‘The 2nd Lee Jung-hoo’, a soft landing in the first year of debut… Is it different from ‘The Second Lee Jong-beom’?

Will Lotte’s rookie batsman Kim Min-seok (19) make a soft landing in his first year as a pro? Kim Min-seok, who struggled with a batting average of 10% in April, is showing adaptability with a batting average close to 30% in May.스포츠토토

Min-seok Kim was nominated by Lotte in the first round of the 2023 rookie draft. He won the Lee Young-min batting award in 2022 during Whimoon High School and raised expectations as the ‘second Lee Jung-hoo’. Lotte selected Kim Min-seok in the first round (3rd place), excluding pitcher Shin Yeong-woo and catcher Kim Beom-seok of Gyeongnam High School in the area related to Lotte. Among the players nominated in the first round by 10 clubs, Kim Min-seok was the only fielder other than pitcher and catcher. To that extent, Lotte highly evaluated Kim Min-seok’s potential.

Kim Min-seok showed a sharp blow that was not like a rookie in the spring camp, and recorded a batting average of 2.27 0.3 (6 hits in 22 bats) in the demonstration game. He was included in the opening squad and has remained in the first team squad ever since.

Kim Min-seok, who was an infielder in high school, changed his position to an outfielder after joining Lotte. They are more competitive in the outfield than in the infield with Ahn Chi-hong, Noh Jin-hyuk, and Han Dong-hee.

Kim Min-seok only had a batting average of 109 06 (11 hits in 56 at-bats) for the month of April. In May, he is on an upward curve with a batting average of 2.9 6 Lee (8 hits in 27 at-bats). His batting average in the last 10 games since the end of April has been good at 30.2 4 Lee.

Kim Min-seok played as a top hitter in the match against KT in Suwon on the 14th and played an active role with 2 hits, 1 RBI and 1 point in 5 at-bats. When Lotte scored first in the first inning and additional points in the fourth inning, Kim Min-seok’s hit was decisive.

In the first inning, the curve that fell outside of the KT selection exclusion made a hit only with the strength of the wrist. In the 4th inning, 2nd out, 1st and 3rd base, a fast ball to the body was made into a timely hit with 1 RBI falling on the left line with an in-and-out swing.

SBS Sports commentator Lee Jong-yeol, who relayed the match, admired, “Can a 19-year-old rookie player hit like this? It’s instinct.” 

It is not easy for a high school graduate rookie hitter to get good grades right away in his first year as a pro. Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom) and Kang Baek-ho (KT), who are considered genius hitters, are rare. Kim Min-seok’s professional adaptation reminds me of KIA Kim Do-young (20), who joined last year and gathered expectations as the ‘second Lee Jong-beom’.

Kim Do-young, who received great expectations by winning first place in the batting average with a high batting average of 4.3 2 in the demonstration game of the 2022 season, made his professional debut as the top hitter in the opening game. He went hitless in four at-bats in the opening game and suffered growing pains after going hitless in 19 consecutive at-bats in five games.

In the end, Kim Do-yeong realized the wall of a professional with a batting average of 107 90 (15 hits in 84 at-bats) for the month of April. Since then, his business trip opportunities have declined. He had a batting average of 2.4 3 in May (9-for-37) and a batting average of . 2.3 1 in June (3-for-13).

In the second half, his batting average improved, but his hitting opportunities were few. He seemed to show some adaptability in the second half with a batting average of 2.8 and 3, but he did not receive many opportunities for appearances as he went 17 hits in 60 at-bats.

In the first year of his debut, Kim Do-young recorded an OPS of .674 with 3 home runs and 13 stolen bases in 103 games with a batting average of 2.3 7 Lee (53 hits in 224 at-bats). As of the 15th, Kim Min-seok is recording a batting average of .2029 (19 hits in 83 at-bats), 3 steals, and an OPS of .546 in 27 games. Kim Min-seok is expected to continue to receive business opportunities for the time being as Hwang Seong-bin left the outfield due to an injury at the end of April. Kim Min-seok, who aims for ‘100 hits’ in his first year of debut, becomes curious about his report card after the season ends. 

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