“It’s already been 4 years since our debut. Time really flies. In fact, I haven’t done anything for three years now.”
Kiwoom Heroes left-handed pitcher Lee Jong-min (22) looked back on his pro career and expressed his determination for the 2023 season.
Lee Jong-min joined Kiwoom with the 7th overall pick in the 2nd 1st round of the 2020 KBO League Rookie Draft. Amid much anticipation, he rose to the top of the Northern League in the Futures League the following year. His rapid growth has raised expectations for the 2022 season, but the results have not. He dropped out during the spring camp due to elbow pain and never made it to the first team.
However, the 2022 season wasn’t all that dark. In the Futures League, he was sluggish in the first half, but managed to rebound in the second half. At the end of the season, he made 5 consecutive wins with 25 scoreless innings, and recorded a final score of 9 wins, 1 loss, 1 hold, and an average ERA of 3.48 in 72⅓ innings. After the season, Hyung-wook Koh, general manager of Kiwoom, mentioned Jong-min Lee as a candidate for the starting lineup in an interview with Sporty News.
Lee Jong-min, whose potential was recognized by the club, said, “I am grateful that the general manager mentioned my name. But it’s up to me to do it. If I can’t do anything, nothing will happen. I think it’s important how well you do,” he said.
The off-season Lee Jong-min ahead of the spring camp was different from the previous year. In the meantime, he has been away from his training method and visited baseball lessons to strengthen his restraint and prevent injuries.
Lee Jong-min said, “The thing I had to supplement was speed. To improve that point, I did a lot of exercises to increase velocity. In addition, in order to have an injury-free season, I focused on exercises to develop the quickness of the body.”
“During the off-season, I personally worked out in Goyang (Futures) and Gocheok. This year, I wanted to try different ways. It was the first time I trained with a trainer since high school, and he was calm when exercising, and it suited the direction I was pursuing.”
The reason Lee Jong-min pursued a new training method was because of his earnest desire to throw the ball in the first team. 스포츠토토 “It is already the 4th year of his debut. Time really flies. In fact, he hasn’t done anything for 3 years now. He had to play in the first team, but he was very sluggish and did not appear often. His biggest wish is to play many games in the first team,” he said.
Finally, Lee Jong-min said, “I’m good at commanding and commanding. It also seems to have one definite change ball. My changeup is my main weapon, and opponent hitters always said it was ‘good’. It seems that the ability to manage the game is also an advantage,” he said, resolutely determined to throw his own ball in the first team.
Lee Jong-min has proven his potential in the Futures League and is highly anticipated by the club because of his various strengths. I am curious to see what kind of performance Lee Jong-min, the futures league champion who is desperate for a first-team stage, will show next season.