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Inconsistency Plauging Slugger Lee This Season

Posted April. 25, 2009 05:34,   


Baseball slugger Lee Seung-yeop of Japan’s Yomiuri Giants had an off-year last season due to his injured left thumb injury, but his performance has not improved this season.

Lee through Thursday was second in homers with four, trailing Michihiro Ogasawara Michihiro by one. Lee’s batting average, however, is far lower than expected.

In the first 17 games of the season, Lee went 10-42 for an average of .238. Since 40 percent of his hits were home runs, his image as a long-ball hitter might have improved.

Still, his low average is a cause for worry. He has struck out a whopping 15 times, setting a new Giants record. Of his 10 hits, six were doubles, triples or homers but he still strikes out too frequently. In other words, his performance can be described as “big success or big failure.”

Giants teammate Alex Ramirez has just two homers but 22 hits for an average of .333. Moreover, Ramirez has struck out just seven times in 66 times at bat.

Because of his inconsistency, Lee has often been excluded from the starting lineup. Against the Yokohama Bay Stars April 7, Lee struck out two straight times and was replaced and has since appeared as a starter or pinch hitter.

At the beginning of the season, Lee was No. 5 batter but was demoted to No. 6 from April 10, when the Giants played the Hanshin Tigers.

Lee has also gotten several walks, indicating that he might have improved his sense of hitting. He has been walked seven times in the team’s last four games.

Seoul Broadcasting System baseball commentator Park Roh-jun considered Giants manager Tatsunori Hara’s “platoon system,” or the use of platoon right-handed hitters against left-handed pitchers and vice versa, as the reason for Lee’s poor performance.

“Lee’s techniques are not worse than those of other players. His psychological instability resulting from frequent changes is the reason,” Park said.

Lee has been excluded from the starting lineup if the opposing starting pitcher is a left-hander. He has also been benched when he plays poorly, disrupting his sense of hitting.

“Lee has attempted to overcome his poor performance by trying for big successes, but such an attempt has rather worsen his performance further,” Park said.