Go to contents

Evaluation of Lee in First Half of Season

Posted July. 09, 2004 22:10,   


The expectation graded “A,” the performance graded “C,” and the evaluation graded “F.”

“National hitter” Lee Seung-yup’s (28•Jiba Lotte Marlins) grades for the opening half of the season were miserable. He made 58 appearances in the team’s 82 games and notched a .231 (48 hits in 208 at-bats) batting average, 37 RBIs and 26 earned runs. Hardly any dignified aspects could be found from the “Asian Home-Run King” who launched 56 homers last year.

Lee must have been deeply suffering mentally because he threw a suggestive joke in his return to the domestic league to the opposing pitcher, Orix’s Koo Dae-sung (35), on the day of the last match of the first half of the season on July 8 by saying, “I would soon follow you.”

We will take a look back at Lee’s first half and find ways to overcome his problems in the coming half of the season.

--A short spotlight with a long depression

The start looked fresh. In the season opener on March 27 against Seibu’s monstrous pitcher Matszaka, Lee hit a game-deciding double and on April 4, recorded his first homerun by launching a 150m home run, which went out of the park, as he made his presence in Japan felt. On the 5th, Lee recorded his 2nd consecutive homerun and lifted his batting average up to .341 as he made 5 straight hits until the 9th.

That was the end of the happy story. Lee Seung-yup, who got substituted for after getting intentional pitches, struggled a bit as he had to face a shocking degradation to the second division. Lee underwent 24 days of gloom and after his comeback to the first division on June 4, he showed short distance glitter with four hits, but his shameful batting average in the .230s remained the same.

Lee dropped out in the competition against Hokuwora (batting average: 0.310, homeruns: 9, 44 RBI) for the 1st baseman’s spot and was excluded from the starting lineup in 12 games in which the opposing pitchers were lefties as he suffered insult for even numbers in appearances.

--Strengthening his batting and a golden chance to rejuvenate.

The whole coaching staff, including Coach Bobby Valentine and national baseball experts, all tried to give a hand, but Lee’s batting is still an unsolved task. Now everyone knows that Lee is weak in pitches on the corners and lacks the ability to cope with curve balls or forkballs which sharply drop down as he tries to pull the ball.

But above all, the most urgent issue is to recover from his unbalanced batting stance. From this point of view, the six days of the All-Star break, from July 9 until July 15, can’t be a better chance for him to re-equip it.

Lee commented: “It was a flaw for a pro baseball player, but became a chance to step up higher in humanity.” He added, “I’ll take the posture as of a rookie.” Lee will rest until July 10 and be rapt in watching videotapes, which could be used to analyze his own merits and downfalls, and opposing pitchers’ patterns. Lee will participate in team training on July 11 and start for the first match up of the second half of the season against Japan Ham on July 16.

--Factors other than baseball

The biggest factor is the rumor of the merger with the teams within the Pacific league. There are rumors swirling that the 12 teams, including the Central league, will cut down to 10 as the planned mergers between Orix and Kintetsu, and Lotte and Daiei draw closer. In that case, the consolidated teams are in the stance that they could send off only half of the foreign players they possess. This could directly affect Lee’s course of action. This explains the distinct reason for Lee to exert his best.

Hwan Soo Zang zangpabo@donga.com