“It’s all thanks to the fans!”…”Jujeon Leap → AG Gold Medal → First All-Star” greetings from Yoon Dong-hee, who has grown up in two years

Lotte Giants’ Yoon Dong-hee tasted the joy of being named the “Best 12” for the first time in his life at the 2024 KBO League All-Star Game at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on July 6. Yoon Dong-hee won 1,038,735 votes in the Dream All-Star Outfielder category, securing the second-largest number of votes after Jung Soo-bin (1,041,628 votes).안전놀이터

Yoon Dong-hee was selected by Lotte with the 24th overall pick in the second and third rounds of the 2022 rookie draft. After failing to leave a significant result early on in his debut, Yoon started the season with the second division as well. However, it didn’t take long for him to get called up by the first division. After his first call-up in late April, Yoon proved his worth by swinging hard at the plate every day, successfully securing a spot on the starting lineup, and posted 111 hits, two homers, and a batting average of 0.287 in 107 games.

It was not the only problem. Last year, Yoon joined the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) team and won a gold medal, and after the season ended, he joined the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) team. He also enjoyed the joy of playing both games as a member of Team Korea at the “Seoul Series” with the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers held in March this year. In addition, since he was diligent enough, Kim once nailed the game as a mainstay ahead of his spring camp.

However, the starting process of this season was not smooth. Yoon got off to a good start with six hits, two RBIs, four runs and a batting average of 0.261 in seven games after the season opened, but his performance in April was regrettable. Yoon produced hits in 14 of 22 games, of which he produced only one hit in 10 of them. As a result, his batting average stood at 0.229 during the month of April. However, he started to regain his senses in mid-April, and his bat began to blow in May.

Starting with the game against the NC Dinos on April 27, Yoon had 12 consecutive hits until his showdown with the LG Twins on May 12. Notably, he had multiple hits in 11 games, including five three-hit games, with 23 hits, one homer, nine RBIs, two runs scored, and a batting average of 0.366 OPS of 0.896. It wasn’t just Yoon’s performance, but Lotte also drew an upward curve from May. And the good trend is continuing until June. Yoon has a monthly batting average of 0.313, as of the end of the game on the 28th. His batting average for this season has surpassed .300, and he has recovered to be worthy of an All-Star.

“It’s great,” Yoon said with a big smile when asked how he felt about playing in the All-Star Game amid huge support from fans. “I’ve been watching the All-Star Game since I was a child, and I thought it was such a high place that I could never imagine playing in that position. However, it is an honor to play in the All-Star Game in the second year of the first team and the third year of joining the team. I also want to give credit to fans because I am able to play in the All-Star Game. Futures All-Star feels different because it has nothing to do with fan voting,” he said.

He has been on a great career since last year, so did he have any expectations for the All-Star? “I wasn’t actually conscious (of the vote). Of course, I knew I received a lot of votes from the beginning, but the team’s performance was not good. And I didn’t pay much attention to the All-Star game because the team was on an upward trajectory,” he said. “I think it’s all thanks to the fans. I didn’t do well at the beginning of this season. And now I’m recovering, and I think my growth story helped me to play in the All-Star game. It was difficult for me, but I think the fans would have voted, thinking, ‘You’re coping well’.”

The All-Star Game is a venue where players representing the league compete with one another to win the title. However, many players in the KBO League provide entertainment through various events as fans chose the game. For this reason, there is the “Best Performance” award. At last year’s All-Star game, Kim Min-seok, who is considered Yoon Dong-hee’s best friend even though he is a junior, appeared with a pin in his head and danced to Black Pink Jenny’s “SOLO,” and won the “Performance” award. Is there anything prepared for Yoon as well.

When asked, “We can’t lose to Kim Min-seok, can we?” Yoon said with a big smile, “I don’t have any desire to win, but I think it would be good to have as much fun as I’ve played in the All-Star Game.” The performance that Yoon is preparing will be confirmed at the All-Star Game.

Do you have any greed for Mr. All-Star? “I don’t have such greed. I always play baseball with greed, so I want to play and enjoy it without thinking about anything for a day or so. I think it is an opportunity to enjoy baseball itself and communicate with fans. That’s why I don’t want to win money or get a car because I was selected as Mr. All-Star. Of course, I will get it if I do well, but I try not to get involved,” he said.

Yoon Dong-hee, who wore the national flag before playing in the All-Star Game, plans to see, feel, and learn many things this time as well. “At first, it was very difficult for the seniors. When I first joined the first team, (Former) Jun-woo and (Jeong) Hoon were all there, but it was difficult to approach the seniors because the atmosphere in the baseball stadium was unfamiliar. I gained a lot of know-how while playing in the first team in my second year. So, I want to go to the All-Star Game and ask great seniors about baseball and get to know them,” he said.

Of course, the All-Star Game selected by fans is important, but Yoon’s bigger goal is to finish the first half well. “First of all, the All-Star Game is not important. The second half will come only when we finish the remaining games well. I will do my best in the remaining games, and I will do my best to win no matter what,” Yoon said.

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