A baseball player from Mungyeong Campus of Global Advancement School, an alternative school for internationalization. He dreamed of becoming a major leaguer, but after being blocked by an unexpected barrier, he returned to his homeland. And now he dreams of becoming a KBO leaguer.
Born in 2001, right-handed pitcher Jin Woo-young was a member of the baseball team at Global Advancement School, which was led by Choi Hyang-nam. His alma mater’s baseball team is now disbanded and no longer exists. Despite the fact that the team was small and not widely known, Jin Woo-young was the pride of the school. He was recognized as a fastball pitcher and signed a contract with the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball (MLB) in August 2018 before graduation. The following year, his rookie-league challenge began.
In the minor league rookie level of the 2019 season, Jin went 6-2 with a 2.35 ERA in 14 games. The club’s expectations were understandably high, and the potential for improvement in his sophomore season looked promising.
But in early 2020, the team was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The minor leagues were shut down, and Jin was unable to play and continued to train privately. He returned to the team for the 2021 season, but was unable to advance to the next level and eventually left Kansas City as a free agent on September 17, 2021.
Upon his return to South Korea, Jin resolved his military issues. There was no reason to hold on to his regrets for long. Fortunately, being a full-time reservist allowed him to work out in the evenings after work. Once he was demobilized, he immediately joined the Paju Challengers in the independent league and focused on improving his game. After fulfilling all the requirements to be drafted as a rookie from overseas, Jin Woo-young participated in the KBO tryout at the Team Up Campus in Gonjiam-eup, Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do, on Aug. 28. “For the past two years, I’ve been waiting for the tryout and the rookie draft without forgetting a single day,” said Jin Woo-young, who threw a total of 30 practice pitches in front of scouts.
“It was raining today, so the environment was not good, but I think I showed the maximum effort and the best I could in that situation, so I have no regrets,” he said confidently, adding, “There are regrets than my best pitching, but I still did my best.”
The major league challenge was not without regrets. “In my first year, I did better than expected and had a perfect season. I was so happy, but suddenly the bad news of COVID-19 broke out, and the club was closed, and I came to Korea because it wasn’t a good environment for me to play in the U.S. I was very disappointed, but I thought it was a good time to strengthen and protect my arm, and I tried to prepare well in that situation,” he recalls.
Still, he’s only 22 years old. “It’s good to be able to come back from the U.S. Challenge at a young age and challenge the KBO again. I also solved my military problems, so I think that things are coming together nicely for me,” he said, adding, “I’m a little disappointed that I had to end my American dream early, but I can make a new start.” 스포츠토토
He also lost about 12 kilograms of weight from his minor league career and prepared for his professional debut with the Paju Challengers. His personal best fastball in an independent league game was 150 kilometers. His average fastball is around 145 kilometers.
“I watched a lot of games of pitchers my age, like Ahn Woo-jin and Moon Dong-joo, to see how they adapted to the professional game and how they dealt with hitters. I put a lot of effort into my pitches to survive in the U.S., where there are a lot of fastball pitchers. It’s one of my strengths. There are a lot of strong players in this year’s draft, but I’m determined to fulfill my dream of joining the pros.”