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"I was worried about adapting to ML after Lee Jung-hoo..." dispe

Although he has not had a single at-bat in a major league game yet, the club's trust in Lee Jung-hoo (San Francisco Giants) is considerable.

NBC Sports Bay Area, a U.S. media outlet, reported on the 24th (Korea time), "San Francisco's batting coach Pat Burrell knew that Lee Jung-hoo would have no problem adjusting to the Major League." Coach Burrell recently appeared on local TV and told several stories about his team.

A former big league outfielder, Burrell played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco from 2000 to 2011, batting .253 with 292 homers, 976 RBIs and an OPS of 0.834 in 1,640 games. In 2002, he hit 37 home runs. He later became San Francisco batting coach ahead of this season.

Just like Burrell, who recently joined the San Francisco coaching staff, Lee joined the team for the first time. Lee signed a six-year, 113 million U.S. dollars contract with the San Francisco Giants in December last year that includes opt-out conditions after the end of the 2027 season. Only four players, including Lee, have signed contracts worth more than 100 million dollars in the free agent market. This shows that they have high expectations for Lee.

Lee's future has already been determined. San Francisco manager Bob Melvin said of Lee, "If you don't play first before the opening game, you'll be shocked." Explaining Lee's batting style, Melvin said, "It's important to make the ball in the play. In modern baseball, where more strikeouts are made, this is a good look.

Even if you don't hit a strong ball, you never know what will happen if you hit a ground ball."

However, there are concerns over Lee's ability to adapt to the big league. "Lee has never recorded a batting average below 0.318, except for the 2023 season when he failed to finish this season due to injury," the official major league website said last year. "One tool that Lee is missing would be power." "The biggest question mark for Lee is whether he can handle fast balls or not. Most KBO league pitchers cannot throw fast balls faster than 95 mph (152.8 km). This is why Lee needs a lot of effort ahead of the 2023 season."

In addition, Lee has yet to be highly evaluated for his slugging ability in the U.S. According to a scouting report that the U.S. media outlet Baseball America has high reliability in evaluating potential promising players, if a player touches a 60-point range, it is above average and below average in terms of power, at around 45. Oracle Park, the home ground, is also disadvantageous for left-handed batters to produce home runs.

Burrell had similar thoughts. He mentioned his existing concerns, saying, "I don't think differently from you. I'm sure you'll be worried, too." But Lee Jung-hoo, whom I actually met, was a person who would let go of those concerns.

"The day Lee first came out to the batting cage, he said, 'That's not going to be a problem,'" Burrell said. "Lee will make the ball in the play because he is based on his contact ability. I need to get used to the fastballs in Major League Baseball, but I haven't played against them yet." This meant that Lee's ability was enough to adapt.

Burrell also believed in slugging, which was another concern. "I like him because he can put in a lot of balls, but he also has a little bit of slugging," he said. "If he wants to hit balls outside of right field, he can do it," he said. In fact, Lee was spotted hitting home runs several times during practice.

The "Debs Chart," a record-prediction system of the baseball statistics site FanGraphs, reported that Lee Jung-hoo played in 134 games in the 2024 season and recorded a batting average of 0.291 (151 hits in 581 at-bats) with 11 home runs, 54 RBIs, 78 runs on eight steals, and 53 runs scored. He was predicted to strike out 48 times, walk 48 times, have an on-base percentage of 0.354, slugging percentage of 0.431, OPS 0.785, wRC+116, and WAR (which contributed to winning against replacement) 3.2. The computer predicted Lee's successful adaptation.
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Saturday, February 24, 2024
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