• August 25, 2023

“I’m hitting better than I did when I was in the second team.” You’re gonna be the second-best shortstop in Hanwha history.

“He’s hitting better than when he was in the second team.”

Whenever Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho talks about infielder Lee Do-yoon, 27, a smile spreads across his face. After being given a chance as a starting shortstop under Choi Won-ho, the water has risen to the point where he’s batting over .300. His batting has also improved, shedding the image of a second-team, backup, defensive player.

In 66 games this season, Lee is batting 2-for-9 (54-for-185) with one home run, 10 RBI, seven doubles, and a .720 OPS. After being called up to the first team in late May, his batting average went from 2.4 through June to over 2.9 in July (.290) and August (.379).

He had back-to-back three-hit games in his first two starts against Doosan in Daejeon on Dec. 12-13 and then hit his first homer of the season against Samsung Electronics in Daejeon on Dec. 22. In his last 10 games, he is batting 4-for-5 with 15 RBI in 33 at-bats. He has been batting in the lower order of the batting order of 8-9, but is now often deployed in the second spot.

Choi Won-ho, who has watched Lee closely since taking over as the first team coach in 2020 and then as the Futures coach, said, “He’s doing very well beyond my expectations. He plays better than when he was in the second team.” In fact, Lee’s career batting average in eight seasons in the Futures League is 2.7 pounds, 3 ounces, and he is performing better in the first team this year.

The right-handed hitting infielder, who was drafted by Hanwha with the 24th overall pick in the third round of the 2015 draft out of North Ilsan High School, spent most of his time in the second team until 2020. In 2018, he distinguished himself in the Futures League by batting .282 (85-for-282) with seven home runs and 38 RBIs in 83 games, but was unable to break through the veteran’s wall and was called up to active duty.

After serving his time, he was called up to the first team at the end of the 2020 season. He made the jump from the second team to the first team, but was limited to a backup role instead of a starter. He was recognized for his all-around defense in the infield, but his bat was a question mark. This year, he started the season in the second team again, but he seized the opportunity presented by Park’s slump and Oh’s injury and has been the starting shortstop for three months since the end of May.

Ha Joo-seok, who had been the starting shortstop until last year, was released from his DUI suspension and returned to the first team, but Lee Do-yoon won the competition. The more he plays, the better his defense and batting skills become. In the beginning, he was mainly attacking fastballs in fast counts, but nowadays, he is fighting longer counts and has improved his ability to handle changeups. His home run against Oh Seung-hwan in the ninth inning of the 22nd game against Samsung Electronics was a 138-kilometer slider that landed low on his body.

Hanwha hitting coach Jung Hyun-seok said, “He basically had the hitting skills, but it took him a long time to establish himself in the first team. He trained hard, but as he continued to play, he adapted to the first team pitchers’ pitches, which (technically) were more likely to be line drives than fly balls. “It’s a step up for me,” he said, adding, “I don’t think it’s a one-time thing.” He is confident in his continued performance.

Lee, who was promoted from the first team at the end of May, will play at full strength for the remainder of the season, but will not be able to get regular at-bats. Even if he doesn’t get a regular at-bat, expectations for a triple-digit batting average are high. The only other shortstop in Hanwha’s history to hit .301 in regulation was Lee Dae-soo (.301) in 2011. Lee, who is now the head coach of SSG Futures, won a Golden Glove that year after batting .301 (110-for-366) with eight home runs, 50 RBIs, and a .786 OPS in 122 games. 메이저사이트

Aside from Lee, no other Hanwha shortstop has ever hit over .300. You can’t even lower the bar to more than 200 non-regular at-bats. The closest was Jang Jong-hoon (.290), who hit 28 home runs for the Binggrae in 1990. At this rate, Lee could become the second Hanwha shortstop in 12 years and the first since Lee Dae-soo.

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