The Doosan Bears’ acquisition of catcher Kim Ki-yeon (26) in the second round of the draft may prove to be a blessing in disguise as catching prospect Park Yoo-yeon (25) has been suspended for a DUI.
On Sept. 9, Doosan admitted that Park had received a suspended license for driving under the influence. Park was caught driving drunk in late September while driving near her home. She got behind the wheel the morning after drinking. Park hid her license suspension from the club, and it wasn’t until three months later that an anonymous tipster alerted the club to the incident. After conducting its own investigation, the team obtained a confession from Park, and immediately reported the incident to the KBO Clean Baseball Center.
It is difficult to avoid severe penalties for driving under the influence. According to the KBO’s drunk driving penalties, the first offense is a 70-game suspension. The first offense is a one-year disqualification, the second is a five-year disqualification, and the third or more is a permanent disqualification. Park will not be able to avoid the 70-game suspension and will be out of the Doosan lineup for at least the first half of next season.굿모닝토토 도메인
Doosan’s own disciplinary action will determine her future. Doosan plans to hold Park accountable for her actions in concealing her first DUI arrest. Doosan will hold its own disciplinary committee early next week to determine the level of discipline. As Lotte Giants infielder Bae Young-bin was recently released after hiding his DUI from the club, Doosan is expected to hand down a severe punishment.
Doosan only added one catcher in the second round of the draft last month. Manager Lee Seung-yeop declared a “backup catcher competition” as he prepared for the upcoming season, and the front office responded to the call. Doosan selected Kim Ki-yeon in the first round, paying a transfer fee of $400 million to his original team, the LG Twins.
Shortly after the second round, a Doosan official said, “We don’t have a catcher after Yang Ji, so we need to create one. We will develop him.” “Kim Ki-yeon is a young catcher who has completed his military service and was selected because of his future potential. He has a strong shoulder and stable operating ability. He has good talent and will be a good addition to the team with more experience.”
This year, Jang Seung-hyun (29) and Ahn Seung-han (31) competed for the backup catcher position, but neither met Lee’s expectations. Jang Seung-hyun was praised for his defense, but his offense left much to be desired. He batted .208 (20 HR in 96 at-bats) in 60 games last year and .158 (22 HR in 139 at-bats) in 76 games this year. Ahn Seung-han’s offense has been up and down due to inconsistent playing time, and he’s too old to be the next Yang Ji Hyun.
Park Yoo-yeon’s development has been slowed by nagging knee injuries, but she was a promising offensive catcher. Her age also makes her a good candidate to be Yang’s successor. The next generation of Yang Ji was centered around Park Yoo-yeon, but she was a huge disappointment to the club this year when she underwent knee surgery and got into a drunk driving accident.
Kim Ki-yeon seems to be the number one candidate to fill Park’s shoes due to her age and potential. Kim was drafted by LG with the 34th overall pick in the second round of the 2016 rookie draft after graduating from Gwangju Promotion High School. He was a prospect that LG once had their eye on as a No. 2 catcher, but it took some time to develop. Lee is hoping that Kim will shake up the existing backup catcher competition, as the team has invested a modest 400 million won in him.
Kim Ki-yeon is also motivated, saying shortly after his move to Doosan, “I spent eight years at LG, and I feel sorry for the fans and the club who have been waiting for me. Now that I’m here, I have to do well. I feel like I’m back to my rookie self,” he said, adding that he is ready to enter the battlefield with a new mindset.
Until this year, Kim had spent eight years with LG, appearing in 42 games for the first team. He batted .140 (6-for-43) with three RBIs. He said, “I wasn’t as good as you expected. I think that’s why I was drafted in the second round. I was given opportunities from the beginning of the year, but I didn’t capitalize on them. I want to learn a lot from Yang Ji and make it my own. As a catcher, I need to learn how to run the game and everything in general, but I also want to ask about things like ball mixing. I want to learn a lot about batting because I’m a catcher and also a top hitter.”
While Park’s departure is a blow, Doosan is fortunate to have a plan B in place. If Kim Ki-yeon can fulfill her potential, the risk of Park Yoo-yeon’s DUI will be slightly lessened.