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Kiwoom’s outfield without Puig, the competition has become fiercer

 Lee Hyung-jong – Lim Byeong-wook – Lee Yong-gyu, Lee Jeong-hoo and others enter infinite competition for the remaining two spots

Last year’s Korean Series runner-up Kiwoom Heroes finished last year’s season and foreign hitter Yasiel Puyi recorded 15 hits, 2 home runs and 6 RBIs in 14 postseason games. I gave up on renewing my contract with him. This is because after the season, suspicions of illegal gambling broke out locally. And Kiwoom re-recruited infielder Edison Russell, who had 2 homers and 31 RBIs in 65 games wearing a Heroes uniform in 2020, for a total of $700,000.

Ultimately, it is still unknown how Kiwoom’s infield will be run this season, but one thing is clear: With the addition of Russell from the major leagues, the Heroes’ infield has become incomparably stronger than last year. In fact, Kiwoom played the shortstop position after Kim Hye-seong, the ‘Golden Gloves shortstop’ last season, transformed into second base, followed by Kim Hui-jip, Shin Jun-woo, and Kim Joo-hyung, but no player who could be called a ‘built-in starter’ appeared.

In contrast to Kiwoom, whose infield has become stronger with Russell’s addition, the outfield without Puig is clearly less weighty than last year. In fact, the only player who can be called a sure-fire starter in Kiwoom’s outfield is Lee Jeong-hoo, a ‘genius hitter’. However, as Puig, who was a sure starter, was left out, competition in the outfield became more intense than last year. As there is a vacancy due to Puig’s departure, if the players who are aiming for a starter leap are to impress Hong Won-ki, they can be selected as the starting outfielder this season. 

[Hyungjong Lee] Kiwoom’s key player with long hitting power

The club that opened the door to the FA market this winter with a huge amount of over 60 billion won was Kiwoom, which is known for being stingy in investment. On November 19 last year, Kiwoom strengthened the bullpen, which was pointed out as a weakness, by recruiting Won Jong-hyun, who had a total of 82 saves and 86 holds, for a total of 2.5 billion won over 4 years. And on the 24th, 5 days later, outfielder Lee Hyung-jong, who was called the ‘Futures FA Big Fish’, which many clubs coveted, was brought in for a total of 2.5 billion won over 4 years, and they were reinforced.

Lee Hyeong-jong, who joined the LG Twins as a pitcher after receiving a down payment of 430 million won in 2008, spent a short period of wandering before transforming into a beast in 2016. Lee Hyung-jong has played in 624 games for the first team over the past 7 years, recording a batting average of .281, 63 homers, 254 RBIs and 286 runs. In particular, even though he used Jamsil Baseball Stadium as his home, he has such excellent long hitting power that he recorded double-digit home runs for four consecutive years from 2018 to 2021.

However, Hyung-Jong Lee played only 26 games in the first team last season, with three starting pitchers including Kim Hyun-soo, Park Hae-min, and Hong Chang-ki, and promising stars such as Moon Seong-joo and Lee Jae-won, and spent the first season without a home run after transforming into a fielder. The transfer of Lee Hyeong-jong, who had not been able to get many opportunities in the outfield LG, was already announced, and Kiwoom moved quickly and succeeded in recruiting Lee Hyeong-jong, who was considered the biggest player in the Futures FA market.

Lee Hyung-jong got a chance to play an active role as a built-in starter in four years after 2018, when he recorded a batting average of .316, 138 hits, and 83 runs, and 2019, when he posted 120 hits and 63 RBIs. In particular, more long hits are expected at Gocheok Dome than when using Jamsil Baseball Stadium. From the standpoint of Kiwoom, if Hyungjong Lee takes over a spot in the outfield this season, the season management will be much easier. This is why Hyung-jong Lee is bound to be a very important puzzle for Kiwoom’s batting line this season.

[Im Byung-wook] A promising prospect who received more attention than ‘Big Leaguer’ 

Ha-seong Kim In the mid-2010s, the Heroes focused on collecting infielders with excellent athletic ability in the rookie draft. In particular, in the 2014 rookie draft, as many as 3 out of the top 4 rookies were nominated as infielders from the 1st draft to the 2nd and 3rd rounds. ) was And at the time, the player who joined the Heroes as the first nomination much earlier than Ha-seong Kim was Byeong-wook Lim.

Lim Byung-wook, who played both first baseman and shortstop in Deoksu High School, changed his position to an outfielder in 2015, the second year of his professional career, and in 2016, he played an active role as the Heroes’ main center fielder, recording 8 homers, 24 RBIs and 46 points. In 2018, when he posted a record of further growth with a batting average of .293, 13 home runs, 60 RBIs, 76 points and 16 stolen bases in 134 games, most baseball fans believed that Lim Byeong-wook would lead the future of Kiwoom’s outfield along with Lee Jung-hoo in the future.

However, Im Byeong-wook, who fell into a slump in 2019 where he could not hit a single home run in 117 games, only played in 12 games in the first team due to a hamstring injury in 2020. Park Joon-tae and Heo Jeong-hyeop filled the outfield of Kiwoom without Lim Byung-wook, and eventually Lim Byung-wook enlisted in Sangmu to settle his military service after the 2020 season. Lim Byeong-wook also failed to show a clear recovery trend in 2021, 29 games in 2021, and 41 games last year.

When Lim Byeong-wook was active as a starter, his status in the team was so great that even Lee Jung-hoo was pushed out (?) as a right fielder, but currently, expectations are very low due to his sluggish performance over the past 4 years and his military service. However, if Lim Byung-wook recovers his pre-injury skills, his outfield, at least the defense, can become incomparably stronger than before. Coach Hong Won-ki also did not give up hope for Lim Byung-wook’s revival by including him in the roster for Arizona’s spring camp for the first time in three years. 메이저사이트

[Lee Yong-kyu] Will the outfielder with 2000 hits come back?

Total batting average of .296 in 1911 games, 2040 hits, 1160 runs, 392 steals, 3 Golden Glove Awards in the outfield category. In fact, in terms of career alone, it may be a matter of pride that Yong-gyu Lee, who was famous as a national table setter in his heyday, is mentioned along with his juniors. However, since the first team and starting opportunities are not determined by past reputation or career, but by current skills, Lee Yong-kyu of this year, whose heyday has passed, will inevitably compete with his juniors.

Lee Yong-gyu, who left the Hanwha Eagles and signed with the Heroes in November 2020, played in 133 games in left and right field in 2021, recording a batting average of .296, 136 hits, 88 points, and 17 stolen bases, showing off his strength. The annual salary, which was 150 million won including options in 2021, also rose vertically to 400 million won last year. However, Yong-gyu Lee betrayed the expectation that he would play an active role as the Heroes’ built-in outfielder and first hitter, and suffered a slump with a batting average of .199, 54 hits, 34 runs and 12 stolen bases in 86 games last season.

It was the first time in 18 years since his rookie season when he wore an LG uniform and had a batting average of .129 that Yong-gyu Lee stayed in the 10% batting average (At that time, Yong-gyu Lee was traded to the KIA Tigers along with Hyun-woo Hong immediately after the season). Lee Yong-gyu maintained his veteran pride in fall baseball, recording a batting average of .364 (4 hits in 11 at-bats) and 3 runs and 1 stolen base in the semi-playoff against kt wiz, but his salary declined due to the sluggish regular league (400 million won → 300 million won). won) could not be stopped.

If Lee Yong-kyu, who recorded the worst performance since his debut last year, does not show a visible rebound this season, it may be difficult to get another chance in the Heroes. Despite his small stature of 170 cm and 70 kg, Lee Yong-gyu, who showed a remarkable career by surpassing 2,000 hits in his career, will be able to surprise baseball fans with another twist this season, when there are more negative views than positive views on the resurrection.

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