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Lee Jung-hoo (25, Kiwoom Heroes), the grandson of the wind, continued his superstar reputation after Lee Seung-yeop (currently Doosan Bears) retired. He recorded a career batting average of 0.340 over the past seven seasons (2017-2023), beating the late (姑) Jang Hyo-jo to second place and ranking first in this category. In the 2022 season, he won the MVP of the regular season by winning five batting medals, and collaborated with his father Lee Jong-beom (current LG Twins coach) to win the first-ever '父 MVP'.
Lee Jung-hoo made his debut in 2017, when Lee Seung-yeop announced his retirement and spent his last season. Having established himself as a representative Korean baseball player, he will knock on the door of the Major League Baseball through a posting system (closed competitive bidding) after this season. MLB's representative team, the New York Yankees, and the Western District's popular team, the San Francisco Giants, are paying attention to him.
The KBO League, as well as Kiwoom, where Lee Jung-hoo played, should prepare for the era of "Post Lee Jung-hoo." There are players who have revealed the quality of his successor this season.
Lotte Giants rookie Kim Min-seok (19) is the representative player. He had a batting average of 0.258 (101 hits in 391 at-bats) in 126 games (as of the 12th) that he played this season. On the 11th, he recorded four hits in the match against Doosan Bears in Busan to complete 101 hits in the season, achieving the 8th record of "three-digit hits in his debut season as a high school graduate." This record was made by Kim Jae-hyun, Lee Seung-yeop, Park Jin-man, Jung Sung-hoon, Lee Jung-hoo, Kang Baek-ho, and Moon Hyun-bin (2023 season).
Just because a rookie player can play more than 400 at-bats, he has been recognized for his outstanding qualities. On top of that, he displayed his contact skills. Of course, it is inferior to Lee Jung-hoo's debut season (2017), which broke the record of the most hits (179) and runs (111) along with the .300 batting average (0.324), but it has proved enough of its extraordinary qualities and raised expectations that it can be better. He was named an All-Star and even recognized for his star quality.
Kim Min-seok happens to be Lee Jung-hoo's direct junior at Hwimoon High School. Lee Jung-hoo, who has heard his performance well since high school, encouraged him, who made him a role model, saying, "He is a player who can be a better hitter than me."
Kiwoom outfielder Lee Ju-hyung (22) is also available. He filled in well in his position (center fielder) and batting order (No. 3) after Lee Jung-hoo left in July due to a left ankle injury. He was selected by the LG Twins in the second round of the 2020 second rookie draft, and he was traded for Kiwoom starter Choi Won-tae in July and wore Kiwoom's uniform.
Lee Ju-hyung, who has consistently received opportunities to play, finally proved his ability. He had a batting average of 0.337 (65 hits in 193 at-bats) in 49 games he played after moving to Kiwoom. It ranks 11th in the entire league during this period.
LG batting coach Lee Ho-joon, one of the Korean baseball legends, is said to have been advised by Lee Ju-hyung to never change his batting posture. In other words, he was recognized for his sophisticated swing even when he was a 1.5th-tier player. On top of that, he has excellent pioneering skills. If you gain more experience in coping with breaking balls and fighting numbers, Kiwoom's representative batter will follow Lee Jung-hoo.
Hanwha Eagles Moon Hyun-bin (19), who made a triple-digit hit (7th all-time) as a rookie this season before Kim Min-seok, is also a player with great growth potential. Kang Baek-ho (KT Wiz), who was considered a rising star in the KBO League along with Lee Jung-hoo, also led the national team to win the gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG), which ended on the 8th, setting the stage for another leap forward.
Friday, October 13, 2023