KIA Tigers rookie catcher Lee Sang-joon showed his ambition.
Lee Sang-joon won the “Lee Man-soo Catcher Award” at the 7th Lee Man-soo Catcher Award and Home Run Award ceremony held in the conference room on the second floor of Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on the 21st.
The Lee Man-soo Catcher Award and Home Run Award, which mark its seventh anniversary this year, will be awarded to one of the best high school catchers and one of the catchers who hit the most home runs that year.
Lee Sang-joon won the “Lee Man-soo Catcher Award.” Lee appeared in 19 games this season and recorded a batting average of 0.24317 hits, three homers, 14 RBIs and nine runs. He played 52 games in high school, posting a batting average of 0.293 with seven homers and 39 RBIs and an OPS of 0.832.
Manager Lee Man-soo also assessed that he is the most talented catcher of his time in terms of offense capability. It feels like watching Kang Min-ho (Samsung) as a rookie.”
“It’s an honor to receive such a big award. Now that I have received such a big award, I will act with responsibility,” Lee said. “Now that I have become a professional baseball player, I have a big idea to do well,” Lee said. “I have seen my seniors receive this award. That’s why I aimed to win the Lee Man-soo Catcher Award at the beginning of the third grade season.”
Lee Sang-joon said, “My strength is that I hold it well, block it well, and throw it well. I don’t think there are any disadvantages. If I have to choose, I have slow feet.”
Notably, Lee successfully became a professional golfer as he was designated as the No. 26 player in the third round in 2024. He also recently went to the finishing camp in Okinawa, Japan.
Lee Sang-joon, who started weight control before going to the camp, lost 8 kilograms as of now after his visit to Japan. His slimmer physique was clearly noticeable.
Lee Sang-joon said, “I gained weight when I was in my third year of high school, but the result was not good. I knew it, but I was stressed out because I didn’t get good results. So I decided to lose weight after the third year season, and I’m implementing it,” adding, “It’s fun to lose weight and I can focus more on playing baseball. That’s why I keep losing weight.”
In the future, I plan to lose about 2kg, that is, a total of 10kg.
Lee Sang-joon said, “I think I’ve grown up since the closing camp. Especially, I learned a lot from Lee Woo-sung. He gave me a bat and took care of me a lot. He was a great senior. I learned a lot from other members. I had a great experience.”
He also briefly trained with Takeshi Batteries, his new coach. “He was the coach who respected the player. He didn’t say, ‘Do it this way. Let’s do it together.’ So I really liked him. Coach Kim Sang-hoon also did a great job.” 스포츠토토
I spent a hectic camp training for catchers and batting training, but I am satisfied.
Lee Sang-joon said, “It was really fun to train with professional brothers and seniors in professional uniforms. All the seniors treated me well. They answered the questions with all their heart. (Han) Jun-su was good and (Shin) Bum-soo (SSG) was good, but it’s a bit sad to say goodbye.”
KIA’s catcher depth has definitely gotten thicker. There is fierce competition for backup catchers to support Kim Tae-gun, the main catcher. There are Han Jun-su, Han Seung-taek, Joo Hyo-sang, and even Kwon Hyuk-kyung, who will be discharged from the military in January.
Lee Sang-joon has to win the competition with them.
Lastly, Lee Sang-joon left a message to head coach Kim Jong-guk, saying, “I will do my best, so I hope you send me to the first-team game as soon as possible.”