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Belatedly national team at the age of 37 with the free agency Hyeja contract… Heroes catcher, national team ‘hidden hero’ challenge

From the FA contract to the national team at the age of 37.

Kiwoom veteran catcher Lee Ji-young (37) is a former Samsung training player. In the late 2000s, when the rebuilding was in full swing, he played an active part in the first team for a while, but it was in 2013 when he was former manager Ryu Joong-il that he made his name known in earnest. It has established itself as a firm backup for KIA head coach Jin Gap-yong, and he often wore a catcher’s mask when coach Jin was suffering from minor injuries.

From 2014 to 2016, he garnered attention for hitting around the .30. The nickname ‘Cho-goo Ji-young’ also came about during this time. Although his slugging power fell, his accuracy was recognized, and he was also evaluated as gradually opening his eyes to defense, blocking, pitcher lead, and runner check, which are important for catchers. From 2015 he was the de facto starter.

Lee Ji-young, who was like that, joined Kiwoom through a trade ahead of the 2019 season. At that time, Samsung, Kiwoom, and SK conducted a triangular trade. Lee Ji-young moved from Samsung to Kiwoom, Koh Jong-wook moved from Kiwoom to SK, and Kim Dong-yeop moved from SK to Samsung.

Years passed, and Lee Ji-young became the final winner. After the 2019 season, Lee Ji-young signed a 3-year, 1.8 billion won FA contract with Kiwoom and was recognized as a successful baseball player. Koh Jong-wook struggled in SK and started afresh at KIA after being released, and Kim Dong-yeop’s position in Samsung has greatly diminished.

Lee Ji-young recorded batting averages of 0.282, 0.309, 0.275, and 0.267 from 2019 to 2022, respectively. 39, 36, 31, 37 RBIs. She maintains the strength of being a catcher and having good accuracy to the extent that she boasts a career batting average of 0.282. After the 2023 season, he will get free agency again.

In fact, he is both an offensive and defensive player, and a complete catcher. Based on the baseball statistics site Statties, in the 2022 season, WAA 1.001 ranks first in catchers, 994.2 innings ranks second in catchers’ most innings, catchers’ ERA 3.52 ranks fourth, PASS/9 ranks 6th with 0.371, and stealing rate 34% ranks 6th did.

Eventually, at the age of 37, he wore an adult national team uniform for the first time in his life. He is Yang Eui-ui (Doosan)’s backup, but if Yang Eui-ui is replaced as a major runner in the second half of the game, the time to wear a mask can subtly lengthen. Anyway, the players who have to do it in the batting are decided. Lee Ji-young only needs to be faithful to her original role, such as defense, pitcher and fielder lead. He is proof that such ability is highly regarded. He may be the national team’s hidden hero and salt.

Starting with the WBC, he takes on the heavy responsibility of leading Kiwoom’s first Korean Series championship in the 2023 season. If you get to know him, he is also a player with good leadership. During last season, he said “Let’s do XXXX” 스포츠토토 to his juniors. He made an honest confession that he would not hesitate to curse at junior pitchers when they showed unprofessional behavior. He will give more encouragement with nice words, but an organization doesn’t work well when only good words are exchanged all the time. Lee Ji-young’s leadership in the national team and Kiwoom is expected to be of great help.