Kiwoom Heroes blocked ‘Lee Jung-hoo variable’ in advance. It is evaluated that the outfield depth (player base) has been solidly built.
The biggest variable that will influence Kiwoom’s team performance this season is Lee Jung-hoo (25). Lee Jung-hoo, who was included in the final entry for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) to be held in March, is highly likely to be selected for the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) in September. The importance of taking care of one’s body is emphasized more than any other year as athletes have to compete without rest throughout the year. In particular, for Kiwoom, professional baseball is scheduled to be played without interruption during the AG period, so the burden is not small. This is because they have to fight for rankings without a leading player.
Lee Jung-hoo’s role in the team is quite large. Lee Jung-hoo was responsible for 24.4% of all team home runs and 19.6% of team RBIs last year. The defense that holds the center of the center line also had no chance to leak. He showed his unrivaled presence by winning 5 league batting crowns and winning the MVP award. If he gets injured or leaves the team for a while due to the national team schedule, his ‘homework’ is to fill his vacancy. Kiwoom is preparing for emergency situations early by securing considerable outfield resources.
Lee Hyeong-jong, who was recruited as a free agent (FA) in the Futures (second team) league in November last year, is a representative example. Hyungjong Lee’s first-team career batting average is 0.281 (544 hits in 1936 at-bats), which is in compliance. Beginning in 2018, he also hit double-digit home runs (63 in his career) for four consecutive years. In the LG Twins, he gave up the starting lineup, but Kiwoom signed a contract with him for 4 years and up to 2 billion won. 메이저사이트
Lim Byung-wook, who was discharged last September, is also a plus factor. Lim Byung-wook, who joined the team as a first-choice in 2014, stood out in 2018 by hitting a double-digit home run. He has since been called an ‘unfinished stand-by’ as he has been plagued by small injuries, but he is expected to play more games this season.
The value of using veteran Lee Yong-kyu is still there. He played in 86 games last year and had a batting average of 0.199 (54 hits in 271 bats). He also bottomed out in both on-base percentage (0.326) and slugging percentage (0.221). However, he was used throughout the postseason and once again confirmed the trust of coach Hong Won-ki Kiwoom. Director Hong also said, “The grades weren’t good, but (Lee Yong-gyu) played a leadership role in the dugout and clubhouse. Thanks to that, the team didn’t shake much. I’m grateful.” Lee Yong-kyu’s wide range of defense and starting pitching are still top-notch in the league. In addition, there are various cards that can be played, including Lim Ji-yeol, who hit a surprise home run in last year’s postseason, Kim Jun-wan, and Park Ju-hong. The number of options has increased to the extent that due to tactics are possible.
The reason why they recruited infielder Edison Russell as a foreign hitter is because of the richness of the outfield. Russell is the main shortstop who led the Chicago Cubs to the World Series championship in 2016. He briefly played for Kiwoom as a substitute in June 2020, but returned to the United States due to a failed contract renewal. Ko Hyeong-wook, general manager of Kiwoom, said, “I thought a lot about which position our team needed.”
Even just a few years ago, Kiwoom’s outfield was a ‘weakness’. He was even snooping around the release player market. But things have changed. General Manager Ko Hyeong-wook welcomed, saying, “I think there will be some synergy effect as the competition in the outfield has intensified.”