Ahn Bang-manim, who all of his predecessors paid attention to, has his eyes open to batting “I think I’ll make a decisive moment,” he says.

Five years ago, in November 2018, during the final offseason camp in Okinawa, Japan, the player who stood out to former manager Yang Sang-moon the most was Lee Jung-geun, 24.

For Lotte, who had been struggling at catcher since the departure of Kang Min-ho, it was best to hold on to Yang Ji, their surest card in the free agent market. However, Lotte pulled out of the free agent market early and did not enter the battle for Yang Ji. Yang Sang-moon didn’t have the gift of Yang Ji and had to rely on developing internal resources once again. One player who caught Yang’s eye was Information Geun.

After graduating from Gyeongnam High School and being drafted with the 83rd overall pick in the ninth round of the 2018 second round, he did not play in the first team and participated in the final camp. When Yang saw him, he said, “He’s so beautiful when he trains,” and raved about the rookie, who had no first-team experience.

He looked up to Yang, one of the best catchers in Korea, and Takuya Kai (Softbank Hawks), who was a powerhouse in Nippon Professional Baseball and won the Japan Series MVP. The calm, serious, and laid-back young catcher, who looked up to the powerful catcher in “The Bearded Fox,” started 15 games in 2019 before earning his first-team opportunity in 2020.

Even under former coach Heo Moon-ho, Jung was given opportunities and gained first-team experience. It wasn’t easy for the young catcher to get this much experience. He was given a chance as a dedicated catcher for foreign pitchers and was recognized for his defense.

As a defensive catcher, he excelled and was good enough. However, to become a first-team regular, he needed to improve his offense. His hitting lagged behind his defense. By last year, he was batting just 1-for-7 with 67 runs (382 at-bats), one home run, 21 RBIs, and a .434 OPS in 206 games.

Recognizing the limitations and failures of their catcher development, Lotte signed Yoo Kang-nam to a four-year, 8 billion won deal in free agency. Yoo’s experience was not comparable to that of infielders Son Sung-bin and Ji Ji-wan. His experience, framing ability, and power to hit double-digit home runs in the first team were enough of a plus for Lotte.

However, with plenty of support for Yoo Kang-nam, Shin Jung-geun fulfilled his role as a backup catcher. Son Sung-bin later replaced him in the lineup, but the youngster patiently worked his way back up from the second team and came back hot with the bat.

He is currently batting 4-for-7 (22-for-54) with one home run, 10 RBI, and an OPS of 1.089 in 40 games. It’s a small sample size and he’s only recently started to show signs of life, but his presence has energized Lotte’s batting order.

Yoo Kang-nam, the starting catcher, is out with an adductor muscle injury and has been playing second base recently, but he may not be in a hurry to return to the lineup, as he is filling the void in the offense.

In the last two games of the NC, he got off to a hot start, blasting a three-run homer against the league’s best pitcher, Eric Peddy. In his last five games, he’s batting 6-for-10 (16 RBI) with four doubles, four RBI, and a 1.542 OPS. Against Sasik SSG on April 15, he went 3-for-3 with a home run, two RBIs and two walks for his first career five-hit game, leading the team to a 10-6 victory. He was the catalyst for the big inning, getting on base in every at-bat and delivering RBI singles.

After the game, he said, “I’m trying to create results and take it easy. “There was no turning point, and I tried not to lose the good feeling I had when I went to the second team. I was confident in my physical strength, so I tried to eat well and do it steadily.”

Park Se-woong, who played alongside Jung on the day, said, “Since (Jung’s) batting is so good, the players are thinking that when he goes to the plate, he will create some decisive moments.” “Now I want to help him play a role not only behind home plate, but also at the plate,” he laughed, “because he was there today, we were able to score a lot of runs.” The Giants are now looking forward to his batting. Expectations have now risen for Bo-geun’s batting as well.안전놀이터

His momentum is such that it’s safe to assume that Yoo Kang-nam’s return will be relaxed. With Yoo back in the lineup, the catching depth will be even more solid. That’s why it’s good to see him back.

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