When Lee Jung-hoo (25) announced his intention to play in the major leagues, big league seniors offered support and advice.
After winning five batting titles (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and RBI) and the league MVP last season, Lee developed into one of the best hitters in the KBO, announcing his intention to play in the major leagues in a post after the season ended. While his season didn’t live up to expectations due to early-season injuries and slumps, he finished the year with a respectable .861 OPS with six home runs and 45 RBIs in 86 games (330 at-bats, 105 hits).
Lee had a lot of major league scouts following him from spring training. During the season, many major league scouts and officials visited Gocheok SkyDome. For the last home game of the season, San Francisco general manager Pete Putilla came to Gocheok Dome to watch Lee’s last at-bat. While the postseason is still underway in both the KBO and Major League Baseball, expectations for Lee’s big contract are already rising, and even seniors who are already playing in the major leagues have praised him.
Ryu Hyun-jin (Toronto), the best performing Korean major leaguer from the KBO, said, “Lee Jung-hoo is the best hitter in Korea. If he adapts to the major leagues quickly, I think he will be competitive enough,” said Ryu, who is optimistic about Lee’s chances of success in the major leagues.
Kim Ha-seong (San Diego), who played with Lee in Kiwoom and had a career-high season in his third year in the major leagues, said, “I don’t have any advice for him. He’s a very complete hitter. I think if he sees a lot of major league pitchers from spring training and adjusts to them, he’ll have good results. It’s not an easy place, so I would tell him to prepare well.” He continued, “Jung-hoo can hit, field, and run the bases. That’s her strength. If she competes with enough foreign players, she won’t lose,” he said, explaining her strengths.
Bae Ji-hwan (Pittsburgh), who is younger than Lee but made his major league debut and is in his second season this year, said, “I hope (Lee) comes to the major leagues with a good contract. Even players who have never been to the major leagues know how hard it is. But because he’s already the best player in Korea, he deserves to be in the major leagues. I don’t have anything to say about baseball. Rather, I have to learn,” he said, cheering for Lee to reach the major leagues.
Lee is highly regarded for his ability to make contact, with a career batting average of .344 (1181 hits in 3,476 at-bats) in the KBO, and for his ability to draw more walks (383) than strikeouts (304). On the other hand, there are mixed reviews about his power to hit home runs. Nevertheless, since he is trying to make it to the major leagues at such a young age, many clubs are interested in his skills and potential. 메이저놀이터
If you look at the major teams that are reported to be interested in Lee through local media in the United States, there are many big-market teams that Korean baseball fans are familiar with, including the Yankees, San Francisco, San Diego, and the Dodgers. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Lee could get a bigger contract than expected if the competition for him heats up.
Following in the footsteps of Kang Jeong-ho, Park Byung-ho (KT), Kim Ha-seong, and others who have made it to the major leagues from Kiwoom, fans are eager to see what kind of contract Lee will receive and where he will end up.