The biggest harvest in the first nine games of the Lotte Giants’ 2023 season is the discovery of high school rookie outfielder Kim Min-seok. The 19-year-old boy, who proudly made his name in the opening entry, took his first steps on the professional stage smoothly with a batting average of 0.286 (4 hits in 14 at-bats) and 3 RBIs.
It was unusual from the first start of his debut. On the 9th, in the match against Sajik KT Wiz, he wielded 2 hits and 2 RBIs in 4 at-bats, and the career horseman harvested both hits and RBIs. In the case of this day’s game, it was more meaningful to Kim Min-seok as his parents played an active part while visiting from Seoul to Busan.
Lotte fans were very excited about the future splendid appearance of the Giants and even treated Kim Min-seok to a meal. Kim Min-seok quickly experienced the love of Busan fans, who say that everything is ‘free’ if you are good at baseball.
Kim Min-seok said, “I was having a meal with my parents at a meat restaurant near the Sajik Baseball Stadium after the first starting game for my debut, and a fan came and told me that he had calculated the cost of the meal my family ate.” I felt proud in front of him,” he said with a shy smile.
It’s not just the fans who fall for Kim Min-seok. Lotte coach Larry Sutton has been using Kim Min-seok in the first team since the start of the regular season after paying attention to Kim Min-seok from the Guam-Okinawa spring camp in February.
What manager Sutton cares most about is providing the conditions for Kim Min-seok to play in the most comfortable situation. “
In the case of the Sajik LG Twins match on the 13th, Kim Min-seok was placed in the ninth batting order. I hoped that Kim Min-seok would play in a position where he could relieve the burden as much as possible against LG ace Casey Kelly.
Manager Sutton explained separately, “Kelly is a very good pitcher, and Kim Min-seok is the first to deal with Kelly. He saw Kelly’s ball in the 9th and placed it in the hope that he could hit it with confidence.”
As a result, Kim Min-seok’s 9th placement was a great benefit to both the team and the player. Kim Min-seok played an active role with 2 at-bats, 1 hit, 1 RBI, 2 points and 1 walk, contributing greatly to Lotte’s 8-7 victory.
Not only did he get a right-handed hit against Kelly from his first at-bat at the end of the 3rd inning, but he also scored an RBI with a walk-out with two outs loaded at the bottom of the 4th inning, where Lotte faced 2-2. After enduring a large drop change ball such as Kelly’s first pitch curve and 2-pitch changeup, he calmly endured even the 3rd and 4th pitches that flew near the strike zone.
In the bottom of the 6th inning, when Lotte was chased by 6-5, the walk with 1 out and 1 base was also like Altoran. Lotte was in danger of breaking the flow as Yoo Kang-nam’s sacrifice bunt failed after lead hitter Noh Jin-hyuk hit base, but Kim Min-seok picked another walk to Kelly, leading to chances for first and second base.
After Kim Min-seok’s walk,안전놀이터 Ahn Kwon-soo’s surprise bunt hit, Ko Seung-min’s 1 RBI, outfield sacrifice fly, and Rex’s 1 RBI, timely hit, they ran away to 8-6, solidifying their winning streak. Although it is a result theory, coach Sutton’s 9th hitter’s card, Kim Min-seok, had a significant impact on the game.
For Lotte, Hwang Seong-bin injured his left hand in the game against LG on the 11th, and for the time being, the number of available outfield resources in the first team has been reduced by one. Although the playing style is different, it seems that Kim Min-seok will be given a lot of chances at the beginning of the season as he has proven his competitiveness.