Kiwoom Heroes’ eldest brother Lee Yong-gyu (38) changes his uniform number. He dreams of a rebound by returning to the ‘number 15’ worn in his heyday.
Lee Yong-kyu will change his jersey number ahead of his third season at Kiwoom. He prepares for the 2023 season by returning to the number 15 that symbolized him before, such as the KIA Tigers and the national team, who had their heyday.
In the meantime, Kiwoom’s No. 15 belonged to Oh Joo-won (37), who retired. He is a franchise star who has been with the history of heroes such as Woori and Nexen since the days of Hyundai Unicorns. Since it was the uniform number of a player that was so meaningful, Lee Yong-kyu also chose number 19 instead of number 15 after transferring to Kiwoom.
After Oh Joo-won retired at the end of the 2021 season 바카라, number 15 was handed over to his junior, pitcher Yang Ki-hyeon (25). After the 2022 season ended, number 15 came to Lee Yong-gyu’s arms. Lee Yong-gyu announced his uniform number change at a fan meeting held on the 18th of last month. He is receiving a lot of attention whether he will succeed in rebounding with a new uniform number.
Lee Yong-gyu recorded a batting average of 10% for the first time since his debut season in the 2022 season. He played in 86 games and had a batting average of 0.199 (54 hits in 271 at-bats) and an OPS of 0.604 with 21 RBIs, reaching a career batting average of 0.296 (2040 hits in 6882 at-bats), which was not typical of Lee Yong-gyu. Lee Yong-gyu gradually moved away from the starting position after the opening, giving up his seat to Kim Jun-wan (32) and Lim Ji-yeol (28).
Talented juniors are also growing and threatening their positions. There are Park Joo-hong (22) and Park Chan-hyeok (20) who were dispatched to Geelong Korea in the Australian Professional Baseball League (ABL). Talented outfielders such as Lim Byeong-wook (28), who will return to the team after being discharged from the military, and Song Jae-seon (23), a rookie in the 2023 season, are also sweating to occupy a spot.
For Lee Yong-gyu, the 2023 season is important. It is necessary to prove that his performance has not declined by making a rebound in grades. It is also the last year with Lee Jung-hoo (25), who is expected to advance overseas after obtaining qualification for posting (private competitive bidding) at the end of this season.
The club is also showing its will to win more than ever before Lee Jung-hoo left. Last year, there was no clear main left fielder, and if Yong-gyu Lee takes a spot in the Kiwoom outfield, where even right fielder Yasiel Puig (33) left, the team can go through the season smoothly.
Will Lee Yong-kyu be able to maintain good energy with his uniform number in his heyday? I am curious about the performance of Lee Yong-gyu in 2023, which is important in many ways.