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KT Wiz genius hitter Kang Baek-ho’s ‘Catcher Transformation’

“It can be fun at first. But if you keep going, you’ll get bored and have a hard time.”

KT Wiz’s genius hitter Kang Baek-ho’s “catcher transformation” project has begun in earnest. KT manager Lee Kang-chul praised Kang repeatedly, saying he would do well, but also expressed his affectionate request.

Kang Baek-ho wore a starting catcher mask against the LG Twins at Jamsil Stadium on April 5. In terms of players, this is the first time in seven years since their KBO League debut in 2018. On this day, “Captor” Kang Baek-ho led his team to victory by completing the catcher’s defense until the 10th inning of overtime against LG. After the game, the player himself said, “I think I need to work harder,” expressing his feelings about the “debut match,” saying, “I’m not good enough because I started later than others.”

Of course, it is hard to expect “completed” catcher Kang Baek-ho right now. He has played without fixing his defensive position even at a young age. Now he is back on the starting line, and he needs more time. For KT, it seems that it is also prepared to pay some kind of “tax.” Just like the coach’s concerns, settling in a new position is always accompanied by tough times.

LG also has similar concerns and expectations for its rookie Kim Bum-suk in his second year since debut. The common denominator between Kang Baek-ho and Kim is also an enormous batting talent. The problem with their defensive positions, which has been hanging over them for years, is like a “Gordius knot.” Only when they overcome that, will they be able to have a bigger catcher just like Yang Eui-ji Doosan Bears.

“You were good.” From the head coach to the commentator…I have high expectations for “Four Seasons”

KT catcher Kang Baek-ho
Born in 1999, Kang graduated from Seoul High School as a right-handed pitcher and left-handed pitcher, and joined KT as the first choice in the second round of the 2018 KBO Rookie Draft. It has already been seven years since he made his professional debut. When he was a student at Seoul High School, he played various roles along with catchers and pitchers, and was evaluated as the “biggest” player in high school baseball. However, he played outfielders and first baseman in professional competitions, and mostly served as designated hitter in international competitions.

Pitcher Joo Seung-woo, who made a leap to the Kiwoom Heroes’ must-win group this season, worked with Kang Baek-ho at Seoul High School. “Bosser Gang Baek-ho was quite stable,” Joo said at the Gocheok Sky Dome on Saturday. “He was in a good position, so he would be able to do well.”

Returning as a catcher after turning around, Kang is invigorating his team with a brighter atmosphere at any point in training or games. Last year, he was hardly able to smile due to accumulated stress and repeated injuries, but it is different this season. KT manager Lee Kang-chul said, “Baekho’s bat has improved a lot, perhaps because of his brightening of his face recently.” Kang, who met with reporters after the game against LG on Saturday, also said, “I am talking to my fellow pitchers as much as possible to have fun.”

This is not all. Kang hit 97 home runs in the KT Wizards. Mel Rojas Jr. 119 was the only player in the Wizards to cross more fences than this in the past seven seasons. If such a slugger can consistently wear a catcher’s mask, KT’s 144-game season will be much more convenient.

Kang Baek-ho started as a catcher against LG in Jamsil on the 5th
A case in point is the starting lineup for the LG match on Thursday. On the day, KT created a batting order in which Bae Jung-dae center fielder, Chun Sung-ho second baseman, Rohas designated hitter, Kang Baek-ho catcher, Kim Min-hyuk left fielder, Hwang Jae-gyun third baseman, Moon Sang-cheol first baseman, Cho Yong-ho right fielder, and Kim Sang-soo striker will be replaced. “Rohas will be given a break in defense, and an additional outfielder will be available as a starting pitcher,” Lee said. “The first baseman will also be able to take turns depending on his condition, and the framework for player management will be wider than before.”

“Baekho’s participation as a catcher is a judgment for his future. We have to look at the long term until next year and the year after that. If we make one, we will take responsibility for KT’s 10 years.” This is where manager Lee Kang-chul’s eyes twinkled.

“Kang’s catcher defense against LG on Tuesday was stable,” SPOTV commentator Lee Seong-woo said after contacting Sports Chunchu. “In particular, he displayed a bold lead by playing with rookie pitcher Wonsang Hyun. In the first inning alone, he pitched five consecutive fastball games against Park Hae-min and three curves against Hong Chang-ki to gain the upper hand in two strikes. “Kang’s strength is that he is as calm at home as he is at bat.”

Lee Seong-woo has 22 years of experience as a catcher who spent 22 years as a professional catcher. He said he would “be a godsend” for Kang’s transformation, but added that he also has a clear risk of hugging him. According to Lee, there are as many as 288 variables that occur in a single game. In addition, Kang will play the new position as a catcher who serves as the team’s “brain,” not a first base and an outfield player.

“The first team is a place where you have to produce results, so sometimes if a player is shaken up in defense, his team’s faith can sometimes be shaken up,” Lee said. “The same is true for KT. We need to support the player despite the ‘scheduled tax’ to help Kang grow.”

“I am a player who has had a very difficult time over the past two years. I feel like I am wearing ‘my clothes’ now that I am smiling and relaxed on the field. I may be confused sometimes in the catcher’s position, but I think I will be very flexible and wise in dealing with it,” said Lee Seong-woo.

“Hitting talent, a really outstanding prospect.” Kim Bum-suk, it’s too early to give up defense

LG’s key rising star Kim Bum-suk
On the day Kang Baek-ho debuted as a catcher, LG’s next-generation home turf Kim Bum-suk wore a catcher mask in his first appearance in the Futures League at LG Champions Park in Icheon. Kim Bum-seok started as a designated hitter in the 5th against the Goyang Heroes, recorded 2 hits and 3 RBIs in 5 times at bat, and played catcher defense for 3 innings during the game.

Kim Beom-seok, a promising right-handed pitcher and right-handed slugger born in 2004, entered the professional stage through the seventh pick in the first round of the 2023 KBO Rookie Draft. This year marks the second year of his professional debut, and he has been evaluated as the best in the league as his batting talent. In last year’s Futures League, he recorded six home runs in 58 games with OPS on-base plus slugging percentage of 0.789, and at the end of the regular season on Oct. 9, he joined the first team and recorded his first home run against the Lotte Giants.

Having paid attention to such batting talent, LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop originally tried to give Kim many chances from this season. This is why Kim was named as one of the most prominent players at the Arizona Spring Camp that took place before the opening of the season. However, things got complicated when he suffered an internal oblique muscle injury during the camp. At that time, Yeom and the team’s coaching staff reportedly delivered a strong message regarding Kim’s self-management, including his weight problems.

Still, what remains the same is that Kim Beom-seok is LG’s core resource for the future. Yeom plans to call Kim Beom-seok up as the first team midway through this season and use him as a substitute resource. “I don’t have the resources that I can use as a substitute for the first team entry right now,” Yeom told reporters in Jamsil on Tuesday. “I think Kim Beom-seok can be used during this season.”

However, this will only be possible after completing several missions in the Futures Team second tier. On the ongoing weight loss issue, Yeom said, “It will not be easy.” He added, “Be it a catcher or a first baseman, we need to gain some experience.” For your information, Kim Bum-suk played first base defense for seven innings in the match against Goyang on Tuesday.

This demonstrates LG’s determination not to limit Kim’s batting talent to simply designated hitters or substitutes. Commentator Lee Seong-woo also has the experience of seeing Kim’s potential more closely than anyone else. This is due to his memory from the U-18 national baseball team practice match two years ago.

The image of catcher Kim Beom-seok left during the youth national team
Kim, who was a student at Kyungnam High School at the time, was in charge of the youth team’s home turf with Kim Dong-heon currently Kiwoom Heroes at Chungam High School, and played a practice match with the LG Futures team in Icheon prior to the main competition. Kim’s talent was also captured in the eyes of Lee, who served as LG Futures team’s battery coach that year.

“It was different for sure. It wasn’t a 18-year-old hit. From when he hit breaking balls thrown by professional players, he continued to respond flexibly at bat mechanically. I was really surprised.” This is what high school student Kim Bum-suk looks like in Lee Seong-woo’s memory.

“The bat is as high as it is close to the complete type,” Lee said. “To maximize it, we will also need more effort to create a defensive position. Of course, there will be a lot of shortcomings right now, but it is nonsense to give up defense already at a young age.”

The “catcher” challenge between the two talents has just begun to take the stage for verification. It is difficult to assess a long marathon run with just one step. Attention is focusing on whether Kang Baek-ho and Kim Bum-seok will be able to become the “best-ever” catchers that will shake up the KBO League in the future. 토토사이트 순위


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