Doosan Bears infielder Lee Yoo-chan (25) has been removed from the first team roster for the first time this season.
With the game against the Samsung Lions in Jamsil canceled due to rain on Tuesday, Doosan demoted Lee to the second team and added infielder Ahn Jae-seok (21) to the first team roster. Ahn was sent down to the second team after suffering a back injury on June 17, and rejoined the first team after 54 days of rehabilitation and rebuilding.
Lee is the next infielder that Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop has worked hard to develop this year. Lee was highly anticipated when he returned to the team last year after being released from service. His power was unparalleled in Doosan before he joined the team, and his defense was considered solid for a second baseman. His bat was his biggest area of improvement, and he’s been able to excel as he’s gotten consistent playing time. In 82 games with the Commerce last year, he batted .350 (112-for-320) with six home runs and 64 RBIs, raising expectations for his return.
Lee led the competition for the starting shortstop from last year’s final camp to this year’s spring training in Australia. Along with veteran Kim Jae-ho (38), Lee Yoo-chan, Ahn Jae-seok, and Park Kye-beom (27) were candidates. With Kim Jae-ho, the team’s most reliable outfielder, not improving quickly, Lee needed a younger shortstop to anchor the center field line.온라인바카라
Lee’s first choice for the starting shortstop was Lee Yoo-chan. Lee was honored to be named the starting shortstop on Opening Day for the first time in his career, and he said, “As a professional, you have to seize the opportunity when it comes.”
Lee joined Doosan in 2017 and is now in his seventh year as a professional, but until last year, he was only a backup in the first team. He bounced between the first and second teams and never played a full season with the first team.
In fact, his first full season this year came with its own set of challenges. As the summer approached, his physical strength declined, and mistakes in defense and base running became more frequent. Defense and running the bases are his strengths, so he shouldn’t have made any mistakes, but as his strengths diminished, his confidence took a hit. When he moved from shortstop to second base, he seemed to stabilize for a while.
But lately, his motivation to make up for his mistakes and do better has led to more frequent errors. His errors have reached 13. To be fair, he hasn’t been able to compete with shortstop Kim Jae-ho and second baseman Kang Seung-ho. That’s why Lee made the decision to send him to the second team.
Lee always emphasizes that “the professional world is cold”. Lee always emphasizes that “the professional world is cold.” Someone’s crisis is someone else’s opportunity, and Lee’s missed opportunity was Ahn Jae-seok. Ahn joined Doosan as a first-round pick in 2021 and was touted as the next star shortstop to succeed Kim Jae-ho, and when Lee was hired in October last year, he revealed that he had “kept an eye on him when I was a commentator.”
However, Ahn had his worst season since his professional debut this year. In 20 games, he batted just .180 (9-for-50) with one home run and four RBIs. Hitting is hitting, but his defense, which was considered very stable for a rookie, faltered, and he was forced to spend a long time in the second team rebuilding.
With all of Doosan’s young shortstops faltering, there’s no way the Bears would be fighting for a top-five finish if Kim Jae-ho hadn’t been able to hold up his end of the bargain. Kim was forced to make way for younger players at the beginning of the season, but he persevered and started to get more playing time in the hot summer. His season stats are 50 games, a .308 batting average (37 for 120), and 12 RBIs. His steady hit production and ability to run the bases has allowed him to anchor the middle of the infield as of late while filling in at second base. Even with a narrower defensive range than in his prime, I don’t see a shortstop who could push him out of the lineup.
Still, he needs someone to share the physical burden. Lee said, “I really like Kim Jae-ho. He’s doing really well, so we have no choice but to play him every day. He’s a veteran, and he’s 39 years old, so we have to manage him, but we don’t have any other options,” Lee said soberly.
With Ahn Jae-seok’s return from the second team, will he be able to share the burden of Kim Jae-ho and help the team fight for the final spot in the second half of the season? In five August games in the Futures League, Ahn hit .273 (3-for-11) with one home run and four RBIs.