Lotte Giants’ last ‘fall baseball’ was in 2017. Lotte, who finished third in the regular season at the time, was eliminated by NC with 2 wins and 3 losses in the semi-playoffs. Over the next 5 years, they ranked 7th – 10th – 7th – 8th – 8th and have not advanced to the postseason.
Lotte made bold investments in the offseason by recruiting free agents to reinforce its weak position. They recruited a catcher, shortstop, and even a starting pitcher, and are immediately evaluated as a best-of-five. The only regret is that Lee Dae-ho’s retirement left a big hole in the center of the batting line.
Lotte, which recruited An Chi-hong as an outside free agent ahead of the 2020 season, opened a wallet in the free agent market again after three years. Catcher Yoo Kang-nam was brought in for up to 8 billion won over four years, and shortstop Noh Jin-hyeok was brought in for up to 5 billion won over four years. And on the 17th, he signed a free agent contract with pitcher Han Hyun-hee for up to 4 billion won in 3+1 years. An opt-out clause is included, and the guaranteed amount is 1.8 billion won, and the option is up to 2.2 billion won.
After Kang Min-ho (Samsung) transfer, the catcher, who has been a concern for several years, is reliable with the recruitment of ‘Geumgang Buddha’ Kang-nam Yoo. With the departure of foreign player Machado, the shortstop, which became a factor of anxiety, was also upgraded to Noh Jin-hyeok, who has offensive power. 토토사이트
The depth of the pitching staff was also reinforced by recruiting Han Hyun-hee, who has rich experience in both selection and bullpen. With two foreign pitchers (Barnes and Strayley) and Park Se-woong, Lotte is stable in the first three starts. Na Kyun-ahn, Lee In-bok, young Seo Jun-won, and Kim Jin-wook, who settled down as starting pitchers last year, will compete for the remaining two spots.
Han Hyun-hee has also been sluggish for the past two years, but if she regains a stable pitch, she can join the starting rotation. Players who are pushed out of the 4th and 5th starts can thicken the mound with long relief from the bullpen. Therefore, the bullpen with closer Kim Won-joong, Pil Seung-jo, Koo Seung-min, Choi Jun-yong, and Kim Do-kyu will also be better.
With the addition of Yu Kang-nam and Roh Jin-hyuk, the offensive power of the catcher and shortstop positions will increase. Ahn Chi-hong and Jeon Jun-woo, who record steady stats, will lead the batting line as the center hitters. Last year, Hwang Seong-bin and Go Seung-min showed an improved appearance in the right field position without Son Ah-seop (NC).
Rex, a foreign hitter, recorded a batting average of 3.3, 8 homers, 34 RBIs, and an OPS of .905 while playing 56 games last year.
However, with Lee Dae-ho’s retirement, a major part of the center lineup has been left out. In his retirement season last year, Lee Dae-ho boasted offensive power comparable to his heyday. He played in 142 games, posting a . He competed for the batting title, and showed the league’s top class batting to the end with 5th home run and 4th RBI.
The growth of Han Dong-hee, who is expected to be Lee Dae-ho’s successor, is important. Han Dong-hee recorded a batting average of 307, 14 homers, 65 RBIs, and an OPS of .817 in 129 games last year. Good grades as a 5th year pro. However, it was regrettable that he dropped from 73 games and 11 home runs OPS of .886 in the first half to .724 and 3 home runs in 56 games in the second half. If Han Dong-hee maintains the pace of the first half throughout the season, Lee Dae-ho’s vacancy will be less regrettable.
Last year, Lotte was 8th. Advancing to the postseason this year will be at least the marginal line. Lotte fans are expected to advance to the postseason for the first time in 6 years and to rank in the top 5 or higher.