There are no outstanding performances yet. However, catcher Kang-Nam Yoo (31) and shortstop Jin-Hyeok Noh (34), who were ambitiously recruited by the Lotte Giants as free agents, are contributing to the team little by little behind the scenes.
Lotte won 5-3 in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League home game against KT Wiz held at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on the 9th. With this, Lotte escaped a 3-game losing streak that started with Incheon SSG on the 4th.
On this day, starting pitcher Na Gyun-an (25) and center fielder Kim Min-seok (19) were awarded the honors. Na Gyun-an recorded 8 strikeouts and no runs in 7 innings with perfect control and a dancing forkball. In addition, Kim Min-seok, who was included in the first-team starting lineup for the first time in his life, achieved multiple hits with 2 hits and 2 RBIs in 4 at-bats.
However, Yoo Kang-nam and Noh Jin-hyuk also faithfully performed their roles behind the scenes. On this day, Yoo Kang-nam, who came out as the team’s 8th hitter and catcher, formed a battery with Na Kyun-an and led the scoreless pitch. He led the KT batting line to miss swings while inducing them to use the deciding ball in the right place.
Yoo Gang-nam, who hit his first home run in the game the previous day after transferring, came out as the lead batter at the end of the 7th inning and scored a hit. Afterwards, Lotte replaced Yu Kang-nam with runner Shin Yun-hu, and Noh Jin-hyeok, the 8th hitter and shortstop, appeared at bat.
First base runner Shin Yun-hoo started with the first pitch, and Noh Jin-hyeok didn’t hesitate to bat. The ball he sent rolled to the position where shortstop Kim Sang-soo was standing after unfortunately entering the base cover. It was a sensible hit that sent the runner from first base to third base. In this way, Noh Jin-hyeok created a chance and Lotte broke the balance of 0 by scoring 3 points in the 7th inning.
Noh Jin-hyeok’s sense also came out in the next at-bat. At the end of the 8th inning, Lotte made a safe base with consecutive hits and walks. Noh Jin-hyeok, who appeared at bat here, effortlessly pushed the ball to the left. Left fielder Anthony Alford stepped back and caught the ball, and the runner on third base effortlessly homered. Even in a situation where you can be greedy, you played a team bet.
On this day, Yoo Kang-nam recorded 1 hit in 3 at-bats, and Noh Jin-hyeok recorded 1 hit in 2 at-bats, 1 walk and 1 RBI. Looking at the results alone, it was not impressive, but it was a solid performance and became a stepping stone to victory.
In the first six games of the season, the two cannot be considered to be in good form yet. Yoo Kang-nam has a batting average of 0.235 and one home run, and Roh Jin-hyeok is staying in the 10% batting average (0.158). They are two players who have also excelled with the bat, so they still need time.
However, even in this situation, they show plays as if they know baseball. In the season opener against Doosan on the 1st, Noh Jin-hyeok scored an extra point with an out-of-the-box squeeze bunt in the top of the 6th inning. Yoo Kang-nam also showed a slow pace by picking out two walks on the same day. It was a play that would serve as an example for Lotte, which has many young players.
Kang-Nam Yoo and Jin-Hyuk Noh are free agents recruited by Lotte with great enthusiasm last winter. On November 21 last year, Gangnam Yoo first signed a contract for 4 years and 8 billion won, and Jinhyuk Noh also signed a 4-year, 5 billion won contract with Lotte two days later. The two players, along with pitcher Han Hyun-hee (30) and center fielder Ahn Kwon-soo (30), were members of Lotte’s ‘Centerline Reinforcement Project’.
Free agency is not only a player’s skills, but also live with experience.메이저놀이터 Larry Sutton (53), Lotte coach, said during the last spring camp, “I was surprised to see (FA recruited players) working hard consistently.” think,” he said.
It is also positive that veteran players are raising the atmosphere first. Noh Jin-hyeok, who had experience as a captain during his NC days, first approached his junior players with a difference in age and made friends. Yoo Kang-nam is also instilling confidence in the pitchers through great reactions from the catcher’s seat. This can also be considered as an intangible asset.
Lotte often showed regret in the past in terms of organizational power. However, this season, as ‘experienced newcomers’ came in, they started to play well-structured baseball.