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KBO revives territorial draft for this year

All Headlines 15:33 April 09, 2013

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) -- The nation's top baseball league announced Tuesday it will revive an old draft system to let teams select local talent.

Starting this year, teams in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) will enter the territorial draft. This type of draft had been used from the start of the KBO in 1982 to 2008. It was replaced by an open draft with a reverse-record order, in which the team with the worst record in the previous season had the first overall pick and could select any player, regardless of his regional base.

The KBO reached the decision to return to the old draft system at a board meeting Tuesday, chaired by KBO Commissioner Koo Bon-neung and attended by presidents of the current nine teams plus the 10th club KT, which will play in the minor league next year and join the KBO in 2015.

The league abolished the territorial draft in 2008 to ensure more parity. Top high school prospects often came out of certain regions and benefited the few teams based in those areas.

Without the territorial draft, however, KBO teams gradually reduced their financial support for local school teams and that affected development of youth baseball nationwide. Supporters of the territorial draft have said it will help KBO teams build strong local connections with their home fans.

According to the KBO, one round of the territorial draft will precede the current open draft. Clubs will each be assigned five local high schools.

Three clubs based in Seoul, the Doosan Bears, the LG Twins and the Nexen Heroes, will enter a draw to determine the schools from which to choose their players.

The league said KT will make two selections, among special benefits granted to the expansion team, while every other team will each draft one player.

After every team has made a pick, KT and the NC Dinos, which joined the KBO in 2013, will each make an additional selection, from any school they wish, over the next three years. This measure is to help the two new clubs strength their rosters quickly, the KBO explained.

Then in the open draft, KT will pick five players first before the current teams make their selections. In last year's draft, NC also enjoyed the same benefit, drafting five prospects before other teams.

Elsewhere, the KBO decided not to modify the current rule guiding foreign players, with teams allowed to sign up to two players from overseas.

The Dinos will be allowed to play three foreigners for their first two seasons, 2013 and 2014, while KT will be permitted to use three foreign players for 2015 and 2016.

The KBO first allowed players from overseas to play here in 1998.


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