Moon Dong-joo + Kim Seo-hyun + Jang Hyun-seok…Hanwha to build 160km super express Young Gun trio? ‘Happy imagination’
Hanwha’s 160km Super Express Young Gun Trio?
While Shohei Ohtani (29, Los Angeles Angels) is in the midst of a drama in the Major Leagues, Jang Hyun-seok (19, Masan Yongmago) is in the midst of a drama in the KBO. Jang pitched 3 1/3 innings of one-hit ball, striking out six and walking one in relief against Gwangju Gwanghwamago in Game 2 of the 78th Cheongryonggi National High School Baseball Championship at Mokdong Stadium in Seoul on April 19.바카라
Jang Hyun-seok is an ultra-exceptional right-handed prospect who has been on the radar for a year or two. He is one year older than his peers. He’s in his junior year and has become a hot commodity with the 2024 KBO Draft just two months away. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and he has a slider and curveball that are considered high school-ready. He has already been selected for the Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team.
His official high school record this year is three wins in six games. In 20⅔ innings pitched, he gave up 4 runs on 35 hits, struck out 10, walked 1, and had a 0.43 ERA. While he doesn’t walk a ton of batters, it’s very rare for a high schooler to show this level of command and velocity.
For reference, as a sophomore in 2022, Jang went 3-3 with a 2.54 ERA in 12 games, 39 1/3 innings, 22 hits, 26 walks, and 50 strikeouts. He was a bit better this year than last. With the Masan Yongmago advancing to the round of 16, we could see another great pitching performance from Jang Hyun-seok against the Bibongo on April 21.
Jang has already received a lot of attention from major league officials. His selection could be a game-changer for the 2024 KBO Draft. The top picks are already running simulations of what happens if Jang goes to the major leagues and what happens if he declares for the draft.
The moment Jang Hyun-seok submits his rookie draft application to the KBO, Hanwha is a lock. Hanwha also has the first overall pick in the 2024 rookie draft. In that case, Hanwha would have a 160-kilometer super-special young gun trio of Moon Dong-ju (20), Kim Seo-hyun (19), and Jang Hyun-seok (19). Probability: 50%.
Moon has already established himself as a homegrown ace. Kim Seo-hyun has been getting pitching lessons in the second team since the middle of the first half, and could join the starting lineup in the second half. We could see Moon Dong-ju and Kim Seo-hyun together in the starting rotation as soon as later this month.
Fourth-round pick Han Seung-ju (22) is another right-handed prospect that Hanwha is keeping a close eye on. If Jang Hyun-seok declares for the rookie draft, Hanwha could have a starting rotation full of top prospects next year. The rebuild would be complete in the truest sense of the word. Jang will reportedly decide where to live after the tournament.
Of course, there are many variables in baseball. There is no guarantee that Moon Dong-ju and Kim Seo-hyun will be as good next year as they were this year, especially since Kim is still learning how to be a starting pitcher. Jang Hyun-seok also needs time to learn. But there’s a much higher expectation that all three will improve over time. In total, the trio is 58 years old and 160 kilometers. Hanwha fans could be in for a treat when they see this trio in action. Unless Jang Hyun-seok goes to the major leagues.