019 rookie draft, and came to KIA as a compensation player for Ahn Chi-hong, who transferred to Lotte as a free agent ahead of the 2020 season. Contrary to his expectations, Kim Hyun-soo performed poorly at KIA with 33 games (12 starting games), 2 wins, 6 losses, 80 innings, and an ERA of 7.54, and has been serving military service in Sangmu since last year. As soon as he is discharged from the military, he goes to Australia to gain practical experience.
Hong Won-bin was a promising right-hander who graduated from Deoksu High School and joined in the second first round of the 2019 rookie draft. However, he has yet to get a single chance in the first team. His advantage is that he is 194cm tall and can throw a fastball exceeding 150km per hour, but his control problems have been holding him back. In this year’s Futures League, he only had 5 losses in 11 games, 20 innings, and an ERA of 13.05. It is a time when a turning point is needed.
Park Min was the only fielder who got a chance. Park Min is a promising infielder who joined in the second first round of the 2020 rookie draft and played as shortstop and third baseman. His first year as a professional was disappointing as he suffered a fractured nose. Although he was a player with a strong bat, he played only 30 first-team games, had a batting average of 0.158 (6 hits in 38 at-bats), and had only 3 RBIs. He eventually chose to join the Sangmu military service last year, and this year in the Futures League, he raised expectations by recording a batting average of 0.305 (43 hits in 141 at-bats), an on-base percentage of 0.391, and 23 RBIs in 48 games. As he is a player who must establish himself as a key player in the KIA infield along with Park Chan-ho, Kim Do-young, etc., he is looking forward to improving his skills in Australia.
In the future, the club plans to continue exploring various ways to develop players, such as sending players to the ABL.
Meanwhile, the team is scheduled to play from the ABL opening game on November 17, and will return after playing a total of 40 games until the season ends on January 21 next year.