“Kim Jae-seong was not as good as I thought, so I think he would be proud of himself. I’m looking forward to it.”헤라카지노

Led by coach Park Jin-man, the Samsung Lions’ starting catcher is Kang Min-ho. Kang has a batting average of 0.276, 1989 hits, 319 homers, 1,165 RBIs, 921 runs scored, and an OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of 0.815 runs in 2,233 games so far. Kang also played in 125 games last season, and posted a batting average of 0.290 126 hits, 16 homers, 77 RBIs and 60 runs, keeping Samsung solidly at home.

Notably, Kang is only four games behind Park Yong-taek’s record of 2,237 games played in the KBO league. He is highly likely to set the record early in the season. Except for the 2009 season (83 games) and the 2014 season (98 games), he has played more than 100 games consistently.

However, Kang is 39 years old now. It is time for him to take care of himself. A player should be appointed to support Kang. Kang Min-ho, Kim Jae-sung, Lee Byung-hun and Kim Do-hwan are among the catchers participating in the Okinawa spring camp in Japan.

Before going to Okinawa, coach Park Jin-man also said, “After Kang Min-ho, I need two or three players. Many players are gaining experience. Lee Byung-hun also played in the Australian League, and Kim Do-hwan also played several games after being discharged from the military.”

Then, he brought up Lee’s name. It was Kim Jae-sung. Originally from Deokgo High School, he joined the LG Twins with the first nomination in 2015. Kim Jae-sung wore the Samsung uniform as Park Hae-min’s FA compensation player ahead of the 2022 season. He had plenty of potential as a catcher.

At the time, Samsung said, “Kim Jae-sung has a high quality in defense and is considered a resource to play in the first team if he has sufficient experience. He also has the ability to produce long-distance shots based on fast bat speed in batting,” adding, “From a mid- to long-term perspective, the focus was on strengthening the depth of catcher resources.” He also noted that Kim Jae-sung is a player with very high growth potential.”

As soon as he came to expectations, he performed well. He played in 63 games in the 2022 season, posting a batting average of 0.335 54 hits, three homers, 26 RBIs and 16 runs. Prior to his arrival at Samsung, he had a total of 70 games in the first division with a batting average of 0.132, one homer, four RBIs. Kim, who had not displayed stellar performance at LG, had high expectations as he took charge of Samsung’s home turf in the 2022 season along with Kang Min-ho and Kim Tae-gun (currently the Kia Tigers).

However, an unexpected injury hampered him last season. He was excluded from the opening list at an exhibition game just before the opening of the season due to an internal oblique muscle injury on his right side. His injury was all the more painful as he played in 11 games before being sidelined due to injury at the exhibition game.

Kim returned to the mound in June, but he couldn’t get a clue. Kim ended the 2023 season with a batting average of 0.192 19 hits, one homer, seven RBIs and seven runs scored in 57 games. He hoped that Kim would become a backup catcher to succeed Kang in the trade with Kia, but it didn’t go his way.

Manager Park Jin-man also said, “Kim Jae-sung was less sluggish than I thought. Most people think Kim Jae-sung will settle down as Kang Min-ho’s backup catcher, but that’s never the case,” adding, “I think he will be more desperate because he was sluggish last season. I’m looking forward to it.”

Samsung successfully strengthened its bullpen, which was evaluated as a weakness last season. It acquired Kim Jae-yoon and Lim Chang-min in the free agent market, and acquired Yang Hyun and Choi Sung-hoon through the second draft. It also recruited Lee Min-ho, a retired student.

After the end of the 2021 season, Samsung and Kang signed a four-year contract for a total of 3.6 billion won. They will continue to play together through the 2025 season. Kang still performs best, but he needs to ease the burden of his physical stamina and see a long-term future.

Can the catcher, who was a former first-place pick, ease the burden on Kang? Let’s hope Kim Jae-seong, who is sweating profusely in Okinawa, Japan, in 2024.

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