The baseball team, which is challenging to advance to the semifinals at the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), set its first goal to win against Australia, the first game of the first round of the finals.
The national team judges that it will be difficult to pass the first round of the finals if it loses the match against Australia, and is putting all its capabilities into the match against Australia.
Korea even organized a player list in line with the Australian game. National team coach Lee Kang-cheol announced the final list of the WBC national team on the 4th and said, “Australia has a lot of right-handed pitchers, so we selected a lot of left-handed hitters.”
Coach Lee plans to leave for Australia on the 5th and personally inspect the players playing in the Australian Professional Baseball (ABL).
Korea is practically betting everything against Australia.
The baseball team belongs to Group B in the first round of the WBC finals. It is the same group as Japan, Australia, Czech Republic and China.
The Czech Republic and China lag far behind. Fateful rival, Japan, formed a national team with world-class players such as Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) and Yu Darvish (San Diego Padres).
In terms of objective strength, Japan is considered the candidate for first place in Group B, while Korea and Australia are expected to compete for second place.
Coach Lee Kang-cheol and the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) technical committee analyzed the situation coolly.
He decided that he had to focus on the match against Australia rather than Japan to advance to the quarterfinals.
The 1st and 2nd placed teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals. If Korea loses against Australia and loses against Japan, the chances of advancing to the first round of the finals will be very slim.
In terms of power, Korea is evaluated to be ahead of Australia.
Australia has never advanced past the first round in the WBC finals. The record in the past 4 tournaments is 2 wins and 10 losses.
However, carelessness is prohibited. Australia has been competitive enough to step on the stage of the WBC finals steadily, and has produced many top-class players familiar to Korean baseball fans.
Liam Hendricks (Chicago White Sox), a right-handed pitcher who participated in the American Professional Baseball Major League (MLB) All-Star Game three times, is a representative Australian big leaguer.
Chris Oxspring and Warwick Saupold, who played in the KBO League in the past, are also Australian players.
The face of the Australian national team has not been revealed, but Australia is also expected to pour all of its power into the Korean match.
Korea has already had the experience of being held back by the dark horse team.
At the 2017 WBC, he was eliminated in the first round, losing 1-2 to Israel and 0-5 to the Netherlands.
The national team is wary of Australia so as not to repeat the pain of six years ago.
Coincidentally, Korea’s first match in the first round of the finals was Australia. South Korea will face Australia at noon on March 9 at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.
They will also play against Japan on the 10th, against the Czech Republic on the 12th, and against China on the 13th. If we win against Australia, we can play the rest of the game without any burden.
Korea focused on the match against Australia from the player selection process.
The national team included many pitchers who are good at throwing forkballs, such as Lee Yong-chan (NC Dinos) and Park Se-woong (Lotte Giants), in their roster.
Non-Asian players feel unfamiliar with breaking balls such as forkballs.
Coach Lee Kang-cheol explained, “I thought that a large angle change ball, such as a forkball, would be effective against Australia.”
Lotte starter Kim Won-joong and LG Twins left-handed pitcher Kim Yun-sik were selected in the same context. Both players throw sharp drops and big curveballs against right-handed hitters.
Most of those who have a good command of the breaking ball are good at inducing ground balls.
In Australia, there are many players with long hitting power, so ground ball induction pitchers are more suitable than fly ball induction pitchers. 메이저놀이터
Coach Lee Kang-cheol said, “I discussed a lot with the power analysis team,” and said, “I will use pitchers evenly without clinging to positions such as starting, middle, and finishing.”
The fielders of the national team were also selected in line with the game against Australia.
Korea has 8 left-handed hitters, 6 right-handed hitters, and 1 switch hitter (Tommy Hyun-soo Edmon) among 15 fielders. Relatively high percentage of left-handed hitters. In particular, 4 out of 5 outfielders are left-handed hitters.
It is a composition aimed at the game against Australia. Coach Lee Kang-cheol said, “Australia’s starting pitchers don’t have many lefties,” and “I thought it would be okay against Australia.”
KBO has set up a large-scale Australian power analysis team.
Head coach Lee Kang-cheol, battery coach Jin Gap-yong, pitching coach Jeong Hyeon-wook, quality control coach Shim Jae-hak, and power analyst Kim Joon-gi will leave for Australia on the afternoon of the 5th.
They plan to return home on the 9th after closely checking the skills of the Australian players until the 8th.
Afterwards, Samsung Lions manager Heo Sam-young, member of the power analysis committee, and others visit Australia to conduct a detailed analysis again.