Kiwoom Heroes outfielder Lee Hyung-jong (34), who struggled in the first half of the season, was sent down to the second team once again today.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced the changes to the first team roster on Nov. 11. LG Twins pitcher Choi Won-tae, Samsung Lions pitcher Kim Si-hyun, NC Dinos outfielder Jae-hwan Lee, SSG Landers pitcher Lee Ki-soon and infielder Kim Chan-hyeong, as well as Kiwoom Heroes pitcher Byun Si-won and outfielder Lee Hyung-jong were demoted.
Lee Hyung-jong’s expungement stood out, along with the name of Choi Won-tae, who is 2-2 with an 8.27 ERA in seven games since being traded from Kiwoom to LG. Lee Hyung-jong’s second expungement of the season.
He signed a futures free agent contract with Kiwoom before the season for a total of 2 billion won. Originally drafted by LG in 2008 after graduating from Seoul High School, Lee Hyung-jong was originally a pitcher when he joined the team, but injuries forced him to switch to hitting.
After batting .282 with 35 hits, one home run, 14 RBIs and 14 runs scored in 61 games in 2016, he posted three consecutive years of triple-digit hits and double-digit home runs from 2017 to 2019. In 2018, he had a career-high season, batting .316 with 138 hits, 13 home runs, and 42 RBIs. He also hit double-digit home runs in four straight seasons from 2018 to 2021.
In 624 career games, he batted .281 with 544 doubles, 63 home runs, 254 RBIs, and 286 runs scored. Last season, injuries limited him to a disappointing .264 with 14 hits, seven RBIs and three runs scored in 26 games, but he was viewed as a player who would do his job if given the opportunity.
Kiwoom also commented, “We are excited to add another experienced outfielder to our lineup, and we expect Lee’s addition to not only create a cohesive batting lineup, but also make our outfield defense even stronger. We hope that he will be a great addition to our offense and defense.”
However, as the season comes to a close, Lee’s performance has been disappointing. In 99 games, he’s batting .215 with 68 doubles, three home runs, 37 RBI, 35 runs scored, and an OPS of .646. Breaking down his first and second halves, he batted .224 with 57 doubles, three homers, and 30 RBIs in 77 games in the first half, and is batting .177 with 11 doubles, seven homers, and six RBIs in 22 games in the second half.
The start of the season wasn’t bad. He hit .264 in April. In the opening series against the Gocheok Hanwha Eagles on April 2, he raised expectations by going 1-for-4 with a home run and an RBI.
However, his pace slowed in May. His batting average dropped to 0.191 in May and 0.194 in June. In early May, Kiwoom manager Hong Won-ki said of Lee, “He seems to be impatient. He’s feeling pressure because he’s thinking that if he doesn’t get one at-bat, he’ll be dropped. That’s why I said, ‘Don’t feel any pressure, I won’t take it off when I play,'” and gave him faith.
After the start of the second half, Lee seemed to come alive with five consecutive hits from July 23 against the Busan Lotte Giants to July 28 against the Daegu Samsung Lions, but then fell silent again. Eventually, manager Hong Won-ki sent Lee down on August 3. After playing eight games for the Futures and batting nearly .300, he was promoted again on August 25.
However, in the 12 games he’s played since being called up, he’s hit safely in only three games, and his September batting average is a dismal .056. During the team’s recent seven-game losing streak, Lee has just one hit in 13 at-bats.
With Lee Jung-hoo out with an injury and Lee Won-seok and Lee Ji-young in the second team, the team was hoping for a big hit from Lee Hyung-jong, but it hasn’t happened.먹튀검증
It’s a disappointing first-team exit for Lee, who was on the verge of reaching 100 games for the first time in four years after playing 120 games in the 2019 season. Kiwoom has 13 games left to play. Will he get another chance?