Although it was only a short year, there were three encounters with Oh Jae-won (17), a second-year center fielder at Yushin High School.
The first encounter was in the round of 16 best teams played by the presidential staff of Yushin High School and Gangneung High School at Mokdong Baseball Stadium last year. A familiar name was seen on an electronic display. Oh Jae-won with the same name as Oh Jae-won (39), a one-club man from the Doosan Bears who retired two years ago, and No. 15 Oh Jae-won played three hits, two RBIs, two runs scored and one stolen base in five times at bat, helping Oh advance to the quarterfinals. Oh Jae-won has continued to display batting performance even as a freshman, and finished his first season in high school with a batting average of 0.436 (24 hits in 55 times at bat), 18 RBIs, 13 runs and four steals, and an on-base percentage of 0.530 with an OPS of 0.455.월카지노
A few months later, a scout from a professional team called Oh Jae-won again. It was their second encounter. The scout told Star News, “Shin Jae-in (17) and Oh Jae-won deserve attention. Oh Jae-won has strength in hitting, but he is also quick in feet and plays defense really well. Compared to his freshman year, he is much better than Park Ji-hwan (19, SSG Landers), a fielder who was drafted in the first round this year. In particular, he was born with the ability to hit the ball.”
He remembered that and went down to Daegu, where the Winter League match between Yushin High School and Daegu Sangwon High School will be held. I have been watching him since the middle of the game, but I could hardly find his number 15. However, soon, a small left-handed batter with his number 3 caught his eye. The player hit a big hit towards the right pole in the top of the eighth inning and easily reached the second base. When the follow-up batter bunt, he quickly reached the third base, creating a chance to get the first and third base with no outs. Even though the opponent’s battery was thrown first to the third base, he could not catch it. At the Yushin High School dugout, cheers broke out with the saying, “Jaewon is nice,” and I could be sure then. It was the third encounter with Oh Jaewon in the Yushin High School.
“I changed my number from No. 15 to No. 3,” Oh Jae-won said after Yoo Shin-ho’s sixth consecutive win at the 2024 Winter League was confirmed. “I changed my number because I think many good outfielders such as Bae Ji-hwan (25, Pittsburgh Pirates) are playing No. 3.”
According to Oh Jae-won, baseball was not very interested at first. I followed my father, who was born in Busan, whenever the Lotte Giants game was held at Munhak Stadium, the closest to my hometown, but I was not interested in it, so I used to play in the playground next to the stadium. However, he soon fell in love with playing ball after repeated field trips, and at his father’s recommendation, he began to become a player in earnest from the second grade of elementary school.
The name Oh Jae-won, which can be ordinary, helped me a little while playing baseball. His friends who like baseball easily memorized his name, and his name was easily imprinted on officials whenever he played an active role. In addition, he added his grit, “Even on days when I can’t hit, I have to hit one no matter what,” and he was able to play as a main player in the Winter League last year, even though he was a freshman at a prestigious high school.
His main position is center fielder, and his primary position is the first hitter. He played shortstop in middle school, but changed his position to center fielder in the latter half of his sophomore year. Fortunately, he suited his aptitude a little bit, and he gradually set his direction as a player by watching a lot of videos of Park Hae-min (34, LG Twins), Bae Ji-hwan and Corbin Carroll (24, Arizona Diamondbacks). His strength is his explosive speed reaching the first base in 4.05-4.10 seconds from home. Considering that the time it took to reach the first base in an average of 4.05 seconds at home last year was No. 1 in the entire Major League, Oh Jae-won’s speed is truly impressive.
“I like Carol from Arizona. She is very fast with her feet, and she has good contact ability and batting productivity in terms of defense and range, so I watched a lot of videos,” Oh Jae-won said. “I don’t have any role models, but I tend to refer to Korean players more than overseas players when I actually play games. Though not as tall as Bae Ji-hwan or Park Hae-min, I usually watch players who are fast with their feet. Especially, Park has a wide range of defense and good judgment on batting, so I am learning a lot from videos.”
There has also been a change in the profile of the young man who will be growing in full swing within a year. His physique, which was 175cm tall and 70kg, has grown rapidly to 176cm and 77kg. Fortunately, he says he has a good muscular constitution, so he could eat one more bowl of rice than others. However, Hong Seok-moo (39), head coach of Yu Shingo, remembers Oh Jae-won’s hidden efforts.
“It is true that Jae-won has a muscular body,” Hong said. “He is the only one in our school that doesn’t have night training on Wednesdays. That’s when I usually go to a sauna. When I finish a sauna, other people play or go home, but Jae-won always comes back alone and does weight training for an hour or two.”
“Thanks to him, my body has improved a lot now. Last year, I played full-time but didn’t have many extra-base hits (one double in official games), but this year, I already have more than five hits including a double, a triple, and a running home run. I can clearly see that I have improved. Like Jung Soo-bin (34) of Doosan Bears and Lee Yong-kyu (39) of Kiwoom Heroes, I think I will become a good professional player if I learn more about base running and how to make sensible plays.”
Players who graduated from Korea National High School such as Soh Jeong-joon (23), Park Young-hyun (21, KT Wiz), and Kim Ju-won (22, NC Dinos) have recently stood out in the KBO League, making them a pride and goal for their juniors. “I did not have any extra-base hits last year, so I prepared a lot to make extra-base hits such as gaining weight,” Oh Jae-won said. “My goal this year is to increase the number of extra-base hits and steals. I want to make at least 15 hits, or 20 steals at most.” “My goal is to participate in all national competitions and achieve a semifinal result,” Oh said. “When I see the older guys who lived together in the dorm go to pro league, I try harder. It’s still a long way off, but I really want to be nominated to the KBO team.”