“I wasn’t sure if I could play first base or the outfield (instead of catcher). But he proved his worth in the second team. He put in a lot of hard work and took advantage of opportunities he created for himself.”
The catcher’s mask is off. His defense at first base and left field isn’t perfect. But the bat is too hot.
That’s why Lee Jung-hoon, 29, of the Lotte Giants, is getting a lot of attention. He’s batting 4-for-2 in the second half (45-for-19) with seven home runs. He’s the only Lotte hitter with more than 50 at-bats. Unsurprisingly, he leads the team in batting average.
His former team, the KIA Tigers, were well aware of his hitting ability. When he was released last year, there was some concern that he would boomerang. However, KIA couldn’t give him enough first-team opportunities and decided to let him move on.
So he switched to Lotte, but he still struggled in defense. At the time of his transfer, Lee was obsessed with the catcher’s mask. During the exhibition games, he played as a catcher.
But once again, he hit a wall. After giving him plenty of chances, Lotte suggested a switch to first base and left field, which he accepted.
It wasn’t until July 12, just before the All-Star Game, that he made his first appearance for Lotte. But he wowed everyone with a home run in his first at-bat. From there, he earned a spot as a designated hitter.
Recently, he’s also been starting in left field. While his defense is a bit lacking, Lotte has veterans like Jeon Jun-woo and Jeong Hoon Jung-hoon who have played the designated hitter role on a rotating basis. Soon-to-be-returned catcher Yoo Kang-nam also needs to play the position regularly. For this purpose, it’s best to keep the position as empty as possible. The best solution would be for Lee Jung-hoon to settle into left field.
In the weekend’s three-game series against his hometown team, KIA, he added two hits and an RBI. He has also shown strength in the lineup, drawing six walks while striking out eight. 토토사이트
He’s still a little weak at the plate (2-for-2), but that’s something that will improve as he gains more experience. Lee has been an energizer bunny for Lotte’s batting lineup, which has been lacking in power and generally stagnant. In defense, his hustle, such as throwing himself at the fence, is no less than the existing outfielders such as Kim Min-seok, Yoon Dong-hee, and Ahn Kwon-soo.
Lotte manager Larry Sutton said, “We knew he was a good hitter from spring training. We were worried about whether she would fit in well at first base or in the outfield,” he said, “but she proved herself in the second team and took advantage of the opportunities she created.” Now it’s just a matter of leading Lotte into fall baseball and continuing their success in Busan.