He participated in 102G in his debut season and received benefits from AG → military service…But Kiwoom 19-year-old catcher “didn’t do anything good except play without injury” blame himself, why?
Kiwoom Heroes catcher Kim Dong-heon (19) joined Kiwoom with the 23rd pick of the 12th round after graduating from Chungam High School. He batted .242 with 51 hits, two home runs, 17 RBIs and 22 runs scored in 102 games this season. Along with veteran catcher Lee Ji-young, he anchored Kiwoom’s infield.
Due to his steady performance as a rookie catcher, Kim was included in the Korean baseball team’s roster for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games led by Ryu Joong-il, giving them a small boost in their quest for gold.굿모닝토토 도메인
“I’m glad to have finished the season without getting injured,” Kim said recently, “but there’s nothing I did well other than playing without injury. The coach trusted me, but there were many times when I didn’t perform as well as he expected. The fans say it’s okay because it’s my first season, but I need to work harder if I want to quickly become a starting catcher. There were too many things that were lacking,” he said, reflecting on the 2023 season.
When asked about his experience at the Asian Games, he said, “I didn’t play many games, but I was with my brothers, who are the best in Korea, and I learned a lot. I am grateful to my brothers for the good results.”
“At first, Hyung-joon was very awkward with my brother, so I tried to talk to him more. I was grateful for his kindness. It must have been hard for him to play, so I’m grateful that he took good care of him.”
Go Woo-seok, Jung Woo-young (LG Twins), Moon Dong-joo (Hanwha Eagles), and Kwak Bin (Doosan Bears) were some of the best fastball pitchers in the KBO. Of course, their pitches were also fast, but there was one pitcher who surprised Kim the most when he received the ball.
“I went in thinking that Woo-seok and Woo-young are pitchers who throw powerful balls, but (Park) Young-hyun’s ball was different because I saw it from the outside. The rotation was good, and the ball was heavy. I thought he was a really good pitcher. I also thought that Young-hyun should hit his brother’s pitches to be competitive in international competitions. It was good just to receive the ball,” he laughed.
“After the season, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to improving my weight and basic physical fitness,” said Kim Dong-heon, who will participate in the Asian Professional Baseball Championship 2023 (APBC). This time, he will be joined by Kim Hyung-jun and Lotte Giants’ Son Sung-bin.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about what I lacked in my batting this season, and I’ve been working on my finishing touches. This time, Hyung-joon is coming back and Sung-bin is coming back, and I want to learn a lot from them while competing in the tournament.” He continued, “There are many things I want to ask them this time. In particular, Sung Bin Yi has really good shoulders. He said that to make your shoulders stronger, you need to have your own step rhythm. I’m going to ask my brothers everything.”
After the APBC, he plans to focus on personal training and prepare for next year’s spring camp. He vowed to do better tomorrow than today.
“I’ve accomplished a lot compared to my goals. I made the opening roster and played 102 games. I’m grateful to the team for giving me so many opportunities,” he said. “I don’t think the opportunity will come naturally next year. When I go to international tournaments, I want to be able to say that I was selected because of my skills, not because I was younger,” he said.
“My goal for next season is to get more at-bats, and to do that, I need to be 100% recognized as a defender. Now we have robot umpires and pitch clocks. It’s very important for pitchers and catchers. My coaches told me that throwing and blocking will be more important for catchers than framing, so I’ll focus on that and my hitting to get better next year.”