The 22-year-old pitcher, who was not satisfied even after winning 10 games last year, set out to upgrade to the next level. The transformation of Lee Min-ho (22, LG Twins) is proceeding successfully.
LG won 5-2 in the 2023 KBO League demonstration game against the Lotte Giants held at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on the 19th. LG overtook Hanwha, who lost to Kiwoom on the same day, and took the lead in the exhibition game alone (5 wins and 1 loss).안전놀이터
On this day, LG pitched Lee Min-ho as a starting pitcher. He previously participated in the Changwon NC game on the 13th and recorded 5 hits (1 home run), 2 strikeouts and 2 runs in 2 innings.
Lee Min-ho, who came to the mound after six days, was struggling a bit in the beginning. At the end of the first inning, he allowed a bunt hit to Hwang Seong-bin, the lead batter, and was hit by a left-handed double from the next batter, Ahn Kwon-soo. Here, he threw 4 balls in a row even after taking 2 strikes to Ko Seung-min first, and made the base safely.
Lee Min-ho won against No. 4 Jack Rex through various pitches such as change-up, slider, and curve. However, he ended up giving up a push walk after an eight-pitch game. Then, he even came up with An Chi-Hong’s sacrifice fly and gave up 2 points first. However, he struck out Jeong-Hoon in the 6th and cut the catcher’s throw to end the inning by catching the runner on third base.
Since then, Lee Min-ho’s pitching has completely changed. After blocking the second inning with a tripartite offense, he allowed an infield hit and a stolen base to Seongbin Hwang in a row in the third inning, putting him in a scoring position crisis. However, he overcame the crisis with a strikeout, an infield ground ball, and an outfield fly ball. In the 4th inning, all three batters, including two fly balls, were turned into beom-tabs and blocked the Lotte batting line.
Lee Min-ho, who recorded 3 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts and 2 runs in 4 innings, completed his mission by replacing Cho Won-tae in defense at the end of the 5th inning. Even after throwing 29 pitches in the first inning alone, he seemed to have succeeded in managing the number of pitches to the extent that he threw less than 60 pitches (59 pitches) by the fourth inning.
The command tower also gave a high evaluation. Yeom Gyeong-yeop (55), LG coach, said, “Lee Min-ho had a hard time because he couldn’t fight the count in the 1st inning, but he played his role well as a starter by increasing the proportion of strikes in the 2nd inning.”
After the game, Lee Min-ho said, “I focused on throwing many breaking balls in a row before the game.” At the same time, he said, “It’s unfortunate that the hitter didn’t hit a ball that went well, such as a curve, and it was a walk, but overall, it was okay because more breaking balls were caught than before.”
As he said, on this day, Lee Min-ho pursued diversity in his repertoire. Last year, he was a player whose fastball (44.3%) and slider (38.6%) ratio exceeded 80% (82.9%, based on stats). However, he also increased the proportion of fastballs (29.3%), sliders (22.4%), curves and changeups (24.1% each) that day.
Lee Min-ho explained, “When hitters think of me, they focus on fastballs, but since the curve came in as a strike, I didn’t even get a proper hit, so I went comfortably from the second inning.”
Lee Min-ho showed his satisfaction with his ball. “It went well,” he said in response, and said, “It seems that the control and movement of the curve and changeup have improved compared to before.”
Last year, Lee Min-ho appeared in 26 games and recorded 12 wins and 8 losses with an average ERA of 5.51. Although he became the first 10-win pitcher in his career, his pitching content was not satisfactory. “(Seungsu) doesn’t care much because it’s luck. You have to eat a lot of innings,” he said, “I think it’s better than last year.”