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LG Twins are heading to spring training at the top

For the second year in a row, the defending champion LG Twins are heading to spring training at the top.

The LG Twins will depart for Arizona on March 30 for their 2024 training camp. The Arizona camp, which runs through March 4, will feature 19 members of manager Yoon Kyung-yeop’s coaching staff and 42 players, including captain Oh Ji-hwan. There are 23 pitchers, four catchers, eight infielders and seven outfielders.

The pitching staff is largely composed of first-team players and young prospects. During the camp, LG will play two practice games against NC on February 26 and 29 to check their performance.

Among the 42 campers are infielder Kim Min-soo, who recently joined the team in a sign-and-trade for free agent Kim Min-sung, pitcher Lee Jong-jun, the only player selected in the second round of last November’s draft, and rookies Kim Hyun-jong, outfielder Son Yong-joon, and pitcher Jin Woo-young, who were selected in the second and third rounds.

On April 26,

LG signed free agent Kim Min-sung (35) to a contract for up to three years (2+1 years) and a total of 900 million won (200 million won down payment, 500 million won annual salary, 안전놀이터 200 million won option). The team then acquired infielder Kim Min-soo (25) from Lotte and executed a one-for-one trade for Kim Min-sung.

Min-soo, who joined Lotte in the second round in 2017, appeared in 188 games in the first team until last year, batting 2-for-4 with 106 hits (three home runs), 38 walks, and an OPS of .630 (on-base percentage of .313, slugging percentage of .317). LG described Kim as “a former youth representative who completed military service with the National Police Agency and is an infielder with great hitting ability, excellent handling, and good throwing ability.”

Manager Yeom Kyung-yeop, who left for spring training early on the 26th, said of Kim Min-soo, “I think he can play first and third base at any time, and I plan to train him a lot at shortstop and second base. If you become a shortstop and second baseman, it will be difficult, but first and third base can be done at any time, so I will try to teach him the difficult ones first.” “On the batting side, we’ll talk to the batting coach about some of the basics that Min-soo needs to work on, so he’ll get a chance as we used (Kim) Min-sung,” he added.

Kim is primarily a third baseman

He played all four infield positions for Lotte in 2021 and 2022: first base, second base, third base, and shortstop. He appeared in 25 games last year, batting 2-for-9 (43 RBI) with a .599 OPS. He didn’t get much playing time.

Yoon said, “If he develops well, you can see what Min-sung was like when he was good and what he was like when he was younger, so if he develops to that level, he has tremendous value to the team. He’s not a home run hitter, but he has some power.”

He added, “Behind Oh Ji-hwan is (Lee) Young-bin, but there are other people who need to prepare as well. There is a big difference in depth compared to Young-bin preparing alone. Also, if Young-bin fails with one card, there is no next card. After Young-bin, Ji-hwan should be the next one.” Lee Young-bin, who plays for Sangmu, is scheduled to be discharged from the military in July.

Lee Jong-jun is a pitcher who still has first-team experience.

In the second round of the draft held last November, LG selected him in the last three rounds. He was playing for NC as a developmental player until last year.

Lee was drafted by the NC Dinos in the ninth round (81st overall) of the second round of the 2020 KBO Draft after graduating from Gunsan High School. He has good size at 191 centimeters and 93 kilograms. He is a right-handed orthodox pitcher with a mid-90s fastball.

He hasn’t played much since joining NC. In the 2021 Futures League, he went 3-0 with an ERA of 0 in eight games (19⅔ innings). He walked 11 and struck out 11 in 19⅔ innings. He has since completed his military service and hasn’t pitched in the last two years.

Manager Cha Myung-seok said, “I didn’t see him pitch. Kim Jae-hyun, who is now the SSG manager, and Hwang Hyun-chul, the second team manager of operations, said they saw him in October last year during an educational league game against NC. His physical condition is good, and he’s still a bit unpolished, but he’s worth a try based on the reports we analyzed from the second team. It’s worth bringing him in and making him a starter. That’s what the report said.”

The rookies

Included Kim Hyun-jong, Son Yong-joon, and Jin Woo-young. Compared to last year, when only one rookie, Park Myung-geun, participated. Kim Hyun-jong is an outfielder from Incheon High School who was selected in the second round.

He received one-on-one instruction on outfield defense from coach Lee Jong-beom during the final camp in November last year. The LG scouting team evaluated him as “a player who has a clear strength in offense and is a mid-to-long-range type with a stable overall appearance, including his defensive range, ability to judge balls, and speed of reaction to balls.”

Son Yong-jun is an infielder from Dongwon University of Science and Technology who was selected in the third round. He has quick feet. “He is an infielder with good offensive ability, good contact and power, and a player with a wide range of defensive activities, quick batting judgment, and a good start,” LG noted. Son Yong-jun has completed his military service.

Jin Woo-young arrived in the United States in August 2018, signing with Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals. However, he played in the Rookie League and returned to South Korea after three years. He was released in September 2021. He returned to South Korea, completed his military service, and played for the Paju Challengers in the independent league last year. He was evaluated for his excellent physical condition, stable fastball, and heavy delivery.

Coach Yeom Kyung-yup said of Jin Woo-young

“His fastball seems to have some power, and he throws a variety of pitches. His delivery doesn’t seem to be too bad either. 파워볼게임 I saw him half-pitching in the winter, and it doesn’t seem to be bad.”

Jin Woo-young is a candidate for the bullpen. “I think Lee Sang-young will get a spot,” Yeom said. Along with Kim Dae-hyun, Kim Yoo-young, Yoon Hosol, and Sung Dong-hyun, Jin Woo-young will compete for a spot in the bullpen.”

Meanwhile, Son Ju-young, Jung Woo-young, Lee Ji-gang, Lee Sang-young, Kim Yun-sik, and Kang Hyo-jong left the country on the 20th and are currently conducting voluntary training in Arizona.

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