Posté le 9 novembre
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Kim 'GG' Ha Sung and Park Hyo Joon 'Emission' Hyo Joon The Rarefied Hyperbola of High School Leaders in 10 Years

Kim Ha-seong during his Kiwoom Heroes days.

Park Hyo-joon (27) was considered the "biggest name in high school" and went straight to the New York Yankees. Kim Ha-seong (28), who lost out in a position battle to his juniors and went unnoticed in the KBO draft. It was Park who had the clear advantage at the high school level.

But a decade later, their positions are completely reversed. While Kim has established himself as a "world-class" player, becoming the first Asian infielder to win a Gold Glove, Park has been released repeatedly, leaving the future in doubt.

Park and Kim were one year apart in Yatap High School and competed for the same position, shortstop, with Park, who was recognized as a "five-tool player," winning the competition. His long bat, accuracy, and defense earned him the team's starting shortstop position as a sophomore.

Kim Ha-sung also showed promise in the offense, but he was not as good as Park a year later and was forced to play second base behind Park.

Their interest levels at the end of high school were also vastly different. Park attracted the attention of major league teams during Yatapgo's U.S. training camp and was signed by the New York Yankees, one of the most prestigious clubs in the major leagues, for $1.16 million (approximately KRW 1.34 billion).

Kim, on the other hand, was one of the most sought-after prospects in the game. In the 2014 KBO Rookie Draft, he was selected by the Nexen Heroes (now Kiwoom) with the 29th pick of the second round.

At the time, there was a primary nomination system based on local ties and a special nomination by the upstart KT Wiz. Taking all of this into account, there were 40 players who were drafted before Kim. The contract was only 100 million won.

However, their fortunes began to change after they entered the professional ranks. In his first year, Kim caught the eye of then-manager Yoon Kyung-yup and played 60 games with the first team, and in his second year, in 2015, he became the starting shortstop. He quickly developed into an "elite shortstop," with a defense that consistently hit around 20 home runs a year and a power that allowed him to steal 20-30 bases.

In 2018, he was selected to represent his country at the Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang, where he won a gold medal, and after clearing his military service, he signed with Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres via the posting system after the 2020 season. He was only 26 years old.

The fact that his team was a small club with limited funds also helped him to move abroad quickly.

Park Hyo-joon, who went straight to the United States, also took his own steps. He made it through the Rookie League, Single-A, and then Double-A in 2019. In 2020, he was expected to be promoted to Triple-A, but COVID-19 canceled the entire minor league season and forced him to take a year off.

However, in 2021, the same year that Kim made his debut, Park Hyo-joon was also called up and got his dream major league start. After playing just one game for the Yankees, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates to get his chance.

In 2022, however, their fortunes took a dramatic turn for the worse. Kim stepped up to the plate and became an integral part of the team, improving by leaps and bounds in his hitting ability after struggling in his rookie season.

Park Hyo-joon also had dreams of making Pittsburgh's opening day roster in 2022, but he was unable to make an impact. He was demoted and recalled repeatedly, bouncing between Triple-A and the majors.

After the season, he bounced between Pittsburgh, the Boston Red Sox, and the Atlanta Braves, barely staying in the United States.

By the end of 2023, the gap between the two was even wider. Kim earned recognition in the big leagues as an offensive and defensive infielder. At the end of the season, he won the Gold Glove for utility. When his contract with San Diego ends next season, he'll be eligible for the free agent jackpot.

Park, on the other hand, was designated for assignment by Atlanta's minor league team. He'll be 28 next year and hasn't established himself in the major leagues or resolved his military service issues. Realistically, it's time for him to make a sobering realization that it's not going to be easy to continue his major league career.

A decade ago, who could have predicted such a stark divergence of fortunes for these two high school teammates? It's a shallow binary that even they couldn't have easily predicted. slotplayground

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