Jeon Mir, 18, an all-around talent from Gyeongbuk High School, is greedy. He wants to challenge himself as a pitcher and hitter in the pros.
Kyungpook National University beat Deoksugo 4-3 in the round of 16 of the 57th Presidential Baseball Tournament (organized by the JoongAng Ilbo and the Korea Baseball and Softball Association) at Mokdong Stadium in Seoul on June 6. The team overcame the biggest hurdle in its quest to win the presidential title, which hasn’t been won since 1974.
At the center of it all was Jeon “Idoryu” Mir. Jeon batted fourth in the lineup. In his first at-bat, he swung lightly at a pitch off left-hander Jung Hyun-woo in the first inning. Less than a full at-bat later, Jeon exited the dugout and headed to the mound. With a 1-0 lead and runners on second and third in the top of the second inning, he took the mound. Knowing it was going to be a one-run game, Gyeongbuk High head coach Lee Jun-ho quickly called for a pitch.
Unfortunately, Jeon gave up a hit to the first batter, Lee Jae-hyung, to tie the game. However, in the third inning, he piled up outs one after another. In the fifth inning, with the bases loaded, he quickly caught a bunt that was rolling in front of him and turned it into a double play. It was a great display of judgment and athleticism. Despite giving up two runs in the sixth to make it 3-1, Zemir didn’t leave the mound. He threw 102 pitches through the ninth inning, allowing two runs on six hits and three walks with three strikeouts in seven and one-third innings to earn the win. At the plate, he went 3-for-4 with two more hits.
After the game, Zemir said, “It was hot, but I tried not to sag. I gritted my teeth and threw. I pitched early in the game, so I was trying to work the count and try to get guys out, and it worked out. In the second half, my pitches were off-balance and the guys played good defense.”
In the past, there have been many players who have combined two-hitters. Song Jin-woo, Cho Kye-hyun, Lee Dae-jin, Lee Seung-yeop, Ryu Hyun-jin, Kim Byung-hyun, Choo Shin-soo, and Lee Dae-ho were all successful as both pitchers and hitters during their school years. In the 21st century and beyond, the trend has been to focus on one or the other, but with the rise of Shohei Ohtani, there have been a few players who have been able to combine the two.
One player who stands out is Jeon Mir. On the mound, Jeon throws a fastball that reaches 150 kilometers per hour. In 12 official games this year, he’s won four, and in 56 innings pitched, he’s walked 19 and struck out 46. His pitches and mechanics are top-notch.
At the plate, Jeon is just as good. He’s batting .338 (24-for-71) with three home runs and 30 RBIs. He has only struck out 10 times and drawn 21 walks. He has a powerful swing that comes from a solid build. His bat speed is reportedly the fastest among high school hitters.
Gyeongbuk High School won the Cheongryonggi, which was held just before the Presidential Games, and Jeon won the MVP award. Although the Presidential Games were held right after, Jeon showed his true colors. “I’m not physically weak,” he said. I’ve lost some strength, but when I play, I live off of the adrenaline rush,” he laughs.
The draft for the 2024 season is starting to take shape. With Jang Hyun-seok (Masan Yongmago) deciding to head to the United States, left-hander Hwang Jun-seo (Jangchung-go) and right-hander Kim Taek-yeon (Incheon-go) will go to the Hanwha Eagles and Doosan Bears, respectively.
Jeon is expected to be a top first-round pick, alongside the likes of Gangneung High pitcher Cho Dae-hyun, Whimun High pitcher Kim Hwi-gun, and Jangchung High pitcher Yuk Sun-yeop. Coincidentally, his hometown team, the Samsung Lions, could take him. They hold the fourth pick, behind the Lotte Giants. “I was born in Daegu and grew up watching the Samsung dynasty since I was a kid,” said Jeon. I grew up in Daegu and grew up watching the Samsung dynasty. I dreamed of being a professional player, and I can’t help but feel a lot of affection for them,” he said, adding, “I can also play well for other teams.”
Jeon also wants to try his hand at two-hitting in the pros. “If you ask me, I’m confident that I can do both. Of course, I will do my best wherever the coach tells me to, whether it’s pitching or hitting.”스포츠토토
The President’s Cup means a lot to Zemir. He was selected to represent his country at the youth level and this is actually his last high school tournament. “I’m here to win two titles. It’s great to be a youth representative, but right now I’m focused on playing in the Gyeongbuk High uniform.”