After the Korean baseball team won the gold medal at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, Kiwoom coach Hong Won-ki was pleased in two ways.
I was happy to see the juniors return home having achieved their original goal of winning a gold medal.
He was also relieved to think of the key players receiving military service benefits from this gold medal.
This was especially true of Kim Hye-seong (24), a key player of the team.
Kim Hye-seong, who graduated from Dongsan High School and joined the team after being drafted in the 2nd first round (7th overall) in 2017, has now grown into a top infielder in the league who is indispensable to the team and national team. 안전놀이터
He broke the .300 barrier (.304) for the first time in 2021 and recorded a batting average of .300 for the first time in three years.
It also continues to rise.
His batting average, which was 0.304 in 2021, rose from 0.318 last year to 0.335 this year.
2023 was the best year of my personal career.
It was no exaggeration to say that he set career highs in both offense and defense.
Kim Hye-seong, who remained below the league average in adjusted scoring production (wRC+) until 2020, recorded 142.1 (based on Stats) this year, showing an all-round performance with enviable offense
the best base running ability in the league, and defense that can be used as a second baseman or shortstop.
I became a player. In addition, the obstacle to military service was also resolved by winning a gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Hye-Sung Kim is currently receiving attention from major league scouts.
Some say that he is not a player with outstanding slugging power and that it is difficult for him to succeed in the major leagues
but an increasing number of people are paying attention to his strengths and usability that can enable him to succeed in the major leagues.
His quick feet are suitable for the running baseball of the major leagues, which began to emerge after the pitch clock, and his defensive usability
which allows him to play second base and shortstop if necessary, also fits the current trend.
Now that Lee Jeong-hoo’s advance to the major leagues is certain, Kiwoom, which has fallen to the bottom this year, must establish a new pillar.
The right person for that role is Kim Hye-seong.
Kiwoom coach Hong Won-ki said, “If Kim Hye-seong didn’t win the gold medal this year
she would have been a candidate for enlistment.
But fortunately, Kim Hye-seong will be able to join us next season as well.
It means that if he hadn’t won the gold medal, he could have gone to the military.
Director Hong expected, “Kim Hye-seong should take on the central role that Lee Jeong-hoo is missing.”
It is also nice to see that there is another future pillar.
Like Kim Hye-sung, this is a talent that may not be in Kiwoom’s lineup in 2024.
This is outfielder Lee Joo-hyung (22).
Lee Joo-hyung, who was highly anticipated for his batting talent and was selected in LG’s second round (13th overall) in 2020
returned to the team this year after resolving his military issue early on.
However, he transferred to Kiwoom during the Choi Won-tae trade last July.
There weren’t many opportunities in LG’s thick outfield. The main players with good skills were solid.
In addition, with the team having to run for the championship right away, there were no conditions for experimenting with new players.
Kiwoom’s environment is quite different.
There is an empty outfield spot for Lee Jung-hoo right now, and this is a team that is not stingy about actively hiring new players.
For Lee Joo-hyung, this is an opportunity.
He has already received a lot of attention.
He has performed well since the transfer.
From afar, it looked as if Lee Jeong-hoo was hitting it. His form was similar and the results were good.
He was able to appease the disappointment of Choi Won-tae’s transfer by recording a batting average of 0.326, 6 home runs
36 RBI, and OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.897 in 69 games of the season. Based on this year’s performance
he is expected to start the season as the starting outfielder next year.
There is a high possibility that a significant portion of Lee Jeong-hoo’s position will be taken over.
Director Hong also pointed out Lee Joo-hyung as one of the key players who will support Kim Hye-seong.
Coach Hong said, “With Kim Hye-sung at the center, players like Lee Joo-hyung should work next to him.
If Kim Hye-sung takes over Lee Jeong-hoo’s pillar duties and Lee Joo-hyung takes over Lee Jeong-hoo’s functional aspects
Kiwoom’s outlook for next year is not bleak.