“It was much more fun than what I did in the US.”
Kwon Kwang-min (26), a Hanwha outfielder, moved to the United States after signing a contract with the Chicago Cubs for $1.2 million in August 2015, when he was in Jangchung High School. He drew attention as a 5-tool player and dreamed of becoming a major leaguer in the future, but all he experienced was the rookie league and the low single A level for three years from 2016 to 2018.
After being released before the 2019 season, he returned to Korea and served in the military as an active soldier. He finally debuted in the KBO League last year after being nominated by Hanwha with the 41st overall pick in the 2nd 5th round.
Last year, he played 32 games for the first team and had a batting average of 2.2 5 Lee (16 hits in 71 bats) and 8 RBIs, but added 13 walks and showed potential with an on-base percentage of 3.4 5 Lee. In the 2nd Division Futures League, he played an active role with a batting average of 2.89 li (52 hits in 180 bats), 5 homers, 40 RBIs, and an OPS of .840 in 51 games, helping the team win the Northern League.
Kwon Kwang-min, who looked back on his first season in the KBO League, said, “It was a lot more fun than I did in the US. The atmosphere or environment was like that. He had fun playing baseball every game. Even when he fell into a slump, he was quick to recover,” he said. “The cheering atmosphere of the fans is different. It also created tension, and he was able to focus more on the game.”
He also debuted in the 1st team. He left a good impression by playing in the first team for two months from the end of May. Hanwha coach Carlos Subero, who values on-base ability, especially praised the scene where he got a push-off walk without being fooled by Seo Jin-yong’s forkball in the ninth inning of the Munhak SSG game on June 12 with two outs and bases loaded. Kwang-min Kwon said, “I had a desire to be a top-notch bullpen pitcher in Korea, but I was a pitcher with a good forkball, so I didn’t want to swing if the ball didn’t come to the zone I wanted. He didn’t care about the long hit after he went up to the first team. He recalled that if he was greedy for long hits, his swing could grow, so he focused more on contact and on-base.”
Since the end of last year, he has been playing for a month as a member of Geelong Korea in Australia, adding to his practical experience. In 13 games he played well with a batting average of 3.4 (14-for-46), 1 home run, 8 RBIs, and a .435 slugging percentage. In particular, it was impressive that he pushed a two-run home run in the first inning against Tuatara in Auckland on the 15th of last month and passed it to the left center wall. 스포츠토토
Kwon Kwang-min said, “I went to Australia for the second time (2018-2019 season), and the level of pitchers has improved. It was a good experience in catching his hitting feeling. He also learned how to push from coach Lee Byeong-gyu,” he explained. “During individual training during the winter, I was able to test what I had prepared to hit more long hits than last year in Australia.”
The Futures Camp in Kochi, Japan, which started on the 8th, also focuses on this part. Hanwha has yet to find a spot in the outfield with FA Chae Eun-seong and foreign player Brian O’Grady. It is not a first-team camp, but prepares for competition at Futures Camp. Kwon Kwang-min, who appealed, saying, “The outfield defense can move actively in any position,” said, “I will prepare well in my own way and catch a good opportunity when it comes. I had two or three minor injuries last year, but this year I want to play as many times as possible without getting hurt. I want to hit a home run in a better shape than last year in the first team.”