The Lotte Giants are struggling to revive the embers of the 5th round.
Standing at the forefront is outfielder Lee Jung-hoon (29).안전놀이터 Called up to the 1st team on the 11th of last month, he had a batting average of .407 (18 hits in 38 at-bats) in 16 games until the match against Gocheok Kiwoom on the 10th. His OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) is 1.133. In three consecutive matches during the week against Kiwoom on the 8th and 10th, which were included in the starting lineup for all three games, he wielded 8 hits in 12 at-bats. Thanks to Lee Jung-hoon’s performance, Lotte finished the Seoul expedition in a good mood by recording a winning series in Kiwoom.
Lee Jung-hoon, who wore the KIA uniform in the 2nd 10th round of the 2017 rookie draft, had a career batting average of 2.29 li until last year. In the 2021 season, a career high record of 41 games batting average (32 hits in 129 bats), 2 homers, 14 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.699. He was a catcher who graduated from college and showed his potential as a mid-long range hitter on the Futures (2nd team) team, constantly aiming for opportunities to play in the 1st team, but it was hard to blossom. He even tried to change his position to first baseman in the 2021 season, which was under manager Matt Williams, but could not solve the chronic defensive anxiety. In the end, when the waiver was announced in October of last year, the KIA uniform was taken off.
When Lee Jung-hoon was sent out last year, KIA had a lot of worries. It was a talent that was a waste to give away easily. After joining, he recorded a batting average of 30% in the Futures League every season except for 2021, and he was a player with quite a lot of utilization, including backup catcher, first base substitute resource, and left-handed batting agent. However, despite his performance at Futures, his chances in the first team were few. In addition to defensive problems, the opportunity to return to Lee Jung-hoon was limited while the left-handed pinch hitter named Ko Jong-wook endured. It’s true that it was a waste to be rotten only as a ‘Futures player’ considering the considerable age of looking at the 30’s. After thinking about it, KIA chose to let go of Lee Jung-hoon. He is a dagger that can come back from the team’s point of view, but he had to consider the player’s future. Lee Jung-hoon, who had been thinking about his retirement at one time, took the hand of Lotte, who was watching his talent, and eventually succeeded in producing results on the first team stage after sweating heavily.
Lee Jung-hoon drew attention for his soft batting form during his KIA days. His natural strength, as well as his contact ability, made him a good hitter. Recently, Lotte has been showing this. Unlike the KIA days when he played as a catcher-first baseman, he changed his position to an outfielder at Lotte. As he is proving his excellent batting talent, if he proves his progress in defense, he is worthy of a full-time starter challenge.