The away dugout at the Goyang National Baseball Training Center on May 5. A familiar face was cooling off in front of a mobile air conditioner. It was Kim Seo-hyun (19), an exceptional rookie for the Korean baseball organization Hanwha.
Selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 KBO Draft, Kim is a key pitching resource who will lead Hanwha’s mound alongside Moon Dong-ju, a year his senior. Possessing a fastball in excess of 150 kilometers per hour since his days at Seoul High, Kim has carried his strong stuff into the pros and served as the team’s primary bullpen arm early in his rookie season.
After making five appearances in the opening month to get acclimated to the first-team mound, Kim went on to make nine appearances in May, posting a 3.00 ERA and earning his first professional save.
However, his pitches faltered in the second half of May and he was unable to find his groove in June, and he was dropped from the first team roster for the last time on March 7 against Doosan.
When we caught up with Kim Seo-hyun on that day, he still had some regrets about his pitching. He took the mound as the team’s second pitcher in the bottom of the seventh inning with Hanwha leading 3-1 and was replaced by Kim Bum-soo after giving up a hit to Doosan’s Park Kye-beom and a walk to Lee Yoo-chan.
The crisis that started with Kim’s poor command of his pitches eventually led to four runs, and Hanwha suffered a 3-6 loss. “I still feel bad about accumulating runners even after coming to the second team,” he said.
To avoid repeating the same mistakes, Kim has been working on refining his pitches in the second team. “I try to throw mainly fastballs, and after two strikes, I try to compete with fastballs such as sliders and changeups,” he explained.
He also tried to find the best arm angle for his pitches. “He’s a pitcher who thinks a lot,” said Hanwha Futures manager Kim Sung-gap. If she throws the ball with her arm raised and then lowered, it means she’s interested in baseball,” he said. “We’re trying to get her to throw the way she thinks and then communicate with her when she has problems.”
Kim Seo-hyun, who vowed to become the best closer at the beginning of the season, is currently receiving “selection lessons” in the second team. He made his first start against Lotte in the Futures League on March 15, giving up two runs (one earned) in two innings, and is still working his way into the starting role. Kim Seo-hyun made his first start against Goyang (Kiwoom) on June 6, allowing one run on five hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings.
Kim didn’t seem impatient to return to the first team. However, he was nostalgic for the fans’ cheers, which he cited as one of the reasons why his velocity wasn’t as high as it was in the first team.
“I’m creating my own routine one by one, starting with warming up,” Kim said, adding, “I’m going to put the closing position in the back of my mind and focus on starting practice so that I can make it to the first team and help the team 메이저놀이터순위.”