Jung Hyun-woo of ‘post-high school level completion’ vs Jung Woo-joo of ‘potential seeking ML’ Who is the No. 1 overall winner?

Deoksu High School’s left-hander Jung Hyun-woo (18) and Jeonju High School’s right-hander Jung Woo-joo (18) are competing for the first overall pick of the 2025 Rookie Draft.룸알바

The protagonist of the rookie draft’s No. 1 pick is always a factor that attracts a lot of attention from fans. Although interest was relatively low when there was the first nomination, interest in the first nomination system was even hotter as the first nomination system was abolished from the 2023 rookie draft.

In the last two years, there have been overwhelming number one candidates for the rookie draft. In the 2023 Rookie Draft, Shim Joon-seok (Pittsburgh Pirates), who was considered the biggest player, did not participate in the draft to advance to the U.S., while Kim Seo-hyun, who competed with Shim for the biggest player, was selected as the first overall by Hanwha. In the 2024 Rookie Draft, Jang Hyun-suk (Dodgers) advanced to the Major League, while Hanwha, which had the first overall pick, took left-hander Hwang Joon-seo instead.

In the 2025 Rookie Draft this year, Chung and Jung are competing for the top spot overall. Chung is a left-handed pitcher who throws fastballs with a maximum speed of 150 kilometers per hour or higher, and boasts stable control and sharp breaking balls. He has won seven games and an ERA of 0.68 in 12 ⅓ (40 innings). He has struck out 56 and allowed only eight walks. At the final of the Golden Lion against Daegu Sangwon on April 29, he allowed one hit and five strikeouts in five innings, leading Deoksu to victory.

Jung Woo-ju is a right-handed fire bowler who throws up to 156 kilometers. He has been praised as the best pitcher in high school since early this year, and is highly anticipated as a promising candidate with the highest chance of being drafted first. He has one win and one loss with a 1.67 ERA in nine games (27 ⅓ innings) this year. He pitched fewer innings than Jung, but has 50 strikeouts, which is almost the same as his, boasting overwhelming pitching capability. He also has a chance to advance to the Major League. However, as he lost to Jung in recent performances, he gave up the top spot as a candidate and allowed his team to advance to the second round.

Manager Jeong Yoon-jin of Deoksu High School, who won the Golden Lion championship, said in an interview right after his victory, “I was also surprised (by watching Jung Hyun-woo’s pitch). When I was constantly being cut off against a good batter named Soo Soo-ho in the last inning, he gave me an autograph and threw a fork. That’s why I struck out swinging. Seeing that, (Jung) Hyun-woo spared no praise, saying, “I thought that if I could take a good approach, I would become a really good pitcher.”

“My goal is to maintain the pace and maintain constant strength until the end of the Phoenix Recorder,” said Chung. “I think command is one of his strengths. The completeness of his breaking balls has improved, and he seems to be well connected to batters. Koo is throwing fastballs, sliders, curves, and folk balls. Among them, he is the most confident in folk balls.” He went on to introduce himself. “I have known (Jung) Woo-ju since I was little. I met him for the first time in the standing squad for the Little Korean national team when I was a fifth grader. Woo-ju threw more than 150 kilometers per hour so easily that I think I need to be perfect until the end of this season to compete with Woo-ju,” he said, hinting at his ambition as the No. 1 overall.

Although Jung has a strong ambition, Jung Woo-joo is also a top-rated prospect. Coach Jung Yoon-jin, who faced Jung Woo-joo in the E-Mart Cup final, said in an interview at the time, “I think we (Jung) Hyun-woo or Jung Woo-joo are the best pitchers this year.”

“Jeong’s ball speed is great, but his ball power and RPM are amazing,” said Joo Chang-hoon, manager of Jeonju High School. “Except for the game against Busan High School, I can count the number of fingers that hit the batter’s box when throwing a fastball. He also throws sliders, curves, changeups, and splitters freely because he has good sense of fingertips,” said Joo in highly evaluating Jung’s performance.

“When I met my father to join the Scout, I told him that I would throw the ball only when it was important for the Korean baseball,” coach Joo Chang-hoon said. “When I met my father to join the Scout, I told him that I would throw it only when it was important. I am thinking of throwing it only at national championships. I did not let him sleep until the end of February this year either. I got permission from the principal, and I attached a trainer, and only trained my lower body and core muscles until February. I said that I could throw a lot if I go there later, so I just wanted to build up my body. One time, he said he wanted to throw only one inning, but he threw 12 pitches, but none of them came out below 150 kilometers. That’s how good the ball is,” he said, showing affection for Jung.

Kiwoom holds the first pick this year, and Hanwha holds the second pick. Hanwha’s choice is expected to change depending on Kiwoom’s choice. Fans are paying keen attention to who Kiwoom will choose between Jung Hyun-woo and Jung Woo-joo, who will be the first player since the 2012 Rookie of the Year draft.

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