Lotte Giants rookie outfielder Kim Min-seok (19) is on a roll. He’s the only outfielder to join the team this year, and he’s emerging as a Rookie of the Year candidate.
Through 23 games, Kim is batting .262 with 13 RBIs, 18 runs scored, and six stolen bases. He has recently taken over as Lotte’s leadoff hitter and is doing a great job of spearheading the offense.
Kim Min-seok is a big-time prospect who has been called the “next Lee Jung-hoo” since he joined the organization. He is from the same school as Lee, who joined the Kiwoom Heroes in 2017, and also switched from an infielder to an outfielder after joining the professional ranks. Kim batted .544 in high school last year and won the Lee Young-min batting award.
A first-round pick in the 2023 Lotte First-Year Player Draft, Kim was the only Lotte rookie to attend spring training from start to finish and was named to the opening day roster. “At first, my goal was to make the opening day roster. “I was lucky enough to make the roster, but when the third- through fifth-string pitchers were added to the roster (in the second week of the season), I thought I would be left out. I thought, ‘I’ve achieved my goal (of making the roster), so let’s go to the second team and work hard,'” he recalled.
Kim Min-seok has made a name for himself in the first team. He has filled the gap perfectly when Hwang Sung-bin was injured and Ahn Kwon-soo was out of form.
His recent performances are even more impressive. He hit .381 (8-for-21) last week, including his first career home run against the Hanwha Eagles on April 18. After hitting just .196 in April, he has jumped to .333 this month. He’s quickly adjusting to the professional game.
This year’s Rookie of the Year candidates are plentiful. Rookie pitchers such as Kim Seo-hyun of the Hanwha Eagles, Yoon Young-chul of the KIA Tigers, Song Young-jin of the SSG Landers, and Park Myung-geun of the LG Twins are all showing outstanding performances. Moon Dong-ju, in his second year in the organization, has joined the Rookie of the Year race with the fastest pitch in Korea at 160.1 kilometers per hour.안전놀이터
It’s not easy for a rookie to make a mark on the first team in his first year. Pitchers can get a chance if they have the support of the pitching staff, but pitchers need to be able to field, run, and run the bases as well as hit. Among the rookies this season, Kim Min-seok is the only one who has gotten regular at-bats.
In an interview with this magazine a month ago, when asked about challenging for the Rookie of the Year award, Kim said, “My friends from the youth national team, such as Yoon Young-chul and Moon Hyun-bin (Hanwha), are doing well, so it’s good for me,” adding, “I heard that (Moon’s) brother Dong-joo is also a candidate for the Rookie of the Year award.” “I want to be the Rookie of the Year,” he said, adding, “It won’t be easy because there are a lot of competitors, but I’ll give it a try.”
Kim Min Suk is known as the ‘resignation idol’. He’s handsome and talented, and his popularity is skyrocketing. He has already become the number one seller of jerseys in the team. Some fans pay for his food, and he is inundated with fan letters and gifts. “When I get the chance, I’m trying to do it without regrets. My goal is to get as many hits as possible and get on base,” he said emphatically.