The San Francisco Giants of the U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB), which recruited Lee Jung-hoo, the “grandchild of the wind,” this winter, were evaluated as successful in reinforcing the outfield.
Major League Baseball’s official website MLB.com had a time on the 12th (Korea time) to look at teams that succeeded in reinforcing each position based on the WAR (contribution to victory over alternative players) on the baseball statistics site “FanGraph.”
A total of three teams were named in the outfield category, including San Francisco. The ranking, which stayed at 28th last year, is expected to jump to 11th this year.
MLB.com said, “The San Francisco Giants did not reap as much harvest as expected in the offseason, but it recruited Lee Jung-hoo, a Korean center fielder who is called the “grandchild of the wind.” Known for his impressive contact skills, he is expected to have a similar strikeout and walk ratio as he recorded an on-base percentage of 0.354 and a wRC+ (adjusted scoring productivity) of 116 during the 25-year-old season. “Then he will successfully settle down in the MLB.”
He added, “The expected WAR after Lee Jung-hoo is 3.2, which will be significantly higher than the 0.4 that San Francisco showed last year when it used 10 players including right fielder Mike Yastremsky and Luis Matos.”
Lee Jung-hoo, who joined the Nexen Heroes (now Kiwoom) with the first nomination in 2017, showed a steady performance for seven years and made an impression. Until last year, he recorded a high batting average of more than 30% every year, and in 2022, he shot his first 20 home runs since his debut, showing off his slugging ability.
Lee Jung-hoo expressed his desire to challenge the Major League through the posting system after the end of the 2023 season to Kiwoom in December 2022. After internal discussions, Kiwoom agreed to respect and support the player’s will and will in early January last year. In addition, the team has decided to help and support areas that can be helped at the club level. The U.S. and Japan have also begun to pay attention to Lee Jung-hoo’s declaration of his challenge to the overseas stage.헤라카지노
Lee Jung-hoo, who challenged the big league with the end of the 2023 season, signed a six-year contract with San Francisco for a total of $113 million in December last year through a posting system (closed competitive bidding). Less than two weeks after the posting began, he quickly signed the seal, and returned to Korea after completing a physical examination and a press conference for joining the team.
San Francisco, which won the World Series eight times (1905, 1921, 1922, 1933, 1954, 2010, 2012, 2014), was disappointed when it failed to advance to the postseason in 2022 and 2023. Eventually, San Francisco coach Gabe Kapler was replaced at the end of September last year due to poor performance, and Melvin, who took the helm of San Diego in the 2022-2023 season, will lead San Francisco from this season.
San Francisco, which needed to strengthen its power in all aspects, including offense and defense, wanted Lee Jung-hoo with various abilities since the beginning of last year, and consequently signed a six-year total of $113 million. Paying more than 100 million to a player who has no big league experience means that the club’s expectations are high. Considering the team’s lack of strong players, Lee Jung-hoo is expected to take the leadoff role from the beginning of the season.
“Our plan is for Lee to play center field every day from the opening game of the 2024 season,” said Farhan Zaidi, president of San Francisco, who attended the press conference for Lee’s joining the team. “Our team needed a player who was capable of making contact in an aggressive aspect. It is also the kind of baseball that the Major League pursues recently. During the off-season, the player we wanted to recruit the most was Lee Jung-hoo.”
Coach Melvin, who appeared on a podcast in the U.S. on the 22nd of last month, said, “After recruiting Lee Jung-hoo, I wrote several lineups, and in any case, Lee Jung-hoo was the first hitter. It’s a comfortable batting order for Lee Jung-hoo, and Lee Jung-hoo has played (in the KBO League),” expressing his intention to use Lee Jung-hoo as a leadoff.
Not only the club but also the U.S. is paying attention to whether Lee Jung-hoo is active. MLB.com introduced the best scenario that 30 clubs dream of on the 1st, citing the production of the National League Rookie of the Year award as San Francisco’s New Year’s wish. The media mentioned Lee Jung-hoo’s name, explaining, “San Francisco has not produced a rookie award since the 2010 Buster Posey, but is in a good position to end the drought soon.”
“San Francisco had 12 prospects in the big league last season, and the majority of them are eligible for the 2024 Rookie of the Year award,” the media said. “If those young players grow up well, San Francisco will have several nominees for the Rookie of the Year award, including center fielder Lee Jung-hoo, left-hander Kyle Harrison, and shortstop Marco Luciano.”
In addition to San Francisco, the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals also received good reviews for strengthening the outfield. In particular, MLB.com predicted that the Yankees, which have three main outfielders, will elevate their WAR ranking from 25th last year to 1st this year through a trade with Alex Verdugo, Juan Soto, and Trent Grisham.