WBC showcase ML? The genius hitter shook his head “I am a national representative” [Tucson interview]

 안전놀이터“I am a national representative.”

The biggest goal of baseball life is right in front of you. However, his eyes are fixed only on the Taegeuk mark.

Lee Jung-hoo (25, Kiwoom Heroes) is the most noteworthy player in Lee Kang-cheol-ho, who will be participating in the 2023 WBC (World Baseball Classic). At the end of this season, he announced that he would be posted to the American Major League (MLB), and the US locals are showing high interest. MLB.com classified Lee Jung-hoo as a strong candidate to be selected as the best 9 in this tournament.

As Lee Jung-hoo stays in the US, interest in him is growing. In Scottsdale, Arizona, USA, where Kiwoom’s spring camp was set up, a San Francisco Giants scout came to work every day to watch Lee Jung-hoo. On the 17th (Korean time), during the first practice game of the national team held at the Kino Veteran Memorial Stadium in Tucson, not only San Francisco, but also the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, LA Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, etc. A whopping 9 team scouts watched Lee Jung-hoo. They left immediately after Lee Jung-hoo took two at-bats and was replaced.

The great interest leading up to an important tournament can become poison. However, Lee Jung-hoo doesn’t seem to care much. He said, “People around me say, ‘Now the evaluation is over. When I thought about that, I was very unconscious,” he said. He continued, “Wouldn’t it be a showcase for players who want to go to the US, such as (Ko) Woo-seok, (Jung) Woo-young, (Kang) Baek-ho, and (Kim) Hye-seong, rather than me?” I don’t think about letting people know about myself through it. I’m only thinking about winning the team. I just want to go out and win the game quickly,” he emphasized. Regarding the possibility of facing a major league pitcher at the WBC, “In fact, only the game against Japan has been decided (to meet a pitcher playing in the major leagues). There is no guarantee of meeting a major league pitcher except for the game in Japan,” he said. “I only think that I have to play well against Australian pitchers rather than face-to-face with them,” he emphasized.

Lee Jung-hoo is still not in the best condition. In his first practice game with NC, he went 0-for-2 in two at-bats. Lee Jung-hoo said, “I didn’t do live betting on my team (Kiwoom) at all. I’m satisfied with the good ball hit and the pitcher’s ball showing well for the first day of the game. I plan to try to match the timing and prepare to my heart’s content while playing future games.” He, who modified his batting form during the off-season, said, “I have to find something I’m comfortable with even in the changed form. I keep trying various things.” Also, “I haven’t played the (WBC) official ball yet. (Kim) Ha-seong, who continued to play with this ball (WBC official ball) last year, said, ‘The ball doesn’t fly well.’ He said, ‘The KBO league official ball seems to fly less (than the major league official ball).’ I’m not the type of hitter who is affected by repulsive force, but I think you can tell (the difference) by hitting it yourself.”

In the WBC, if a match is not decided during regular innings, a match-up system starting from the 10th inning with no second base is introduced. In preparation for this, manager Lee Kang-cheol revealed the idea that the main batters could also come up with a bunt strategy for advancing base. Regarding this, Lee Jung-hoo said, “Baseball is a game where the side with a high probability wins. Knowing the probability and analyzing your power to deal with it.” If you can’t send a runner and increase the out count, you can hit it and send it to third base, or you can create a lot of scoring chances by raising RBIs.

Lee Jung-hoo said, “My biggest goal is to come back to the United States (where the semifinals will be held). Looking closely, I have to win the game against Australia, so I’m only thinking about winning against Australia. The game against Japan is next.” The determination of a genius hitter wearing the Taegeuk mark is stronger than ever.


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