Planned 6 years after dropping out of college, 24-year-old late bloomer “It took me longer than most, but…”
He took a very different path than most. He did it solely to improve his baseball skills. Hwang Young-mook, 24, a “late bloomer” who spent six years preparing for the professional ranks after dropping out of college, is set to bring new life to the Hanwha infield next year.
Selected by Hanwha with the 31st overall pick in the fourth round of the 2024 KBO Rookie Draft in September, Hwang came from the independent league. After graduating from Chung Hoon High School, he enrolled at Chung-Ang University in 2018, 온라인카지노 but dropped out after a year and headed to the independent league. After joining the Seongnam Blue Panthers in 2019, he went on active duty in the army, then the Scoreborne Hyenas in 2021 before playing for the Yeoncheon Miracle for two years, starting last year.
A right-handed hitter with strong shoulders who can cover all positions in the infield, Hwang is considered a hitter with excellent contact. He played four seasons in the Gyeonggi Independent League, where he batted .471 with 200 hits in four seasons. He had a 23-game hitting streak and a cycling hit in September last year. He was immediately recognized as a power hitter and was drafted by Hanwha in the fourth round of the rookie draft.
Hwang Young-mook, who traveled to Miyazaki, Japan, on the 1st to participate in the final camp, said, “It was good to be drafted higher than I expected. I’m grateful that the club appreciated me so much, and I feel that I should be worthy of it.” “Compared to other players, it took me a long time to become a professional. But I’ve experienced a lot of things that other players haven’t. I’ve been in the military, and I’m older than the other rookies, so I’m sure I’ll adapt quickly.”
Hwang Young-mook, who did not receive a rookie draft pick in his senior year at Chung Hoon High School, went to college, but his thirst for baseball was too great. “I didn’t go to college to get a college diploma,” he said. “My goal from the beginning was to become a professional baseball player. I don’t know what it’s like now, but in college, I had to juggle academics and baseball, and it was hard to focus on baseball,” he recalls.
When he decided to drop out of college in 2018, Hwang made a six-year plan. There is a rule that players who drop out of college can apply for the KBO rookie draft in their normal graduation year. Hwang knew that he would have to serve two years in the military before he could participate in the rookie draft in 2024. It was a long time, but Hwang was prepared for it and chose to drop out.
He didn’t go straight to the army after dropping out. He spent a year playing in an independent league to quench his thirst for baseball. At 177 centimeters tall and less than 70 kilograms, Hwang was a dwarf, but after leaving the army, he gained strength and grew to 85 kilograms. He planned to bulk up before he enlisted and continued to do mobility training to keep his body from slowing down, and he played in the independent league for three more years to prepare for the pros.
Six years is a long time to wait, but it’s still a long time. For most people, it’s hard to get off the ground. It’s almost impossible to stay focused for six years. Finding something to motivate himself was also a challenge. Fortunately, baseball-related programs such as ‘Youth Baseball Team’ and ‘Strongest Baseball’ gave him a good opportunity. He appeared on both programs and became known to the public.
He didn’t just want to be in the spotlight. “From the time I dropped out of college, I knew that I could apply for the rookie draft in my graduation year,” he says, “and from then on, I thought about and prepared a six-year plan with two years in the army and four years in the independent league. I needed motivation because I had been preparing for a long time (to go pro). I didn’t go on the air to become popular, but to learn more about baseball and gain a lot of experience. It gave me motivation and experience.”
Even though he has gained recognition as a strong baseball player, he hasn’t forgotten to thank his original team, the Yeoncheon Miracle. “For two years, I could only play baseball because Yeoncheon County gave me a lot of support. I am grateful for the support of Yeoncheon County, coach Kim In-sung, and the coaches who helped me play baseball without any financial burden,” Hwang said. “I think I have my own baseball, and Hanwha is the team that recognized it and expected it. I want to show my own baseball here,” he vowed.
As for ‘Hwang Young-mook’s baseball,’ he said, “I can’t explain it in words. I have my own hitting mechanics, strong shoulders, and reliable defense. I wonder if it will work in the professional first team.” He added, “All players do, but I don’t dream of playing in the second team. I want to be recognized by playing in the first team ballpark. I want to prepare well from the final camp so that I can play baseball in Daejeon. I will aim to make the opening roster next season.”