Kim Tae-hyung, who returns to the field after a year at the helm of Doosan and begins a new season at the helm of Lotte, was able to lead his team to a third-place regular season finish and a Korean Series title in his first season as manager in 2015 in large part because he was able to capitalize on a number of team and league variables at the time.
First of all, Samsung, which had been locked into the Korean Series, was forced to play with half a team, losing three key pitchers due to the offshore gambling scandal that erupted just before fall baseball, and NC, which was second in the regular season, was unable to shake off its third-year rookie status in the postseason, as the winner of the playoffs was likely to be crowned the champion that year.
Manager Kim Tae-hyung used left-handed free agent Jang Won-jun, a gift to the team, as a mainstay in the regular season and utilized him fully in fall baseball. Jang won three games in four appearances that fall. In addition, foreign pitcher Dustin Nippert, who was limited by injuries during the regular season, returned as a special ace in the postseason.
Behind the scenes, however, there was a bigger engine that would propel the team in the medium to long term. It was the season when the young beasts of the “offense and defense trio” that other clubs envied began to blossom. The trio of Heo Kyung-min, Jung Soo-bin and Park Geon-woo, who were all born in 1990 and were only 25 years old at the time, led the way with 145 hits in the season, followed by Heo Kyung-min with 128. Park saw relatively little playing time due to the presence of Kim Hyun-soo (b. 1988) and Min Byung-heon (b. 1987), but he began to hit his stride with a .342 batting average with 54 hits and an OPS of 0.912. While other “20-something underclassmen” like Kim Jae-hwan (b. 1988) and Choi Ju-hwan (b. 1988) waited their turn, the 30-year-old shortstop Kim Jae-ho (b. 1985) and second baseman Oh Jae-won anchored the center field. It was the beginning of a synergistic combination of Kim Tae-hyung’s hard-hitting drives, the “cosmic energy” directed at Doosan, and the soil laid by the club. Doosan continued its golden era for five to six years with the foundation laid that year.
All eyes now turn to Lotte for the 2024 season. Like Doosan in 2015, Lotte’s roster and Kim’s style of managing the team will be key to watching. Their homegrown starting lineup, led by Park Se-woong and Na Kyun-an, looks to be no slouch compared to Doosan’s 2015 domestic lineup. The success of the new Lotte will be determined by Kim’s ability to manage the beast, and two names that stand out are 2003-born Yoon Dong-hee and 2004-born Kim Min-seok. Yoon has already established himself as a first-team player with 111 hits this season and Kim has 102. Add to that the power-hitting Go Seung-min, a 2000-born “military beast,” and you have a resource in Kim’s sights. Han Dong-hee, who was born in 1999 and has been dubbed the “post Lee Dae-ho,” will need to complete his military service after failing to make the team for this year’s Hangzhou Asian Games.카지노사이트
While Lotte is still working on re-signing Jeon Jun-woo and Ahn Chi-hong, both of whom are eligible for free agency for the second time, it also has some calculable experienced beasts, including 1989-born Noh Jin-hyuk, who was acquired ahead of this season. But dramatic shifts in a team’s strategy often come from younger players. Such has been the case for Kim Tae-hyung’s Doosan teams since 2015.
The Doosan of 2015 and Lotte of 2024 in Kim Tae-hyung’s managerial career look more alike than different, and more alike than different. The key to Lotte’s transformation over the next season or two is likely to be summarized in the development of their younger players.
Even before the season started, Lotte was considered a “top-five contender” by experts. They were even fighting for the lead until last May. The ‘field’ to build something and make it big is there.