“I’ll get my chance.”
That’s what Kim Do-young (20-KIA Tigers) said in mid-September as the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) approached. At the time, he was cheering for his friend and “rival” Moon Dong-ju (20-Korea Eagles), who was also on the national team, and looking forward to the day when he could play internationally. “Right now, I’m only thinking about the team ranking, but I honestly want to play,” he said when asked about the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) in November.
Three months later, the opportunity came. Kim was selected to play in the APBC in Tokyo, Japan, starting on Nov. 16. The tournament, which will be held for the second time since 2017, will feature the top prospects (24 years old and in their third year or younger) from the Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, and Australian leagues.
Kim did not make the AG squad as he returned to the first team in mid-June following a right ankle injury suffered early in the 2023 season. After hitting .290 with 18 stolen bases in the second half of the season, he earned a call-up to the APBC team. It was his first time wearing the Korean flag as a professional. It’s a chance to shake off the disappointment of not playing in the AG.
Kim Do-young was in excellent form at the APBC’s first official training session at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu on June 6. According to a representative from his team, KIA, he continued to visit his home stadium (Gwangju Kia Champions Field) after the regular season ended to work on his strength and stamina in preparation for the APBC. During the batting practice, he hit several powerful shots that drew the admiration of his teammates.
Kim competed at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in Mexico in September 2021. South Korea finished eighth in the tournament after struggling, including a 4-6 loss to underdog Nicaragua.
After realizing the obstacles on the international stage, Kim reflected on his skills and realized that he needed to improve. “Being able to hit the ball from good seniors (pitchers) is what I’m most excited about,” he said of his entry into the KBO.
In his second year, Kim made the leap to third base for KIA. He showed his clutch ability in the final stretch of the regular season, providing a boost to the team’s offense when mainstays Na Sung-bum and Choi Hyung-woo were out with injuries.
When asked what he’s most looking forward to about competing in the international tournament, Kim said, “When I talk to my seniors, most of them praise Japanese pitchers for their fastball and changeup. I’m really looking forward to facing them.” Japan’s APBC team is led by Hirokazu Ibata and features the next generation of ace pitchers, including Tatsuya Imai and Chihiro Sumida (Seibu Lions).
Kim Do-young has stolen 25 bases in just 84 games this season. The previous leader in that category, Jung Soo-bin (Doosan Bears), had 39. If Kim gets on base, he can put pressure on opposing batteries and infielders. 보스토토
KBO League representative Kim “Dado” Hye-sung (Kiwoom Heroes), who led Hangzhou AG to the gold medal, was also selected to the APBC team. With Kim Do-young and Kim Hye-sung as table-setters, the team will be able to play aggressively.