There is a player Lee Kang-chul, the coach of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) baseball team, relies on. It is Yang Eui-ji (Doosan), the national team’s main catcher.
Coach Lee Kang-cheol said at the WBC official press conference held on the 16th, “Eui-ji Yang’s performance in international competitions is not good when looking at the record, but since there are many pitchers with less experience, I am thinking of using it that way and giving it a comfortable batting order.” .
Yang Eui-ji is the catcher representing the KBO League. In this Stove League, he signed a free agent (FA) contract with Doosan for a total of 15.2 billion won over 6 years (4+2 years), the highest ever.
Yang Eui-ji, who joined Doosan in 2006 after graduating from Jinheung High School, had a career batting average of 0.307, a career OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.892, 228 home runs, and 994 RBIs until last year, showing outstanding performance in offense and defense. He also achieved seven Golden Glove awards, the most ever for a catcher.
However, in international competitions, the results are not very good. Yang Eui-ji, who wore the Taegeuk mark for the first time at the 2015 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier 12, played as the main catcher for the national team until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, his career batting average in international competition was only 0.169 (14 hits in 83 at-bats) with one home run. In particular, at the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021, the batting average was only 0.136 in 7 games, and the Korean national team suffered a no-medal humiliation.
Yang Eui-ji also expressed his determination, saying, “Recently, I have not been good in the national team, but I think this is the last time for the national team, and I will prepare well and work hard to achieve good results with coach Lee Kang-cheol.”
Coach Lee plans to reduce the burden on Yang Eui-ji and let him focus only on defense. There are many young pitchers in the national team, such as NC Koo Chang-mo, LG Kim Yun-sik, KIA Lee Eui-ri, and Doosan’s Kwak Bin and Jeong Cheol-won.
Director Lee said, “I am also thinking about making the batting order easier so that the best performance can come out in Yang Eui-ji’s position. If Yang Eui-ji wants a comfortable batting order, he will give it to him.” “I think Yang Eui-ji should basically lead the pitcher well. He thinks he should be the primary catcher in that regard,” he explained. 스포츠토토
The national team’s top priority is to win the first match against Australia. Afterwards, in the face-to-face match against Japan, the Czech Republic, and China in Group B, they must finish second in their group to advance to the quarterfinals.
Coach Lee believed Yang Eui-ji was the key to the victory against Australia. For that reason, he said, “In preparation for the game against Australia, we have selected many pitchers who can throw a breaking ball well, so I think Yang will know well and do it. He said, “I have to score to win, but I think it’s important to block it and go.” In addition to Eui-Ji Yang, Ji-Young Lee (Kiwoom) was listed as a catcher resource in the national team’s entry, but Eui-Ji Yang is expected to take on the important role.
Yang Eui-ji’s determination is also different. Right before the Tokyo Olympics, he was put into the competition immediately after a confirmed player from the team came out and quarantined, and he regrets that time. Yang Eui-ji said, “I think it was a lot of pressure to go out without playing a lot while not feeling well.”