Good batting, good defense…”Go Seung-min, opportunities are to be taken by oneself”

It’s a race against the clock. You have to build on your strengths and erase your weaknesses to win.

Lotte Giants manager Kim Tae-hyung has been struggling with this player lately. His batting strengths are clear, but his defense position is not. “I’m trying to figure out how to utilize Go Seung-min,” Kim said on Monday at Kushikawa Stadium in Okinawa, Japan, Lotte’s spring training camp. Obviously, the player has to seize the opportunity,” he said emphatically.

The North Ilgol High School product was Lotte’s eighth pick in the second round in 2019. He made his first-team debut that year, batting .253 (21-for-83) with six RBIs in 30 games. He played 185 innings at second base.

In 2020, he made a big decision. After not getting a call-up to the first team anytime soon, he decided to finish his military service. He entered active duty in July. In January 2022, he was discharged and returned to the team. He expanded his role in the first team. Showed promise at the plate, batting .316 (74-for-234) with five home runs and 30 RBIs in 92 games. Moved his defense to the outfield. He played 521⅔ innings in right field.

Last season, he struggled. In 94 games, he batted just .224 (57-for-255) with two home runs and 24 RBIs. Defensively, he played 449 ⅔ innings at first base, 141 ⅔ in right field, and 14 more in left.

He’ll need to find his place again this year. Kim Tae-hyung plans to start Na Seung-yeop at first base. The outfield is no slouch either. In addition to outfielders Victor Reyes and Yoon Dong-hee, Kim Min-seok, Hwang Sung-bin, and Jeon Jun-woo are also in contention.

“Right now, Go Seung-min is a bit ambiguous. If he had a set position, he would be mentally stable, but that’s not the case,” Kim said. “He was a bit sluggish last season, but he has experience hitting well. He has good power and we need to capitalize on that. To do that, you have to keep him in one position and keep him there, which is not easy.”

“He’s also done well at first base. He can play first base, second base, and even the outfield. We have a plan for each position, but when the season starts, there will be 안전놀이터 players who don’t perform well in the early stages or whose physical condition drops rapidly. That’s when we’ll be able to put Seung-min Koh in,” he said, “and we’ll think more about how to use him until the exhibition games.”

“Actually, you have to take your chances. “If your defense is relatively weak, you can go up to bat and make a big splash. If you show it with your bat, the manager will use you,” he said. “But if you’re sloppy, you’ll be pushed down in priority. You can’t ignore last year’s (disappointing) record. In the end, the player with the most defensive stability will be chosen.”

The door to the first team is still open. “We will use Go Seung-min in various ways until the exhibition game and then make a decision,” Kim said. If he shows off his skills in camp, he could catch the manager’s eye.

Meanwhile, Kim talked about Na Seung-yeop, who was selected as the first baseman, saying, “He’s an infielder, so he’s good at defense. In terms of hitting, he seems to have a good ability to cope during the game.” Go Seung-min is looking to spark the competition.


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