“I’m sorry to the fans and the club who looked forward to my 8 years at LG… As a rookie again.”

Kim Ki-yeon (26), a fresh catcher with the Doosan Bears, left his last greeting to the LG Twins, who are now his former team. Kim Ki-yeon was selected by Doosan in the first round in the second KBO draft, which was held behind closed doors on the 22nd. Doosan moved with the clear goal of selecting a catcher in this second draft, and selected Kim Ki-yeon, the highest-rated catcher among the 10 teams. Doosan will pay LG a first-round transfer of 400 million won.

Kim Ki-yeon visited Jamsil Baseball Stadium on Saturday and greeted the players for the first time. Kim used the stadium as his home ground when he was playing for the LG Twins, but he still felt awkward going to the Doosan locker room on the other side. Kim looked awkward even when he stood in front of reporters wearing a navy jacket from Doosan.

Kim Ki-yeon laughed, saying, “It didn’t feel real until yesterday (24th), but today I went into the locker room to say hello, and now that I’m wearing a Doosan jumper, it feels a little real.”

Kim Ki-yeon, who was trained in the reserve forces of the second draft party, heard the news of the transfer a little later. He said, “I was really surprised. I was training in the reserve forces and suddenly I got a call. I couldn’t see him because I was training, but I was surprised and grateful that he contacted me. I thought I should show a lot of things that I do well in Doosan,” he said calmly. 안전놀이터

Kim Ki-yeon graduated from Gwangju Jinheung High School and joined the team as the 34th player in the fourth round of the second rookie draft in 2016. He was once a promising contender to raise the team as the No. 2 catcher, but his growth rate was slower than expected. While playing for LG for eight years until this year, he played in only 42 games in the first division. With a batting average of 0.140 (six hits in 43 times at bat) and three RBIs, he failed to achieve remarkable results.

LG Twins was deeply sorry to leave the team. “I have been here for eight years, but I did not do as well as you expected. That’s why I think I came out in the second draft,” Kim Ki-yeon said. “I received an opportunity early this year, but I failed to make the most of it. I feel sorry for the fans and the club who have been looking forward to me so far.”

That’s why I want to rebound more from Doosan. “Since I came to Doosan, I have to do well here. I feel like I went back to how I felt when I was a rookie. It’s my first time moving to a different team. It’s similar to how I felt when I first joined LG.”

In preparation for the next season, Doosan raised its voice, saying, “Now we need to cultivate a starting catcher who will succeed Yang Eui-ji (36), the master of the home turf. We need a new face to instill tension in the existing catchers including Jang Seung-hyun (29), Ahn Seung-han (31), Park Yoo-yeon (25), Park Sung-jae (21), and Yoon Joon-ho (23), and changed the structure of the competition by recruiting Kim Ki-yeon in the second draft. Kim Ki-yeon, who is at the center of the competition, first made the list of spring camps for professional league players to be held in Australia in February next year.

“At the end of this season, catcher is zero base except (Yang) will,” Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop said. Based on how much he prepares for the season in December and January and how much he appeals when he goes to the camp, I think catcher No. 2 will be decided. I think Jang Seung-hyun, Ahn Seung-han, Kim Ki-yeon, Yoon Joon-ho, and Park Yeon-yu should compete. I will make a decision after consulting with the battery coach’s hawk eye,” he said, vowing to make efforts to foster backup catchers.

As Kim Ki-yeon was nominated by Doosan in the first round, he is required to register in the KBO League in the 2024 or 2025 season. The first round lasts more than 50 days. If Kim fails to meet the criteria within two years after the nomination, he will return to his original team after the end of the second season or be declared as a free agent.

“Coming to the first round, I have a 50-day guarantee, which is a good thing for me as well. However, there is no guarantee that I will be in the main league all year round just because I have a mandatory registration date. I will show more of myself within the given period,” Kim said.

“I didn’t show much capability as a catcher this season. I made a lot of mistakes. I think a catcher should be good at blocking and catching other things besides his shoulder and operational capabilities. Still, he has strong offense capability. He still lacks skills, but he seems to expect his slugging capability. I think I will show good performance if I learn more from him and adjust myself,” he added.

As his trip to Australia has been confirmed, the winter season he will spend alone until January has become all the more important. “I think I need to increase my power and speed from the off-season, so I plan to attend a training center and exercise,” Kim said. “I have to talk to the players a lot and get into the team quickly, so I will come to the baseball stadium often. I will repeat what I have originally done, and I will ask him and make sure that I have my own bat because there are many good coaches.”

I look forward to learning from Yang Eui-ji, a senior in high school and the best catcher in the league. “Kim Ki-yeon is a junior in high school. I came here to greet her since I was with LG and I knew her well. Isn’t that a delay in school ties?” Yang said jokingly, “I will help Kim quickly adjust to the team.”

“I learned a lot from (Park) Dong-won when I was in LG, and I was thankful that he took good care of me. Yang Eui-ji is special because he is a senior at school. I want to learn a lot and make it my own. As a catcher, I need to learn everything about running games, but I also want to ask about mixing balls. As he is also the best hitter as a catcher, I want to learn a lot about hitting the bat,” Kim said.

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