LG, which has been in first place for three months, is looking to win its first title in 29 years. With a 5.5-game lead over second-place KT, the team is starting to solidify its position, but there’s no peace of mind until the moment of finalization. While it’s hard enough to think about the rest of the season and fall baseball, LG head coach Yeom Kyung-yeop is also looking to the future.
Outfielder Lee Jae-won and pitcher Lee Jung-yong are scheduled to enlist in the military after this season. The two players initially applied to the Commerce Baseball Organization to enlist after last year’s season and passed the first round of screening, but withdrew their plans after Yeom’s appointment. After interviews with the players, they decided to play for another year.
Lee was unable to fulfill his potential due to injuries, including an oblique muscle injury before the season and a thigh muscle injury in May. It was a disappointing season for Lee, who split time between the first and second teams, batting 2-for-6 (20 for 97) with three home runs, 17 RBIs and a .626 OPS in 50 games. He was given a chance as a right-handed pinch-hitter, but didn’t make much of an impact, going 2-for-15 with two RBIs.
With Lee Jae-won joining the military after the season, Yeom has his eye on rookie catcher Kim Bum-seok. Kim, who has a lot of potential as a catcher, showed flashes of promise in 58 games in the Futures League this year, batting 28-for-56 (196 RBI) with six home runs, 31 RBI and a .789 OPS. He is rehabbing from a shoulder injury that ended his six-game stint last month, but Yoon envisions him as a first-team right-handed hitter next year.
Yoon said, “If Lee Jae-won goes to the army, I’m thinking of Kim Bum-seok as a substitute. He should play catcher, his original position, but I’m going to have him practice first base until his shoulder improves. We don’t have enough right-handed hitters.” This year, LG is the only one of the 10 teams with no pinch-hit home runs and is ranked fifth in batting average (.213).
Lee Jae-won is having a disappointing season, but Lee Jung-yong is glad he delayed his enlistment. In 32 games (62 innings) this year, Lee is 7-1 with a 4.06 ERA, three saves, one hold, and 40 strikeouts. He struggled a bit in relief, but after making the switch to starting in late June, he settled into the rotation, going 4-1 with a 3.29 ERA in nine games (41 innings). His successful transition has been a huge boost for LG’s starting rotation, which has been stretched thin by poor performances and injuries to foreign pitchers.
It was unfortunate that he had to enlist just as he was beginning to establish himself as a starter, but he couldn’t put it off any longer. “It’s a shame, but I have to deal with the military anyway. I think if he goes to Commerce as he is now, he can become a full starter in three years. When he comes back later, we will have three solid starters.” 온라인카지노
“During Lee’s absence, we will fill the starting lineup with young pitchers such as Kim Yun-sik, Lee Min-ho, Kang Hyo-jong, and Lee Ji-gang. By the time Lee Jung-yong returns, these players will be enlisted in the army, and the cycle will be complete,” he said. As for Yoo Young-chan, who has been talked about as a possible starter after the season, the team will continue to develop him as a closer.
The 10 new faces selected in the rookie draft on April 14 will also be checked out soon. “Next week, I will watch the videos of the rookies and brief them with the club. If we like what we see in the final camp, we may bring one or two to next year’s spring training. We need more infield backups.” Yeom has a history of taking rookies who weren’t first-round picks to spring training to see if they have potential or to use them immediately, including Kim Ha-seong and Kim Taek-hyung at Nexen, Choi Ji-hoon at SK, and Park Myung-geun at LG this year.