LG Twins prospect Lee Ju-hyung (22), who was considered to have nothing to verify on the Futures League stage, headed to Kiwoom Heroes, the Land of Opportunity.
Lee Joo-hyung started as the seventh 먹튀검증 batter and left fielder in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League regular season home game against the Samsung Lions at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on the 29th and scored one hit and one run in four at-bats. Kiwoom lost 2-7, but Lee Joo-hyung made a successful debut in his first at-bat with David Buchanan scoring heavy hits and runs after greeting home fans at first base. Kim Tae-jin’s quick foot from second base to the home plate was excellent when he hit a timely hit to the left-center.
Prior to the game, Kiwoom officially announced, “We received the right to nominate infielder Lee Ju-hyung, pitcher Kim Dong-kyu, and the first round of the 2024 rookie draft from LG and made a trade to give up pitcher Choi Won-tae.” This year, Choi Won-tae (26) is playing first-line with 6 wins, 4 losses, and a 3.25 ERA in 17 games. In terms of ERA alone, he is 10th in the league among starting pitchers and 4th among domestic players. Choi Won-tae’s opposite benefit, which was also considered the main chip, was very interested in Lee Ju-hyung. Lee Joo-hyung’s tearful last greeting, which was posted on LG club YouTube after the trade announcement, was so explosive that there were more than 900 comments. At Gocheok Sky Dome, a number of fans who brought Lee Joo-hyung’s LG uniform were caught on the broadcast screen.
It was said that Kiwoom, ranked 9th, gave up the season by giving up the resources for first-line issuance. However, Kiwoom general manager Ko Hyung-wook said on the 29th by phone with Star News, “We can’t give up the season. “There is not a big game gap with the fourth-place NC Dinos (5.5 games).”
Although it is not an easy situation, it was calculated that Choi Won-tae’s vacancy would be blocked by Jung Chan-heon (34) and other starters. Kiwoom is building a solid mound with the first place in the starting ERA league (3.31). With Ahn Woo-jin, Ariel Hurado, Ian McKinney, Jang Jae-young and Jung Chan-heon expected to set up a starting rotation, there is a belief that fifth starter Jung Chan-heon will do his part enough. This season, Jung Chan-heon has a record of 2 wins and 5 losses in 11 games in the first division with a 3.94 ERA and a 2.08 ERA in four Futures games, which is enough as a fifth starter. Head Ko said, “Jung Chan-heon is throwing a good ball in the Futures League. “I thought it wouldn’t be too much of a burden on the starting lineup if I came up to the first division and did it as it was,” he said.
The key is the league’s worst batting lineup, in which even Lee Jung-hoo (25) was left out due to surgery on his left ankle. With three months of rehabilitation expected, Kiwoom’s team batting average is 0.252 until the game on the 29th, ranking ninth in the league, and OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) is 0.671, ranking 10th in the league. I believed that Lee Joo-hyung could make up for the disappointment of Lee Jung-hoo. Lee Ju-hyung was a rice cake leaf that would have been so successful that he was evaluated as “the verification was completed in the second group.”
Lee Ju-hyung, who graduated from Kyungnam High School, joined LG as the 13th overall ranking in the second round of the 2020 rookie draft. In the first division, he had only 35 at-bats before the trade, but in the Futures League, he had a batting average of .335, 11 home runs, 63 RBIs, 76 runs, 21 steals, and a 0.454 slugging percentage of 0.561. In LG, he failed to establish a firm position in the first division due to his disappointing second base defense and thick outfield depps, but Kiwoom solidified its direction. “I can also back up the first baseman, but I expect him to take a position in the outfield,” Director Ko said, saving his words, “I have to consult with the field.”
While he is expected to play mainly as a corner outfielder, the most anticipated is the production of hits from sophisticated hits and fast feet. In addition, it has enough power to surpass Jamsil Stadium, so you can expect Lee Jung-hoo to some extent. Director Ko said, “Lee Joo-hyung has been well-received within us, but he has also been very well-received in LG.” I thought I could explode my potential if I had a chance. “I thought our team’s offense would naturally be stronger,” he said.
In Kiwoom, promising players from LG, such as Park Byung-ho (37, KT Wiz) and Seo Geon-chang (34, LG), who grew into franchise stars, have burst their potential. Lee Ju-hyung was also a player who everyone recognized for his potential. Kiwoom, who sent another franchise star, also expects Choi Won-tae’s Lee Ju-hyung to bloom his skills and help him advance to the semifinals.