“Super Rookie” Kim Min-seok, 19, who joined the Lotte Giants this season after graduating from Whimun High School, has a nickname: “Resigned Idol”.
“I feel popular when I go out and people recognize me,” says Kim, who says he likes his nickname, but blushes, saying he doesn’t have a favorite idol.
“This year, I thought I would just be in the opening lineup and not worry about going down to the second team, but I didn’t think I would be in the first team for so long,” said Kim, who is selling jerseys at an alarming rate, before the NC Dinos’ game against the Busan Sajik Stadium on March 23.
Kim has quickly settled into the first team, batting .262 with one home run, 13 RBIs and 18 runs scored in 33 of the team’s 37 games.
He made his professional debut with a leadoff home run in the first inning against the Hanwha Eagles on April 18, and has consistently batted first to lead off the team’s offense.
“I get a lot of attention, and it’s fun. I think it’s hard to find a place other than Lotte where you can hear the same cheers whether you’re playing at home or away,” he said with pride.
Kim Min-seok has been called the “next Lee Jung-hoo.
He is 185 centimeters tall, graduated from Huimun Middle and Huimun High School, bats right-handed, and is a middle infielder.
“I watched a lot of videos of Lee Jung-hoo, Yuki Yanagita (SoftBank Hawks) and Masataka Yoshida (Boston Red Sox),” he said, adding that he used Lee Jung-hoo’s batting as a textbook.메이저놀이터
What’s a little unique is that he doesn’t just watch videos of hitters hitting well, but also videos of hitters walking off the field.
Normally, I would look for videos of successful hitters, but I think there is something to be learned from their ‘failures’ as well.
It reminds me of the phrase “three people passing by, there is always a teacher” from the Analects, which means “three people passing by, there is always a teacher”.
This is Kim’s own way of watching videos, taking the good and the bad as his teachers.
It’s hard to find highlight reels of batters failing to hit, so he says, “I deliberately watch them (from previous games), or conversely, I watch a collection of pitchers’ strikeouts. I don’t watch them every day, but I watch them often when I think of them.”
Now, Kim has to overcome the intense scrutiny of the pitchers.
“There are a lot of changeups that fall,” he says, “and you have to hold onto them to get a strikeout, which is not easy.”
One of the most difficult pitches is the slider thrown by Kim Kwang-hyun (SSG Landers).
Kim pitched a perfect game against the Busan Lotte on April 20, striking out nine in six innings, and Kim was held to three hits and one walk.
Kim said, “Kim Kwang-hyun’s sliders all looked like strikes, but when I looked at them later, they were all balls. I always prepare confidently, but it was a different feeling facing him because he’s a presidential candidate. I think any left-hander would have swung at that slider,” he said tongue-in-cheek.
For Kim to reach the next level, he’ll need to face more left-handed pitches from the league’s best.
Lotte manager Larry Sutton said, “He’s a good baseball player with good instincts. He needs to gain a lot of experience against left-handed pitchers,” said Lotte manager Larry Sutton.
Kim Min-seok said, “I’m a quick learner. If I decide that what I’ve learned isn’t mine, I quickly discard it. If I keep saying no, I’ll lose it,” he said, adding that he has already established his own batting style.
“I try to hit without effort, but it’s not easy. It’s a human instinct that when the ball comes, you want to hit it hard, and you have to control it. So when I practice, I think, ‘Let’s just hit it to the infield,'” he said.
With such a smooth transition to the first team, Kim has emerged as one of the favorites for the KBO Rookie of the Year award.
“You can only get it once in a lifetime, so I’m greedy, but I don’t think it’s time to worry about it yet,” he said, adding that his real goal is to play in fall baseball.
The pitcher he would most like to face is Doosan Bears right-handed pitcher Nam Yul, a former classmate of Whimunjung-Hwimungo.
“When I played against him as an amateur (through the Cheongbaekjeon), I didn’t get any hits. I think it’s worth a shot now,” he said.