After the season, the “knife wind” is strong. About 10 players per club have hung up their gloves and bats, including Park Il-hoon (former KIA Tigers), Lee Chul-min (former LG Twins), and Chun Bo-woong (former Hanwha Eagles), who were released after just one year in the organization.
Each team has a roster size of 80 to 90 players. Every year, 11 rookies join the team. About 11 of the existing players are bound to leave. Not only veterans are subject to release, but also players with less experience. In particular, players drafted in the lower rounds face a fierce free agency wind.
Looking at the number of players drafted in the sixth round or later from 2020 to 2022 who were released, in 2022, 17 of 50 players packed up after just one or two years. In 2021, 20 out of 49 and in 2020, 32 out of 50 players hung up their jerseys. It’s also concerning that many of these players were high school graduates. There’s only so much a player who’s been “all in” on baseball for a decade or so can do in the workforce.토토사이트
In other words, it creates a lot of unemployed high school graduates. Worse yet, this vicious cycle is only going to accelerate. “There’s no room for more cuts,” says an official at Club A, likening roster trimming to human skin. If we want to make room for 11 players next year, we’re going to have to thin the skin to expose the bones.” With fewer mid-level players to release, the percentage of players in their first and second years will inevitably increase.
Professional baseball is a competitive world of talent. The best players survive and the worst are cut. However, if you compare the skills of the 11 new players and the 11 players who are leaving the team, you can’t necessarily say that the rookies are better. “If we drafted all the players who were drafted this year and all the rookies who were released, we would have a surprising situation,” said a representative from Team B.
This cycle of drafting and releasing players without regard to their skills creates unemployed high school graduates. As a solution, some say to draft four or five college players instead of the current mandatory one, while others argue for separating the high school and college drafts. An official from University C said, “Even if we try to select a lot of college players now, the talent pool is not that large.” “If we increase the number of college players by one every year, we will be able to draft four or five players in four or five years.” If you add one more college player every year until four or five years later, you can increase the depth of college baseball because as many good high school players go to college as there are good college players.
On the other hand, an official from Team A argued that “the forest is not for the trees” and that “it’s better to have four or five college players from the start.” There’s no guarantee that if 10 more players go to college, those 10 players will be developed well. Therefore, expanding the college talent pool from the start means that the draft system will take less time to normalize.
The Futures (second division) league plays around 100 games a year. This is not enough time for rookie-level players to gain experience. “It’s hard enough to give the top players a chance to play, but it’s harder for the bottom players to develop through the game,” said a representative from Club A. “It’s not a good structure. Therefore, it may be more effective for players to train their bodies and minds and gain game experience in college.
“It’s hard to develop players in the long run in the pros, so selecting high school graduates is like nipping a fragile bud in the bud,” said a representative from Team B. It’s time for the baseball world to discuss how the rookie draft should be structured so that these voices don’t ring hollow.