No sophomore slump for teen sensation in S. Korean baseball

By Yonhap

Published : Apr 13, 2018 - 09:44
Updated : Apr 13, 2018 - 09:44

South Korean baseball's teen sensation Lee Jung-hoo has proven immune to the dreaded sophomore slump so far in 2018, as he's putting together yet another productive season following a historic rookie campaign.

Through Thursday's action in the Korea Baseball Organization, the Nexen Heroes outfielder and the reigning Rookie of the Year was leading the league with 24 hits in 16 games. He also ranked ninth with a .369 batting average, sixth with six doubles and tied for 14th with four other players at 12 runs scored.

Still just 19, Lee won the top rookie award last year in a landslide, after setting the KBO freshman marks with 179 hits and 111 runs scored.


Nexen Heroes outfielder Lee Jung-hoo (Yonhap)


Lee missed some time in spring training after breaking his right ring finger while lifting weights in December. He batted just .095 (2-for-21) in seven preseason games, but he hit the ground running in the regular season.

Lee opened the season by batting 5-for-10 in his first three games and hasn't looked back. He has been held hitless in four games, but in three of those, Lee still scored runs or got on base multiple times by drawing walks.

Lee boasts a robust .447 on-base percentage. After reaching base at a .395 clip last year, Lee said during preseason that his goal was to have an OBP of over .400.

Another stat that catches the eye is Lee's swinging strike percentage. He is swinging and missing on just 3.1 percent of pitches, the lowest in the KBO. Last year, Lee ranked third in the category at 4.4 percent.

Simply put, no one has been better at making contact with the ball, and Lee has been a dangerous man at the top of the Heroes' order for his second straight season. (Yonhap)

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The Korea Herald by Herald Corporation