‘152km selection resource’ is also a bullpen… Changed Lotte starting lineup, catch up with generational change?
In the demonstration match between Lotte and SSG held at Sajik Stadium on the 15th, regardless of the match result, a young pitcher’s spirited pitching drew attention. Right-hander Lee Min-seok (20), who graduated from Kaesong High School and received Lotte’s first nomination in the 2022 rookie draft, was the protagonist.
Lee Min-seok blocked 2 innings that day with no runs. The results were good, but the biggest gain was confirming that I was well on my way to growth. On this day, the maximum speed of the four-seam fastball came out to 152 km per hour, and the movement of the paired slider was also good. Now at the age of 20, it has been confirmed that he is a promising prospect with a taste for watching the future.
Lotte coach Larry Sutton also praised Lee Min-seok’s pitching ahead of the Sajik SSG game on the 16th. Manager Sutton said, “I showed sharp pitching yesterday. “I was surprised that the first ball showed a good figure,” he said. In addition, the changing ball was also used in the right place. He threw two innings consistently, and both his control and speed were sharp,” he smiled heartily.
If it is a resource that can usually throw 150 km per hour, it is natural to want to develop it as a starter. In fact, even in Lotte’s long-term plan, Lee Min-seok is on the starting list. But not right now. When asked about how to use Lee Min-seok this season, coach Sutton replied, “Excluding Lee Min-seok, we have seven pitchers who can be selected.” To prepare for a long season, it is common to organize starting candidates from number 1 to number 7, but Lee Min-seok is not on that list.
Lotte has two high-level foreign players (Dan Straley and Charlie Barnes) and a definite native ace (Park Se-woong). After that, the 4th and 5th selection was the key, but right-hander Na Kyun-an and sidearm Han Hyun-hee seem to be leading the way.
Na Kyun-an, who showed clear potential as a starter last year, threw 86 pitches in 5 innings in the match against Sajik SSG on the 16th. It clearly showed that he is preparing for the season as a starter. Han Hyun-hee, who has a successful experience as a starter, is also a free agent recruiter against such a background. He paid a lot of money to recruit, and since there are a lot of incentives on the starting side, it is common to give the opportunity first.
Here is Seo Jun-won, who is constantly trying to break eggs, and Lee In-bok, who pitched 23 out of 26 games last year as a starter, is also working hard to return in June. Since we don’t need 7 starters from the opening game right now, it will be a big help even if we come into full force only in the middle of the season. 안전놀이터
Manager Sutton also seemed to have considered this situation, saying, “Lee Min-seok has a plan to use it in the second half of the game. At the local point of view, it seems to have the highest value because it uses Lee Min-seok.” As much as he has power in the ball, he will use it as a pitcher who takes on 1 or 2 innings.
However, Lee Min-seok’s selection talent is fully acknowledged. Coach Sutton emphasized, “I think it is a sufficient resource to start in the near or distant future.” The near future means that Lee Min-seok can be put in if there is a vacancy in the starting lineup in the middle or later half of this season, and the far future suggests that the club is looking at this player as a starter in the long term.
If Lee Min-seok can grow step by step and seize the opportunity to come, the starters can smoothly lead to a generational change. On the other hand, Lotte has several more amateur players with the potential to start. If they grow together, there is nothing better.