Lee Jong-beom, nicknamed “the son of the wind,” was the 1994 KBO MVP becoming the ultimate five-tool star at 24. Lee Jung-hoo of Kiwoom Heroes, “the grandson of the wind,” is seeking to take over his father’s career and win the title of MVP and the five-tool star at the same age as his father.
On Monday, Lee Jung-hoo sprinted to first place in five categories: batting average (0.348), on-base percentage (0.420), slugging percentage (0.577), most hits (184), and RBI (108). His batting average, in particular, drew attention. If he ranks the top in batting average this year again, following last year, he will become the fourth batting champion to win first place for consecutive years. Considering the 41-year history of professional baseball, Lee is going for the once-in-a-decade record.
If Kiwoom keeps its third place and Lee defends his title of five-tool player to the end, he will be able to position himself as a promising candidate for MVP along with the lefty ace Kim Kwang-hyun of the SSG Landers. “If you look at the major league, the player who shows up for the game every day becomes the MVP,” said Lee Jung-hoo, showing his ambition to receive the MVP award for the first time.
For the top batter Lee to compete with the top pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun, he should first beat Jose Pirela of Samsung Lions. The latter is the runner-up in all categories: batting average (0.342), on-base percentage (0.415), slugging percentage (0.558), most hits (179), and RBI (102). Pirela is likely to come from behind in most hits and RBI among the five, as Samsung has nine matches coming up, four more than Kiwoom (five matches) until the end of the season.
In terms of home runs, Pirela is one step ahead of Lee already, taking second place with 26 home runs after Park Byung-ho of the KT Wiz, who is taking the lead with 33 home runs. Lee ranked sixth along with Kim Jae-hwan of the Doosan Bears with 22 home runs.