KIA’s long-time backup, ‘4th in batting average – 7th in OPS’ Off-field armed demonstration… There is no place for the national outfielder ‘upcoming to return’
0.321 batting average (36 hits in 112 at-bats), 4 home runs, 14 RBIs, 0.389 on-base percentage, 0.482 slugging percentage, 0.871 OPS.
It is not the performance of Na Seong-beom (34), who has just returned from injury and has won three KBO Golden Gloves. These are the results of the 2023 season of Lee Woo-seong (29) of ‘Daejeon High School Kim Dong-ju’, who moved to the KIA Tigers in 2019 and was called a backup for the past 4 years. The potential that he has been promising since his high school days is showing signs of blooming 8 years after his professional first team debut.스포츠토토
On the 9th, against the Doosan Bears in Jamsil, Lee Woo-sung started as the 6th right fielder and recorded 3 hits, 2 RBIs, 1 run and 1 strikeout in 4 at-bats. Thanks to Lee Woo-sung’s performance, KIA won 7-3 against Doosan and escaped from a three-game losing streak.
From the first at-bat in the 2nd inning, right-hander starter Dong-Joo Kim showed tenacity with a 7-ball game and the catcher struck out with a knock-out. Lee Woo-seong, who warmed up the bat lightly, began to wield heavy blows. As the lead batter in the sixth inning, he hit Kim Myung-shin’s slider and made a hit that grazed the side of the shortstop. In the 7th inning, with 1 out and 1 base, right-hander Lee Hyeong-beom hit a two-seam fastball to the side and got a clean heavy hit.
The final at-bat was the highlight. At the beginning of the ninth inning, when everyone was tired, KIA almost ended the game with a home run hit to the end of the right wall in a situation where KIA was leading 6-3 with 1 out, 2nd and 3rd base. It is regrettable that he only scored 1 RBI and 2 bases in the middle right, and it was a performance that did not feel the vacancy of Na Seong-beom, the starting right fielder.
With this, Lee Woo-sung is demonstrating armed force outside the field with a batting average of 0.321, a slugging percentage of 0.482, and an OPS of 0.871 to secure the starting position. Since he started as a backup this year, he was unable to complete the required number of at-bats (158) with 129 at-bats, but when facing hitters with more than 100 at-bats, Lee Woo-sung ranks 4th in batting average, 9th in slugging percentage, and 7th in OPS, ranking in the top 10 in the league.
Initially, Lee Woo-sung was a player who was evaluated as having potential as a giant gun. Daejeon High School’s nickname Kim Dong-ju has long since faded, but according to KIA’s internal data, the ball speed is still in the upper half of 160 km per hour, forming the second group after Na Seong-beom along with Kim Do-young (20). The difference from previous years was the higher launch angle. In the major leagues, it is often said that increasing the muscular strength of a hitter with a launch angle capable of producing a home run is faster than adjusting the launch angle of a powerful hitter, but Lee Woo-seong was on the side of the former who said it was difficult.
Due to Lee Woo-sung’s remarkable performance, KIA is considering changing outfielder Choi Won-joon (26), who is about to return from the Armed Forces Sports Corps (Sangmu), to first baseman for this year only. The reason is that right fielder Na Seong-beom, who is the starting pitcher, will soon return, and there is no suitable position for existing players such as Lee Woo-seong, Socrates Brito, and Ko Jong-wook. Before the game on the 9th, KIA coach Kim Jong-guk said, “Choi Won-joon played outfield for about two seasons before going to the army, but before that, he played in various fields in the infield.
He’s slowly showing signs of developing his skills, but he has some work to do before he can become a solid outfield starter. One is league-average outfield defense, and the other is weak reverse split performance against lefties. Usually, right-handers are strong against lefties, but Lee Woo-sung was weak against lefties with a batting average of 0.206 against lefties and a batting average of 0.258 against righties.
Looking at the superficial performance this year, it doesn’t seem to be much different from previous years, with a batting average of 0.361 against right-handers and 0.231 against left-handed opponents, but the inside story was different. Even that shortcoming is being erased with sincerity and passion. According to KIA power analysis coach Cho Seung-beom, Lee Woo-seong is the KIA player who visits the analysis room the most after listening to the opposing pitcher briefing before the game. As a result, Lee Woo-sung’s batting average against lefties was 0.125 in April and 0.278 after May, gradually increasing.
On the 9th, Choi Won-joon was selected for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games baseball national team because he could digest both infield and outfield. The performance Choi Won-joon showed right before enlistment had an impact, enough to be selected despite poor performance (batting average of 0.220 in 28 games) in this year’s Sangmu. However, the vacancy of the national team outfielder, whom all KIA fans had been waiting for, was being filled by someone who was silently sweating.