Kiwoom Heroes’ Lee Jung-hoo, 25, is expected to receive offers from major league clubs this winter.
MLB.com, the official site of Major League Baseball, published a list of players from South Korea and Japan who could make it to the major leagues this winter. While Japanese aces such as Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix) and Shota Imanaga (Yokohama) are looking to make it to the major leagues, Lee Jung-hoo is the most sought-after in Korea.
Lee is one of South Korea’s best hitters, batting .344 (3476-for-1181) with 65 home runs, 515 RBIs, and an OPS of .898 in 884 career KBO games. Last season, he had a career-high 142-game season, batting .349 (553-for-193) with 23 home runs, 113 RBIs, and a .996 OPS, winning five batting titles (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and RBIs) and the league MVP.
Heading into this season, Lee announced in a post that he would play in the major leagues, but an injury ended his season early. However, he overcame his early season slump to finish with a solid 86-game season, batting .301 (105-for-330) with six home runs, 45 RBIs, and an .861 OPS.
According to MLB.com, “Lee is an intriguing option for major league clubs because of the relative lack of top-of-the-order hitters in this free agency class. For another, Lee was limited to 86 games with an .861 OPS after suffering a midseason ankle injury.”
“In some ways, Lee is comparable to Ender Inciarte, who won three Gold Gloves and was an All-Star from 2016 to 2018 while playing for Atlanta,” MLB.com wrote. “Lee has one of the best nicknames in sports: ‘The grandson of the wind. This is because his father, Lee Jong-beom, a KBO icon, was nicknamed ‘Son of the Wind,'” noting that Lee is a second-generation baseball player. 아톰카지노 도메인
According to MLB.com, Inciarte is an outfielder who played in the Major Leagues from 2014 to 2022. In 868 career major league games, he batted .268 (3125-for-875) with 42 home runs, 263 RBI, 447 runs scored, 118 stolen bases, and a .715 OPS.
Kiwoom had already announced in January that it would post Lee Jung-hoo. However, since the KBO is currently in the postseason, the process will take place after the Korean Series is over.
“The posting process for Lee won’t officially begin for at least two weeks because the KBO’s postseason is still underway,” MLB.com reported, noting that “St. Louis, the Yankees, San Diego, and San Francisco are among the teams that are likely to look for an impact outfielder this offseason.”
The biggest contract for a KBO outfielder to reach the major leagues was signed by Lee’s teammate, Kim Ha-seong (San Diego). Kim signed a four-year, $28 million guaranteed contract with San Diego after the 2020 season. Fans are eager to see if Lee can surpass Kim’s record.