“I want to play against the best pitcher, Ahn Woo-jin!”…NC infield prospect returns to his hometown [MK Futures]
“I want to play against the best pitcher in the KBO, Ahn Woo-jin (Kiwoom Heroes).”
NC Dinos infield prospect Cho Hyun-jin shared his aspirations.토토사이트
A product of Changwon Shinwoljung and Masan High School, Cho Hyun-jin is a right-handed, left-handed infielder. He mainly plays shortstop and is 183 cm and 74 kg, and his strengths include accurate contact and reliable defense.
When he met with reporters recently, he expressed his desire to play against Ahn Woo-jin. Photo (Masan)=Reporter Lee Yi-joo
He was drafted by the Hanwha Eagles in the sixth round (52nd overall) of the 2021 KBO Draft in February of this year and wore the uniform of his hometown team NC through a trade. Outfielder Lee Myung-ki and catcher Lee Jae-yong were sent to Hanwha in exchange for NC’s seventh-round pick in the 2024 rookie draft.
“Cho Hyun-jin is a young infielder from our local area, and we have been watching him since his amateur days,” said NC manager Lim Sun-nam at the time. “He has a good sense of baseball, and his growth has been good, including a 3 percent batting average in the Futures (second team) league last year.”
When we recently met at the Masan Baseball Stadium, Cho Hyun-jin commented on the situation, “I felt comfortable because (Masan) is my hometown. “When my parents first heard about the trade, they were confused, but later they said it was good,” he recalled.
However, there were many difficulties in his first move as a professional, especially parting ways with his teammate, infielder Jung Min-kyu.
“We had a good relationship at Hanwha. When I told him I was going to NC, he was very disappointed. He’s now in commerce, and I hope we can talk a lot when we get a chance to meet again.”
For now, Cho Hyun-jin is still a developmental player. However, no one doubts his potential. After hitting .300 with 25 RBIs, six doubles, and a .361 OPS in 89 games in the Futures League last year, he’s already batting .278 with 10 RBIs and a .364 OPS in 42 games this year (through 20 games).
“I don’t strike out a lot at the plate,” he said of his strengths. I’m confident in my ability to make contact,” he said, adding, “My feet aren’t as fast as I thought, but I’m also active on the basepaths.”
On defense, Cho Hyun-jin’s position as a shortstop is the core of the infield defense, and stable defense is essential. “I want to do better on defense, and I want to look stable when the ball comes to me. I still have some deficiencies, but I’m taking a lot of practice to make up for them,” she said.
The coaching staff, including NC C Team (NC Future Team) head coach Gong Pil-sung, have been helping him grow. “Coach Gong Pil-sung, Coach Ji Seok-hoon, and Coach Son Yong-seok pay a lot of attention to me,” he said, “and I’ve been able to grow a lot thanks to them. I’m very grateful to them.”
Cho Hyun-jin’s role model is NC’s franchise star Park Min-woo. “I liked him a lot when I was in school, so I wore his number 2,” he said. “His position is similar to an infielder and his hitting ability is very good. I’m still watching (first-team) TV broadcasts and trying to learn his strengths. I want to be like her a lot.”
The performance of Kim Han-byul and Kim Joo-won, among others, is also a big motivator for Choi. “(Kim) Han-byul is my older brother and (Kim) Joo-won has so many more advantages than me,” he said, “but if I keep working hard, I think I will be given a chance one day.”
“I’m still lacking a lot, but if I work hard, there will definitely come a time when I can make the transition and debut in the first team,” Cho Hyun-jin said, adding, “If I work hard, I might be able to appear in the first team sooner than I thought.”
Finally, he expressed his desire to play against the KBO’s current homegrown ace, Ahn Woo-jin. It was a goal that promised his rapid growth.
“I want to face Ahn Woo-jin, who is the best pitcher in the KBO. His fastball is so fast and he seems to be perfect as a pitcher. To face him (in the first team) means that I have grown. I hope this moment will come soon.” Cho Hyun-jin said.