Top rookie makes provisional natl. baseball team for inaugural tournament

By Yonhap
  • Published : Aug 28, 2017 - 16:40
  • Updated : Aug 28, 2017 - 16:40

The top rookie in South Korean baseball this year on Monday made the provisional national team for an inaugural offseason tournament.

The Korea Baseball Organization announced a 42-man roster for the Asia Professional Baseball Championship, which will take place from Nov. 16 to 19 in Tokyo. It will feature pros from South Korea, Japan and Chinese Taipei under 24 -- born on or after Jan. 1, 1993 -- or those with less than three years of professional experience. Teams are each allowed three players over the age or experience limit.

Lee Jung-hoo, hot-hitting rookie outfielder for the Nexen Heroes in the KBO League, was an obvious choice. Lee, who turned 19 on Aug. 20, is leading all first-year players with a .330 batting average and 22 doubles, and is the front-runner for the Rookie of the Year honors.

Sun Dong-yol (L), manager of the South Korean national baseball team, chairs a meeting with his coaching staff before assembling a 42-man provisional roster for the Asia Professional Baseball Championship at the Korea Baseball Organization headquarters in Seoul on Aug. 28, 2017. (Yonhap)

His father, former KBO legend Lee Jong-beom, will serve as a base running coach for the national team, managed by former MVP-winning pitcher Sun Dong-yol.

Joining the junior Lee is his Nexen Heroes teammate Kim Ha-seong, a 21-year-old shortstop in the midst of his best offensive year. He's batting a career-best .301, and has already surpassed his personal-high with 98 RBIs in 118 games. The fourth-year pro has matched his single-season high with 20 home runs with 23 games remaining.

Koo Ja-wook of the Samsung Lions, 24, is another potent bat on the team. The 2015 KBO Rookie of the Year is leading his club with a .313 batting average, and has already set career-highs with 19 home runs and 88 RBIs. He is a career .334 hitter.

On the mound, Lotte Giants' right-hander Park Se-woong got the call. The 21-year-old starter is 11-4 and is second in the KBO with a 3.06 ERA.

The deadline to submit the provisional roster is Thursday. The KBO has until Oct. 10 to finalize the roster, but may make injury replacements until Oct. 31. (Yonhap)