Jae-won “Jamsil Big Boy” Lee, 24, and Bum-seok “First Round Catcher” Kim, 20, are the hitters the LG Twins are looking to as their next big bats and center fielders. They have big bat talent and have shown power at an early age.
After winning the regular season title and earning a direct ticket to the Korean Series, LG is looking to win its first Korean Series title in 29 years. It will be interesting to see if the next generation of big bats, Lee Jae-won and Kim Bum-seok, can play in the Korean Series.
Manager Yeom Kyung-yup is considering whether to include them in the roster. They are right-handed batting options.
Lee hit 13 home runs in 223 at-bats in 85 games last year. He hit one home run every 17.15 at-bats. He was second only to Park Byung-ho and Choi Jung in home runs per at-bat. Coach Yoon Kyung-yeop, who took over as LG’s manager last fall, said of Lee Jae-won, “He’s like Park Byung-ho in terms of home run power,” adding, “He’s LG’s future No. 4 hitter. I want to raise him like Park Byung-ho.” Lee Jae-won planned to enlist in the military after last season, but canceled.
Kim Bum-seok was selected by LG in the first round of the 2023 rookie draft. He is a big outfield prospect. Kim Bum-seok hit 10 home runs as a senior at Gyeongnam High School last year, setting a new high school baseball home run record since wooden bats were used. After the nomination, Cha Myung-seok said, “I picked him because he is Kim Bum-seok. I think the proper noun Kim Bum-seok will become synonymous with Korean baseball.”
This season, Lee Jae-won and Kim Bum-seok didn’t show much. Lee Jae-won has been injured since spring training and has been hampered by injuries in exhibition games and early in the season.
Lee Jae-won showed his power on May 24 against SSG. He hit a fastball from Elias for a home run over the left field fence. The ball was clocked at 177.2 kilometers per hour, but the launch angle was a whopping 40.9 degrees. It wasn’t a barrel hit, but a huge fly ball that traveled 118.3 meters. It was a parabolic home run that is difficult to hit unless you have a lot of power. He hit the home run with the full force of his bat.
However, after the game, Lee left the game with a thigh injury while fielding. When he returned in early June, he didn’t hit well. He didn’t add a single home run. In 55 games, Lee is batting 2-for-23 (107 at-bats) with three home runs, 17 RBIs, and a .639 OPS. He came off the disabled list the past two days.
Kim wasn’t invited to the first team spring training because he was trying to fully rehabilitate the shoulder he injured in high school. He didn’t take catching practice, only batting practice. In the Futures League as a designated hitter, he went 4-for-6 with five home runs in 19 games (68 at-bats, 29 RBIs) in May. His homer in the Futures League All-Star Game earned him MVP honors.
He made his professional debut with a brief call-up to the first team in June, going 0-for-4 in two games before being sent down to the second team. He was recalled in late September ahead of the expanded roster, and has been playing first base lately. The plan is to keep Kim at first base until next season. Fully recover his shoulder and start catching.
Kim Bum-seok hit his first home run on September 9 against Lotte. Kim’s first home run was an unusual 39.1-degree launch angle. In seven games, he is batting 9-for-5 with one home run and two RBIs in 21 at-bats.
The postseason roster is 30 players. “Yesterday, I roughly drew a 30-man roster,” Yoon said at Jamsil Stadium on Tuesday, referring to the possibility of Lee Jae-won and Kim Bum-seok. If you include only 13 pitchers, there is room for Lee Jae-won. If you only include two catchers instead of three, there’s room for Kim Bum-seok.
Yeom said, “You have to have three catchers, but the third catcher doesn’t play most of the time. I’m thinking about putting Bum-seok in the catcher’s spot (without the third catcher),” he said. Kim Bum-seok is not used as a catcher, but as a designated hitter or pinch-hitter.캡틴토토
“I’m thinking about using 13 pitchers or 14 pitchers. The bullpen is a must-win group, so I think we can go with 13. If we go with 13 pitchers, Lee Jae-won will be used as a pinch-hitter, but if we go with 14 pitchers, Lee Jae-won will be left out.”
“When I put only 10 pitchers on the roster, everyone was surprised. I didn’t have more than 10 pitchers at that time,” Yeom said, referring to his time as Nexen’s manager.