The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced on Nov. 15 that the Major League Baseball (MLB) Secretariat has requested a background check on Lee Jung-hoo (25, Kiwoom). After announcing his intention to enter the U.S. after last season, Lee’s journey to the U.S. began in earnest this year through the posting system.
Lee’s name has been mentioned in local media every day. ESPN introduced Lee as one of the top 12 free agent outfielders on the 15th, calling him “the most talented Korean outfielder since Shin-Soo Choo.”
Despite all the attention, Lee has been preparing for his trip to the U.S. in a “dumbfounded” way. He has been working out and studying English every day. “I’m doing batting practice, weight training, and working out,” he told The Korea Times on Friday.
He has not yet set a date for his departure to the United States. He is in frequent contact with his local agent. All he can do now is focus on getting in shape to play next season.
Having Kim Ha-sung (28, San Diego) by his side, who just returned from a season in the United States, helps. “Right now, he’s just listening to me. He’s close to home, so we see each other often.” “He tells me that I need to experience American pitchers firsthand. He doesn’t say, ‘Go to a team,’ but emphasizes things like adapting to the environment and life.”
One of the most memorable was, “Reach out to your teammates first.” When Lee traveled to the United States, he was put in the position of a “foreign athlete. “I’m not the most outgoing person, but I’ll try,” he laughs.
When I was younger, I vaguely dreamed of being a major leaguer. When he was in elementary school, he would watch Japanese player Ichiro Suzuki and say, “I want to be like him. It wasn’t until after the Tokyo Olympics in August 2021 that he solidified his decision. Lee batted .241 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs in seven games. Team Korea lost the gold medal and Lee was disappointed, but he also gained confidence that he could make it on the world stage. “I didn’t strike out against Japan and the United States. I thought, ‘I think I did okay against these pitchers, but what if I face them every day? Of course, the major leagues are more advanced than the Olympics, but that’s when I started thinking about it in earnest.”
Lee is not your typical “long ball” hitter. He’s only hit double-digit home runs in two seasons: 2020 (15) and 2022 (23). Instead, he torments opposing pitchers with his ability to make contact. He hopes to capitalize on his strengths in the United States. “I’ve heard that what people in the U.S. are looking for in me right now is my contact ability and low strikeout rate,” he said. “They think the major leagues are for hitters who hit a lot of home runs, but I want to break that stereotype, because hitting long balls isn’t the only thing in baseball.”
“There are many different types of players. Everyone has a role to play, from number one to number nine. I want to do my best and show that I’m good so that in the future, my juniors and other Korean baseball players can develop their dreams and challenge the United States.”
Once he decided to leave, he didn’t think about 카지노 coming back. “I think it’s a ‘luxury’ to think about coming back because I’m going for a challenge. I will adapt with the idea of survival,” he said firmly.