The modifier ‘the second Lee Jung-hoo’ was not attached for nothing. Lotte rookie outfielder Kim Min-seok (19) is getting hotter as days get hotter in May. Lotte fans’ interest and love for him grew rapidly.
Min-seok Kim made a big success with 3 hits and 2 RBIs in 5 at-bats, including his first home run in his professional debut, against Hanwha in Daejeon on the 18th, leading Lotte to a 7-3 victory. Following the match against Hanwha on the 16th, it was already the third game in May with three hits in two consecutive games. With a hot drive, he emerged as the vanguard of Lotte’s batting line.
The day before (the 17th), feeling tight in his thighs, Min-seok Kim, who took a day off and played against Hanwha on the 18th, opened the game with a home run as the lead batter from the first at-bat in the first inning. Hanwha starting pitcher Jang Min-jae hit a 135km fastball that came high in the middle of the 4th pitch and crossed the right wall. Distance 120m, first beastly home run in debut.
After the game, Kim Min-seok said, “I think it took almost a year after I hit a home run in high school. He practiced hitting with his legs up a lot for an outfield fly from the time he practiced before the game, and from the first at-bat, good results came out,” he said. When he saw the opponent’s right fielder give up while defending, he thought it was over.” Kim Min-seok, who gave the fan who picked up the home run ball five autographed balls from himself and his seniors and returned them, was delighted, saying, “I’ll leave it next to the first hit ball.”
Kim Min-seok, who was a youth representative and attracted attention as a batting talent comparable to Whimoon High School senior Lee Jung-hoo, joined Lotte in the 3rd overall in the first round this year. After adjusting with a .482 OPS in 19 games in April (11-for-56), he hit 3.7-8 (14-for-37) with a .939 OPS in 10 games in May. started to explode.
Lotte manager Larry Sutton said, “He has the instincts of a baseball player that is difficult to see as a 19-year-old. He plays hitting, defense, and running as maturely as a player over 25 years old,” he said.
Regarding his performance in May, Kim Min-seok said, “Eat well, sleep well, and always receive help from coaches. This is thanks to hitting coach Lee Byeong-gyu and run production coach Baek Jin-jin, who taught me the batting form and the type of pitcher pitching well,” he gave credit to the coaches.
Lotte fans recognized the star name of Kim Min-seok, who is good at baseball in addition to his tall appearance. With only his performance, he has already become the number one player in uniform sales, beating out prominent seniors in Lotte, which boasts the most popularity in the KBO League. In April, he was third after Jeon Jun-woo and Han Dong-hee, but in May, along with his great success, Kim Min-seok’s uniform sold like hot cakes, rising to the top of the team.
Kim Min-seok said, “I was surprised when my friends told me about it. Thank you to the fans. I will show you how to do better on the ground so that I do not regret buying my uniform,” he said. There are many fans who recognize Kim Min-seok at a restaurant near Sajik Stadium in Busan and pay for the meal.
The overall performance of the season also rose to .269 batting average (25 hits in 93 bats), 1 home run, 12 RBIs, 5 steals, and .664 OPS in 29 games. If he continues his May pace, he could lead the Rookie of the Year race. Lotte’s last rookie of the year was pitcher Yeom Jong-seok in 1992, a whopping 31 years ago. It is also the year Lotte won the last Korean Series.
Kim Min-seok said,안전놀이터 “I don’t have any thoughts about the Rookie of the Year yet. First of all, I think that our team needs to do well in order to become the rookie of the year. When the team does well, the performance of each individual also improves. As long as I do my job well, the result will be decided in heaven.”