If you leave the keystone combination, it’s the best ‘. Players active in the big leagues take on an axis of the national team’s center line. Ha-seong Kim (San Diego Padres) and Tommy Edman (St. Louis Cardinals) are the main characters.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) unveiled the final list of 30 players to compete in the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) on the 4th. Some foreign players such as Rob Lefsnyder (Boston Red Sox) and Park Hyo-jun, who were named when the 50-person list of interest was announced in November of last year, were excluded, but Kim Ha-seong and Edmund were able to wear the Taegeuk mark without any problems.
In the 2017 WBC, the previous tournament, there was only one player Oh Seung-hwan (St. Louis at the time) who was active in the major leagues. On the other hand, at this tournament, as many as three foreign players joined, including first baseman Choi Ji-man (Pittsburgh Pirates), raising expectations.
Proven infielder Kim Ha-seong-Edman, the core power of the national team Ha-seong Kim,
who entered the major leagues in 2021, showed adaptability to the big leagues as time passed. In particular, before the opening of last season, Fernando Tatis Jr. left due to injury, and in August, he was suspended for 80 games for taking a banned substance. As there was a gap in the infield, Ha-seong Kim had to play as the starting pitcher.
Kim Ha-seong did not miss this opportunity. In two seasons, he achieved his first double-digit home run in his debut, and in defense, he showed stable defense every day and received applause from home fans. Even though he was not connected to the award, he spent a meaningful season as he was nominated for the National League Gold Glove shortstop category.
However, the fact that San Diego signed a long-term contract with infielder Xander Bogarts (11 years total of $280 million) this winter emerged as a variable. Considering that Bogatz has a lot of experience as a starting shortstop, it is inevitable that Ha-seong Kim will change his position. Recently, the possibility of a trade was even raised. This is why the results of this tournament are important not only for the national team but also for Kim Ha-seong.
The player who will work together with Kim Ha-seong as a keystone duo is Tommy Edman. According to the WBC rules, the national team can be selected according to the lineage of parents or grandparents regardless of nationality, but Edman, who is a Korean mother and an American father, wanted to be a member of ‘Team Korea’.
Edmon, who has been active in the big leagues since 2019, has a batting average of 0.269 (471 hits in 1748 bats), 40 homers, 175 RBIs, 79 stolen bases, and an OPS of 0.732 in 459 games. Last year, 13 homers, 32 stolen bases, and an OPS of 0.725 showed an increase in batting indicators compared to the previous two seasons.
In the meantime, the Korean baseball team was somewhat skeptical about selecting a Korean-American player in the composition of the WBC players. It was different this time. The national team, which wanted to build the best power, reached out to the players first, and Edman’s dream of wearing the Taegeuk mark was able to come true.
What was the national team’s keystone combination in the last four WBCs?
If so, who was the player who was in charge of the national team’s keystone combination in the 1st to 4th competitions? In the first tournament (2006), which tasted the joy of ‘advancing to the semifinals’, Kim Jong-guk, Kim Min-jae, and Kim Jae-geol worked together as second basemen along with shortstop Park Jin-man.
In the second inning (2009), which reached the final, Koh Young-min and Jung Geun-woo played second baseman and Park Ki-hyeok played shortstop. In the second inning following the first inning, the pitchers on the mound threw the ball comfortably thanks to their unwavering defense.
In the 3rd (2013) tournament, where he was eliminated in the first round for the first time since the foundation of the tournament, Jung Geun-woo played as the starting second baseman. Kang Jeong-ho and Son Si-heon played shortstop, but they were evaluated as less stable than in previous tournaments. The 4th (2017) tournament, in which Kim Jae-ho, Kim Ha-seong, Oh Jae-won, and Seo Geon-chang were in charge of the center of the infield, was also not very different in atmosphere.
Even in terms of name and ability, there was no Keystone combination that could surpass Kim Ha-seong and Edman this year. All of them are hitters who have seen the ball of big league pitchers in the at-bat until the most recent time in the national team, and are high-level fielders with three beats of offense, defense, and running. In addition to the Korea-Japan match, the two players are expected to help the national team easily solve the game throughout the tournament.
The goal of the national team is to advance to the semifinals. In order to advance to the semifinals for the first time in 14 years, not only wins against Australia and Korea-Japan in the first round, but also good results for the teams to face in the second round. Attention is focusing on whether Ha-seong Kim, who has both responsibility and burden, will exert a synergistic effect.안전놀이터