“Now is the time to show young players 스포츠토토.”
Doosan Bears veteran third baseman Heo Kyung-min (33) said this for the first time wearing the captain’s armband in January. It meant that there was a limit to the leap to the upper ranks as a baseball that continued to rely on existing key players such as Yang Eui-ji (36), Kim Jae-hwan (35), Yang Seok-hwan (32), Su-bin Jeong (33), and Kim Jae-ho (38).
It was believed that only when young players, especially fielders, could bring a breath of fresh air to the team, that the dynasty could begin to rebuild. When Doosan stood at the starting line of history in 2015, the first in the KBO to advance to the Korean Series for 7 consecutive years, Kim Jae-hwan, Heo Gyeong-min, Su-bin Su-bin, Park Geon-woo (33, now NC) and Choi Joo-hwan (35, now SSG), who were in their 20s, exploded after being freed from the sadness of their later years of backup. I mean.
Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop thinks the same way. He has steadily encouraged and watched the growth of young beasts from the finish camp in October of last year to the spring camp this year and the current regular season. After the game, even when special hitting was done mainly by backup players, he delayed leaving work to give batting instruction. It can be seen as a leader’s passion, but it can also be seen as an action with a desire for the players to grow faster.
Contrary to the wishes of coach Lee and his seniors, young beasts have yet to create a sensation on the ground. Players who have been left out due to injuries or who are given opportunities are all batting average in the 10% range.
Outfielder Kim Dae-han (23), who coach Lee looked forward to the most before the opening, left due to a finger fracture on the last day of the demonstration game, and outfielder Kim In-tae (29), who has first-team experience, was absent due to a dislocated right shoulder a week after the opening. On the 1st, shortstop Ahn Jae-seok (21), who had been a frequent starter recently, was canceled from the first team entry due to a slight back pain.
Shin Seong-hyeon (33) and Kim Min-hyeok (27), who hoped to add weight to the batting line, failed to live up to expectations. Shin Seong-hyun should be appointed as first and third baseman, and Kim Min-hyeok as first baseman or designated hitter, but there was no room for the two players to play. First baseman Yang Seok-hwan’s wall is very high. Yang Seok-hwan leads the league with 6 homers and is the only 30% hitter in the team with 0.314. In terms of defense, he cannot surpass third baseman Heo Gyeong-min, and the designated hitter is Kim Jae-hwan, who has a bad knee recently.
In the end, I had to produce results in one or two at-bats given as a pinch hitter for each game, but I couldn’t. Shin Seong-hyun had a batting average of 0.083 (1 hit in 12 at-bats) and 1 RBI in 12 games and went down to the 2nd team on the 29th of last month, and Kim Min-hyeok was notified of going to the 2nd team before a week after the opening after only 2 hits in 2 at-bats in 1 game. . Director Lee chose Shin Sung-hyun first between Shin Sung-hyun and Kim Min-hyuk, whose positions overlap, and after watching for another month, even Shin Sung-hyun had to make a decision.
Lee Yu-chan (25), who made a good start as the opening shortstop, had a batting average of 0.188 (9 hits in 48 at-bats), and Ahn Jae-seok, who was Lee Yu-chan’s competitor, had a batting average of 0.186 (7 hits in 43 at-bats). Outfielder Jo Soo-haeng (30), who is starting to play to strengthen the defense in the aftermath of Kim Jae-hwan’s recent knee injury, has a batting average of 0.175 (7 hits in 40 at-bats). Outfielder Song Seung-hwan (23), who mainly works as a pinch hitter, has a batting average of 0.195 (8 hits in 41 bats), and backup catcher Jang Seung-hyun (29) has a batting average of 0.190 (4 hits in 21 bats). Outfielder Yang Chan-yeol (26) recorded a batting average of 0.292 (7 hits in 24 at-bats) with two three-hit games, recording a high batting average among backup players.
The top 10 hitters mentioned above are not players who will simply gain experience as backups, but are players who are needed in the starting lineup right away. This is why coach Lee’s head is complicated even if he holds on with a win rate of 0.522 with 12 wins, 11 losses and 1 draw during the month of April and is tied for 5th place with the KIA Tigers. As of the 1st, Doosan’s team batting average is 0.244, 9th in the league.
The most disappointing thing about the results is, of course, the players. After the game is over, they spend at least 30 minutes with the coaches on a special hit to improve their sense of hitting. Jang Seung-hyun quickly gave up the switch hitter challenge he had prepared all winter and made a decision to focus only on right-handed hitters to survive. Knowing that effort, coach Lee did not touch the first-team fielder entry unless there were injuries during the opening month.
So far, it is no exaggeration to say that young players have kept their place in the first-team entry thanks to Lee’s perseverance. I wonder how long coach Lee’s patience, which he maintained during the opening month, will last.