Korea laying the groundwork to defend WBSC Premier12 and Olympic titles

SEOUL —  Korea’s 25-man roster for the inaugural WBSC-sanctioned Asia Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) Presented by ENEOS will feature all first-year “rookie” players from the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), the country’s top-tier league, Korean National Team manager Dong-yeol Sun revealed. Tournament rules allow for three players above the age of 24, but Sun opted not to select any.

Samsung Lions 2015 Rookie of the Year Ja-wook Koo has been named Korea’s captain, while Nexen Heroes teen sensation and 2017 KBO Rookie of the Year Jung-hoo Lee also made the roster. Lee’s father — KBO legend Jong-beom Lee — is a member of Korea’s coaching staff.

“Since I was little, I dreamed of being on the national team with my father,” Jung-hoo Lee said.

Kia Tigers infielder Won Jun Choi and LG Twins pitcher Dae Hyun Kim return to the national team together after earning bronze medals with Korea at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2015 in Osaka, Japan.

The Korean National Baseball Team programme, currently No. 3 in the WBSC Baseball World Rankings Presented by ENEOS, is not only focused on beating rivals Chinese Taipei and Japan next week in the APBC, but also on seasoning the country’s young players for major international competitions that will take place in 2019 and 2020 — WBSC Premier12 and the Olympic Games – global events where (pending qualification) Korea would enter as the defending champion.

“Considering the future, it is better to give more chances to younger players,” Sun said.

Korea will face the Nexen Heroes and Korean Police this week, before opening against Japan on Thursday, 16 November at the Tokyo Dome.

  • Thu, 16 Nov: KOR v JPN at 7:00p
  • Fri, 17 Nov: TPE v KOR at 7:00p
  • Sat, 18 Nov: JPN v TPE at 6:30p
  • Sun, 19 Nov: FINAL: 1° v 2° at 6:00p

WBSC will live-stream all APBC games at www.youtube.com/wbsc (subject to geo-blocking).