“KBO Unnamed → Joined ML” twist drama, what happened for the past two years

He applied for the KBO League draft, but none of the 10 teams called his name. He shed tears due to unknown pain, but he couldn’t stay put. He made a plan to go to college and try to become a professional again. Then, by chance, he saw an announcement about the recruitment of baseball players at a university in the U.S., and boarded a plane bound for the U.S. He practiced harder than anyone else in a strange place where even his language was not spoken, and eventually achieved the feat of being drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 2023 draft.

Choi Byung-yong (22), who has such a unique history, gritted his teeth and said, “I will make the American dream come true.” Choi recently met with Spotify News somewhere in Seoul and said, “I didn’t get drafted in the Major League before because I went to the U.S. to study baseball there. I think I have carved out a new path. If I succeed, I think there will be another way to advance to the Major League.” He was satisfied with the achievements he made. 토토사이트 추천

Choi was a graduate of Shinil High School. During his high school years, he played mostly as a third baseman. This was due to the coaching staff’s judgment that corner infielders were more suitable than shortstop because he was 190 centimeters tall. Moreover, Choi was appointed as a third baseman by the Kiwoom Heroes as they had Kim Hui-jip, who was drafted in the first round in 2022. He did not receive much attention during his high school years, and none of the teams sought Choi. Still, he could not afford to let go of baseball. By chance, he got into a baseball study program in the U.S. and went to New Mexico Military Institute, a two-year college with full scholarship.

Choi said, “I agonized over studying in the U.S. and two-year college in Korea. In fact, going to the U.S. is also a big cost issue. However, I was able to make up my mind because I received a full scholarship. Also, I couldn’t play shortstop in Korea because I was tall, but I don’t think so. Corey Seager, my role model, is 190 centimeters tall just like me. I also have high expectations that I will be able to play shortstop again, so I decided to move to the U.S.”

Studying and working out at the same time was not easy. However, Choi had no choice. As a child, I wanted to go back to Korea, but I made up my mind while watching the Major League games. I trained harder than anyone else at the training ground. My skills improved a lot, and I started to gain the attention of scouts from major league teams. The San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles, and Oakland Athletics showed interest in Choi.

“I studied English hard before going to the U.S. Still, I couldn’t hear anything at first. It was frustrating because I couldn’t even communicate. The food was too salty. I wanted to go back to Korea in just three days after I went to the U.S. But everyone has adjusted to it,” Choi said, recalling the difficult times. “Still, I learned a lot. Especially in defense. I learned staff suitable for tall shortstop. The way to play glove was different. As my performance gradually improved, many teams paid attention to me,” he said in pride.

Just two years after moving to the U.S., he received offers from major league teams and four-year colleges. His performance was as good as that. In his second year of the competition, Choi hit 15 home runs and posted a batting average of 0.448 OPS (on-base plus slugging) of 1.429. “Four-year colleges have very high quality. There are also many pitchers who throw 95 miles (152 kilometers) fast balls. When the offer was from a four-year college, he was offered to participate in the draft by a Major League club. “After consulting with the school’s coach, I decided to participate in the draft.”

As a result, Choi was drafted 611th in the 20th round of the 2023 draft by the San Diego Padres. I was nervous because my name was not mentioned throughout the draft, but the moment I was drafted by the San Diego Padres, I felt like I was compensating for my hard work. He still feels awkward playing in a uniform with the San Diego logo on it.

Choi said, “I knew right before the draft that San Diego and Baltimore were interested. But San Diego selected an infielder in the upper round. I expected to be selected in the lower round. I waited a long time and San Diego nominated me. It is true that it was a shame that it was the 20th round, but I still can’t believe that I was selected in the Major League draft. San Diego is engraved on my uniform or training clothes. Every time I see it, I feel good. It is such an honor.”

The San Diego Padres placed high marks on Choi’s batting ability when he was drafted. Choi participated in a try-out right before the draft, and displayed good performance during live batting. However, the professional stage was quite different. Even in the rookie league, Choi had a hard time targeting the players as he had many quality players. “I liked the movement of the ball. The record was set with a fastball, but when viewed at bat, the ball bent like a two-seam. I had to hit it right on the tip of the bat. I have to keep watching the ball and adjust,” he said.

Choi’s goal is, of course, to call up a big league. It is a dream that cannot be achieved right away, but he is committed to reaching his goal without losing pace. Advice from senior players such as Choi Ji-man and Bae Ji-hwan, who previously played in the minor league, also helped set goals.

Choi said, “The U.S. has to go through Rookie League, Low A, High A, Double A, and Triple A to reach the Major League. I try to go up one notch a year. Choi Ji-man and Bae Ji-hwan also said, “I hope they have the idea of breaking the quest.” I am looking at the call-up of Major League players as early as five years. If I have the fun of moving to the top leagues every year, I think I will be able to go to the Major League someday.”

Choi has chosen a path that no one has taken so far. If Choi succeeds, it will pave a new way for him to advance to the U.S. “It is natural that I have to do well because I got a good opportunity. I recommend other players if they try the same challenge as me. However, I need to keep my mind firm. I will do my best to set a good example for my juniors,” he said.

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