“Of course it works here” Lee Gu-dongseong of the big leaguers who experienced Lee Jung-hoo 

Can another Korean big leaguer be born in 2024?

Kiwoom Heroes outfielder Lee Jeong-hoo메이저놀이터 (25) announced early on that he would advance to the big leagues after the 2023 season. He has also received permission from his team. After the season is over, it is possible to sign a contract with a major league club through the posting system.

The current situation is a bit worrying. As of the 25th, he has a batting average of 0.257, on-base percentage of 0.347, slugging percentage of 0.377, 3 homers and 21 RBIs in 42 games. Batting average in the 20% range, on-base percentage in the 30% range, and slugging percentage are somewhat unfamiliar numbers to him, who reigned as the best hitter in the KBO League.

Lee Jung-hoo will challenge to advance to the major leagues after the 2023 season. Photo = MK Sports DB
Of course, one season of sluggishness will not change the evaluation of him greatly. This is because the big league clubs would have been steadily observing him from before and accumulating data.

Unless we have mind reading, we can’t read the minds of big league decision makers. Instead, we can ask those who have experienced him directly or indirectly for their thoughts.

We asked major leaguers who played against him or who played together as a team for their thoughts on Lee Jung-hoo.

Merrill Kelly “The most outstanding player in the KBO”
Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly played for the SK Wyverns (currently SSG Landers) from 2015 to 2018. He has a career record of 7 hits, 3 walks and 2 strikeouts in 15 at-bats against Lee Jung-hoo.

“It’s already been five years since I’ve dealt with him,” said Kelly, recalling the past for a moment. “I remember dealing with him. As for his talent, he was a standout. Compared to many players in the league, he was a player with better skills overall, so he had to stand out,” recalled Lee Jung-hoo.

He continued, “I hit a ball that others couldn’t hit easily. You can also find out by looking at the video. He gave an evaluation of him, saying, “The technique of attacking the bad ball is really good.”

He said, “The level of the major leagues is higher than that of the KBO league, so no one knows what will happen, but I think there will be a pretty good chance to succeed here.”

He laughed at the question,’If the club asks, would you recommend it? There are a lot of left-handed outfielders on our team, so I’m honestly not sure if he’s right for our team right now,” he answered honestly.

At the same time, he again highly evaluated his chances of success, saying, “It is true that there is a high possibility of success here.”

Tommy Edman: “Any team would be lucky if they signed him”
St. Louis Cardinals infielder Tommy Edman, who played with Lee Jeong-hoo at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) last March, called him “a great player.” He said, “He is a player who handles good at-bats, has good defense, and has fast feet, so he has good base running ability. He is a player who is evenly good at everything,” and highly evaluated Lee Jung-hoo’s potential.

He continued, “I think he has the ability to show good performance here. I look forward to seeing what he will show.” “If the team asked, I would definitely recommend it. Any team would be lucky to sign him.”

In addition to asking, he also asked about the experience of participating in the WBC as a Korean player. “The players and coaches all welcomed me, and I had a chance to meet Korean fans,” he described participating in the tournament as a “fun experience.”

Regarding the disappointing result (2 wins, 2 losses, being eliminated in the first round), “When I go to a tournament, of course I want to win. It was a competition with great teams, and I don’t think we really showed our full potential. It’s what happens in baseball. Sometimes things don’t work out the way you want,” he said, swallowing regret.

Ben Lively “If Kim Ha-sung can come, Lee Jung-hoo can come too”
Ben Lively, who joined the Samsung Lions during the 2019 season, played until the 2021 season, and currently belongs to the Cincinnati Reds, recalled memories of Lee Jung-hoo, saying, “A really talented young player.”

He recorded 5 hits in 13 at-bats, 1 walk, and 1 strikeout against Lee Jung-hoo, saying, “It was difficult to fight with him. Many Korean batters like fastballs, and he was also a hitter who was good at hitting balls that came into the strike zone. He’s very patient, and it’s a number that makes it difficult for pitchers.”

When asked if he also thinks Lee Jung-hoo can work in the big leagues, he said, “of course.” He also added, “If Kim Ha-seong can come here, he can come here too.”

A payoff pitch is a ball thrown by a pitcher on a full count of 3 balls and 2 strikes. If translated, it would be about ‘crystal ball’. This ball can be a heavy fastball, sometimes a sharp breaking ball, and sometimes a misfire. Just as the ball that leaves the pitcher’s hand no longer belongs to the pitcher, the text that leaves the reporter’s hand no longer belongs to the reporter. It is up to you, the reader, to judge.

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