Doosan Bears manager Lee Seung-yeop is watching Kim Min-hyeok (27), the next big gun prospect, with interest. After graduating from Dongsung High School in Gwangju, Kim Min-hyeok was nominated by Doosan in 2015 with the 16th place in the 2nd 2nd round. After watching Kim Min-hyeok’s batting at the finishing camp held last fall, Lee commented, “Now is the time to open your eyes to baseball.”
Kim Min-hyeok received the most opportunities since his debut in the first team last year. In 38 games he appeared in, he had a batting average of .284 (25-for-88), four home runs, 16 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.828. He still hasn’t been able to secure a starting place in the first team, but his improved batting is enough to look forward to the new season.
Director Lee met with Spotify News at Jamsil Baseball Stadium and said, “Kim Min-hyeok is not known to many baseball fans yet, but I think he will become a very interesting player. He seems to have a sense of pulling and hitting,” he said, selecting him as one of the players to pay attention to in this spring camp.
Kim Min-hyeok broke the 40 million won annual salary barrier for the first time in 9 years after being nominated as a pro. In addition to director Lee’s anticipation, ‘money’ is also expected to be a great motivator. From 2017, when he was registered as an official player, to last year, Kim Min-hyeok has always signed for an amount close to the minimum annual salary. He received 27 million won in 2017, 30 million won in 2018, 34 million won in 2019 and 2021, and 32 million won in 2022. Then, he recorded an increase of 40.6% with an annual salary of 45 million won this year. In the new season, if he performs an ‘interesting’ performance that meets Lee’s expectations, it will be an instant to become a billionaire.
His hitting is also a blow, but the first step is to secure his place in the first team. Coach Lee foreshadowed a competition between Kim Min-hyeok and Yang Seok-hwan (32) as first baseman. Yang Seok-hwan is a proven geopogo who has exceeded 20 home runs in 2021 and last year for two consecutive years, and is facing his first free agency after this season, so he is unlikely to give up his seat easily.
Coach Lee predicted a tough fight, saying, “Right now, the position is tight. Yang Seok-hwan and Kim Min-hyuk are both good players.”
He is also considering how to appoint Kim Min-hyuk as the designated hitter to strengthen firepower as the fixed designated hitter has disappeared without re-signing with Jose Miguel Fernandez (35). However, he does not want to have a fixed designated hitter like Fernandez.
Director Lee said, “We have to wait and see if Kim Jae-hwan has elbow surgery and will become a full-time left fielder. Jose Rojas is also there, so the designated hitter will be rotated depending on the situation.”
Kim Min-hyeok said, “In the meantime, I didn’t have a clear position, so I tried to do as I was told. I played a lot as a first baseman in the 1st and 2nd teams. I’m trying to focus on the first baseman. Next season, I want to show a more stable defense. In batting, I think I need to improve my ability to cope with breaking balls a little more. Competition is what I have always done. I will do my best.” 안전놀이터