Lee Young-ha (26, Dusan Bears) is back on the mound.
On March 31, Lee was acquitted in the first round of his school violence trial from last year. He was allowed to return to the first team after being placed on hold following the trial, and Doosan signed him to a contract worth 120 million won immediately after the verdict. Doosan also compensated him in full for the salary he missed during his suspension. Lee has been working out in the Futures (second team) league since day one to get a feel for the game.
Doosan’s bullpen was thin, and the team was looking for more. After being drafted in the first round, Lee went 17-4 with a 3.64 ERA in 2019, helping Doosan win its last unified title. However, he struggled over the next three years. In 50 starts over that span, he went just 10-20 with a 6.04 ERA. Each year, he started the season as a starter before being demoted to the bullpen.
In 48 games and 60 and one-third innings pitched in relief over the same period, Lee transformed himself into a 2-7 record with a 1.49 ERA, especially in the postseason, where he became the patron saint. In 2021, Lee was at the center of Doosan’s run from the Wild Card Game to the Korean Series, most notably in Game 3 of the semifinals against the LG Twins, where he pitched three and two-thirds scoreless innings out of the bullpen to win the series.
His role this year will also be in the bullpen. Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop said before the game against the Changwon NC Dinos on March 31, “I hope that he will be able to focus on baseball without thinking about other things and become an example for the team and young students.” “Although he was exonerated, it is not good for a professional player to have rumors. Regardless of his guilt or innocence, his future life will be more important.”
“I received a report that (my current condition) is good enough to pitch in the bullpen. Depending on the outcome of the appearance, I have a chance to play in the first team, so I will call him if I think his pitching is good,” said Lee Seung-yeop. “If I prepare to start, it will take about a month or two. There’s not enough time this season to be ready to start. If I do return, I think it will be in the relief (bullpen).”
As humans, we need examples, but professional athletes also need to be good. Doosan’s pitching staff consists of Park Chi-guk, Jung Chul-won, and Hong Gun-hee. Manager Lee Seung-yup experimented from spring training through May to protect the back end. He used young pitchers like Lee Byung-hun and Choi Ji-kang. Veteran Kim Kang-ryul returned, but was released after collapsing to a 20.25 ERA. There is still a lack of experienced relievers. As a result, Doosan’s bullpen has a 4.83 ERA (9th through May 31). The addition of Lee Young-ha could be a big boost if he can show the form he has shown in the past three years.
After his sentencing, Lee said, “I’ve built up my body well. I felt very sorry for the team because I couldn’t finish the season last year. I thought that in order to return to the team as soon as possible, I had to be faithful to the trial and reveal the facts well.” “Since I have built up my body well, I will work out hard from today so that I can go and help the team anytime they call me. I want to help the pitching staff, who must have had a hard time while I was away.”안전놀이터
One of the most exciting things to watch is the pitching. Until last year, Lee was throwing fastballs up to 150 km/h. He threw a fastball up to 149 km/h (148 km/h average) in his first appearance for the Futures on Day 1, striking out one and walking none. However, over the past three years, he has walked 5.24 batters per nine innings and has a 60.3 percent strikeout rate. He hasn’t been on the mound for nine months, so it’s likely that his mechanics are off. If he can throw strikes, he could be the “joker” that Lee has been looking for since June.