Lotte failed to advance to the postseason for six consecutive years as it finished seventh in the 2023 season, but in the meantime, there was a harvest of its own. It is said that young people who spent their first year in the first division, such as Yoon Dong-hee and Kim Min-seok, showed potential. 안전놀이터
For Yoon Dong-hee, it was a year of blessing in disguise. After graduating from Yatap High School, Yoon Dong-hee, who wore Lotte’s uniform in the second and third rounds of the 2022 Rookie Draft, played only four games in the first division last year.
Yoon Dong-hee, who failed to secure a position in the Lotte outfield at that time, pushed for military enlistment after the end of last season. However, he was the only Lotte player who applied for Sangmu to fail. However, he stood out from the spring camp ahead of this year and played full-time in the regular season. He hit .287 with two home runs and 41 RBIs in 107 games.
At the Hangzhou Asian Games held in September, he was selected as the last replacement and led the gold medal. He played in all six games and was praised by national team coach Ryu Joong-il for his batting average of .435. He also received preferential treatment for exemption from military service, and is facing a prosperous future.
Kim Min-seok, who was selected by Lotte as the third pick in the first round of the 2023 Rookie Draft after graduating from Whimoon High School, played an active role as a “super rookie.” Kim Min-seok, who showed a batting average of 0.260 with two home runs and 24 RBIs in 70 games in the first half, briefly slowed down with a batting average of 0.249 with one home run and 15 RBIs in 59 games in the second half, but he expected next season.
However, we cannot just look at a rosy future. There were a number of players who played in the first year of the first division and suffered a jinx in the second year the following year.
Lotte manager Kim Tae-hyung sent a strong message to these players. Coach Kim, who boasted his charisma even when he was a Doosan manager, said firmly, “I think I’ll do a little better next year if I go up as a backup and play as a main player, but that’s an illusion.”
Coach Kim said, “You have to prepare really well,” adding, “If you play in the first division and your face is known, you say you make your own body in the winter, but you often don’t do it properly.”
He stressed that premature changes, such as weight training, should be avoided. Coach Kim said, “Older players such as Jeon Joon-woo and Ahn Chi-hong can build their own bodies, but it makes no sense that young players have built their bodies through weight training. I really want to ask for such a story,” he said.
It is not just a story about Yoon Dong-hee and Kim Min-seok. This is true of all Lotte young players. Coach Kim plans to watch the young players’ sweat at the finishing camp at Sangdong Stadium in Gimhae until the end of November.