KIA Tigers’ first round left-hander Choi Ji-min (20) is looking forward to the 2023 season more than anyone else. He is sweating in the United States, anticipating whether his winter performance in Australia will work in the KBO league.
Choi Ji-min came out of Gangneung High School and entered the pros in the 2022 rookie draft with the 5th place in the 2nd 1st round of the KIA. At the time of the draft, it did not receive relatively much attention because it was overshadowed by Kim Do-young, the ‘second Lee Jong-beom’, who was nominated for the first time, but received a down payment of 150 million won under the evaluation of immediate power, and headed to the 1st team spring camp. I prepared for my debut season with my seniors.
His pro wall was high. He went through trial and error with an average ERA of 7.11, 1 win and 1 save in 6 games in the exhibition game, but did not live up to expectations in the regular season with an ERA of 13.50 without a win or loss in 6 games. Choi Ji-min promised the next season, leaving an average ERA of 7.04 with 1 win, 5 losses and 6 holds in 35 matches in the Futures League. 메이저놀이터
Choi Ji-min made the dispatch to Geelong Korea of the Australian professional baseball a turning point. He played as a reliable left-handed man in unfamiliar Australian soil, recording 1.47 earned run average with 2 saves and 3 holds in 17 games. The Australian professional baseball is evaluated as one lower than the KBO league in terms of objective power, but Choi Ji-min showed off his ability to manage crises in urgent situations and upgraded his skills and courage at the same time.
Choi Ji-min, whom we met on the 22nd (hereafter Korean time) at Tucson Spring Camp, Arizona, USA, said, “I made a lot of my own things after going to Australia. I am practicing it intensively at this camp,” he said. “I wonder if I can throw well here as I did in Australia. If I do it as it is, I think there will be good results.”
The biggest gain of studying in Australia is experience. Choi Ji-min said, “Honestly, I didn’t know anything last season and I didn’t experience many situations, but I learned how to deal with batters while playing in important situations in Australia. “Australia has a wider strike zone than Korea. As batters actively came out, it was effective to take the ball count to their advantage.”
Choi Ji-min is trying to add one more sure decision ball to that experience. He said, “I want to play a game with confidence against batters by making a clear breakaway ball.” I will definitely decide on one at this camp,” he said.
Choi Ji-min, who definitely gained confidence, said, “Compared to last year, I still have high expectations. As much as I couldn’t do last year, I have a great desire to show more this year.” I will do my best to throw this season regardless of my position,” he dreamed of an emergency for the second year season.