‘Park Jin-man→Kim Sang-soo→Lee Jae-hyun continues the lineage’ 10 home runs in second year, potential explodes ‘Shows signs of being a big shortstop’
The baby batsman breaks the nine-figure mark and finally hits his first 10-homer game. This is the story of Lee Jae-hyun (20) of the Samsung Lions.
Lee Jae-hyun started at shortstop in the No. 9 spot in the lineup and went 1-for-3 with one home run, one walk and one run scored in the Samsung Lions’ 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League game against SSG Landers at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on Nov. 11.
After striking out in his first at-bat in the third inning, Lee didn’t let up in his second at-bat. In the top of the fifth inning, with his team tied 2-2, he took a three-pitch, 140-kilometer fastball from SSG starter Oh Won-seok for a big hit. It was a solo shot over the left field fence. Season No. 10. It was the first time he reached double-digit home runs since his debut. It was the first time in five years since Kim Sang-soo (33-KT).
Lee’s home run proved to be the game-winner in Samsung’s 5-4 victory.
A 2022 first-round pick, Lee batted .236 with seven home runs, 23 RBIs and 23 runs scored in 75 games in his rookie year. Defensively, he played 566⅓ innings. He played 30 innings at second base, 156 innings at third base, and 380⅓ innings at shortstop.
And this year, in his second season, he’s definitely settled in. He’s playing exclusively at shortstop. He’s showing signs of becoming a big-time shortstop with the offense to match.스포츠토토
10 home runs to start. That’s a lot of home runs, especially for a shortstop. He’s now four away from second-place Joo-Won Kim (NC).
“When I started the season, I thought I wanted to hit double-digit home runs,” Lee said after the game. But when I got into the season, I realized that I liked just going to the game rather than home runs, so I didn’t think about home runs,” he said, adding, “After hitting nine, one more would make it 10, so I was hoping for a home run as soon as possible.”
Regarding the home run, he said, “My timing was off in the first at-bat, so in the second at-bat, I tried to hit it faster. I wasn’t aiming for a fastball. I was late again, but I think it was a lucky home run,” he laughed.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Lee Jae-hyun is the next generation of infield commanders to follow in the footsteps of Park Jin-man and Kim Sang-soo.
“I’m really honored to be called that,” Lee said. It’s an honor just to be mentioned. My father was the best shortstop in Korea. I will do my best to continue that reputation,” he said.