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“Why were you released?”… The telepathy of the teacher and the general manager, an unfinished prospect who received a chance to become a ‘sniper’

The Lotte Giants had a busy winter this winter, one of the top 10 clubs. Pitcher Park Se-woong signed a multi-year non-FA contract, and catcher Yoo Gang-nam and infielder Noh Jin-hyuk were recruited from the free agent market. The release player market was also busy. By recruiting pitchers Shin Jeong-rak, Kim Sang-soo, Yoon Myeong-jun, and Cha Woo-chan, they added veteran experience to the pitching staff. In addition, left-handed catcher Lee Jung-hoon and outfielder Ahn Kwon-soo were recruited to enrich the first-team player base.

Catcher Lee Jung-hoon, who has hitting potential, was released from the KIA after this season. After graduating from Whimoon High School and Kyunghee University, he entered the professional league after being nominated in the 2nd 10th round of the 2018 rookie draft. He was an immature prospect, focused on his hitting talent rather than his value as a catcher. 

Group 2 was balanced. He recorded a batting average of .302, 349 hits, 30 home runs, and 16 stolen bases with an OPS of .942 in 375 games with the second team. He also recorded .942 OPS with 69 hits, 3 home runs and 12 stolen bases in 81 games this year as well. 

However, he had no place in the first team. He recorded a batting average of .229, 36 hits, 2 home runs, 17 RBIs, and an OPS of .645 in 61 games with the first team. He went 0-for-8 in just six games this year. The season in which 2021 received the most opportunities in the first team. In 41 games, he had a batting average of .248, 32 hits, 2 homers, 14 RBIs, and an OPS of .699. Although he lacked competitiveness as a first-team regular catcher, he had room to contribute to the team at bat. In the 2nd group, it is a batting performance that has nothing to prove anymore.

The value of Lee Jung-hoon was highly evaluated both on the field and at the front desk of Lotte. Senior hitting coach Park Heung-sik and general manager Seong Min-kyu, who had seen Lee Jung-hoon as a second-team coach at KIA for a long time, had ‘telepathy’ in relation to Lee Jung-hoon. 

Coach Park Heung-sik said of Lee Jung-hoon, “In fact, the day before the release article came out, (Lee) Jeong-hoon called and knew about the release in advance. He said that he had been released, so I asked back in surprise, 메이저사이트 ‘Why were you released?’ It was Coach Park who felt that the value and potential of Lee Jung-hoon were wasted. A situation where I was able to recommend it to the club.

However, Coach Park did not have to recommend it. After Lee Jung-hoon’s release was made official, general manager Seong Min-gyu called coach Park Heung-sik and asked about Lee Jung-hoon, and the recruiting process went smoothly. Coach Park said, “The day after receiving the call from Jung-hoon, he called the general manager and asked, ‘What do you think about Lee Jung-hoon being released?’” 

Lotte had a lot of trouble with the right left-handed pinch hitter this year. Lotte’s pinch hit batting average this year was .268 (41 hits in 153 at-bats), which was second in the league. Koh Seung-min served as a sniper with 10 hits in 22 at-bats as a pinch hitter and a batting average of .455. Other than Koh Seung-min, right-handed hitters such as Ji Ji-wan (5 hits in 16 at-bats), Shin Yong-soo (6 hits in 15 at-bats), Jung Hoon (3 hits in 13 at-bats), and Han Dong-hee (4 hits in 9 at bats) were pinch hitters. There were no left-handed pinch hitters.

That’s why the card named Lee Jung-hoon was definitely attractive. He was the most appropriate player to expand depth for performance. Lotte did not pass up the opportunity and reached out to Lee Jung-hoon while checking with his past mentor. 

In addition, Lee Jung-hoon is expected to be tested again for his potential as a catcher. Lotte has come to have an unwavering main catcher named Yoo Kang-nam, but if he competes with Ji-wan Ji, Jeong Bo-geun, and Tae-yul Kang while verifying his competitiveness as a backup catcher, it will be an ideal recruitment for Lotte. 

Lotte is a stage of opportunity for promising left-handed hitters. Will Lee Jung-hoon be able to repay the old teacher’s care and the club’s active courtship?


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