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Little-known high school pitcher selected first overall in KBO draft

All Headlines 17:14 August 26, 2013

SEOUL, Aug. 26 (Yonhap) -- A little-known high school pitcher was selected first overall at the annual professional baseball draft held here on Monday.

Bae Jae-hwan, a senior right-hander for Seoul High School, was chosen by the NC Dinos as the first overall pick in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) draft.

Bae has only thrown 3 1/3 innings in four games this season. In his high school career, Bae has pitched 22 1/3 innings in nine appearances, going 1-2 with a 2.05 ERA.

This was the second rookie draft for the KBO teams this year -- nine current teams and the KT Wiz, an expansion club set to join the KBO in 2015.

In June, the Wiz were awarded prior draft choices as part of special benefits granted to the newcomers. Their selections were made before the "territorial draft," in which teams chose players from up to five high schools located within their regions.

Earlier this year, the KBO decided to revive the territorial system, which had been in use from the KBO's inaugural season in 1982 to 2008. All 10 clubs each made one pick in July, and their choices were announced by the league office without a separate ceremony.

The draft held on Monday was an open draft in which teams could choose players from any region. The Dinos had the first overall pick and had the first selection in odd-numbered rounds, while the Wiz had the 10th overall pick and the first selection in even numbered rounds. Ten rounds were held in total.

The order of other KBO teams was determined in a reverse order of their records in 2012. The Hanwha Eagles had the second overall pick behind the Dinos, while the defending champs the Samsung Lions had the ninth pick, ahead of the Wiz.

According to the KBO, 720 amateur players entered the draft.

In addition to their 10 rounds, the Wiz received five special picks after the first round, for a total of 15 selections.

With the second overall pick, the Eagles chose Dong-A University pitcher Choi Young-hwan. The senior has been 7-5 with a 2.94 ERA in his collegiate career.

The Wiz, which selected three high school pitchers with their earlier picks in June, chose another pitcher, right-hander Koh Young-pyo, for their first round pick on Monday. The senior with Dongguk University has gone 13-2 with a 1.85 ERA for his Seoul-based school.

With their five special picks after one round, the Wiz chose three infielders and two catchers.

Among other notables, Jung Young-il, a former minor league pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels, was selected in the fifth round by the SK Wyverns. Slowed by injuries, Jung, 24, has played for independent ball clubs in South Korea and Japan.

Jung's younger brother, Jung Hyung-sik, is an outfielder for the Lions.

Catcher Choi Hyeong-rok, who spent four seasons in the Minnesota Twins' minor leagues, was picked by the Doosan Bears in the eighth round.

Sons of former KBO stars were also picked on Monday. The Bears picked Lee Seong-gon, an infielder for Yonsei University, in the third round. He is son of Lee Soon-cheol, currently the bench coach for the Kia Tigers and a four-time Golden Glove winner as an outfielder for the same franchise.

Chung Seon-ho of Whimoon High School, son of Lotte Giants' pitching coach Chung Min-tae, was the ninth-round selection by the SK Wyverns. The senior Chung, a former All-Star right-hander, led the KBO in victories in three different seasons and was the Korean Series MVP for the Hyundai Unicorns in 1998 and 2003.


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