Often referred to as the “second Lee Jung-hoo,” Kim Min-seok is the Lotte Giants’ biggest “harvest” to date. A talented hitter since his high school days, Kim didn’t get much playing time at the beginning of this season, but as the Giants suffered from injuries, he gradually increased his playing time and eventually took over the starting role.
Kim was named one of the top 12 “candidates” for the All-Star Game by the KBO on April 1. Among players who have worn a professional uniform this year, he is ‘tied’ with Park Myung-geun, who is currently in charge of the LG Twins’ ‘back door’. All-Star voting, which began on May 5, will run until 5 p.m. on May 25.
Only three rookies have been named to the All-Star Best 12 in their debut season: Ahn Chi-hong in 2009 (then KIA, now Lotte), Lee Jung-hoo in 2016 (Kiwoom), and Jeong Woo-young in 2019 (LG). If Kim Min-seok and Park Myung-geun are selected as the All-Star Best 12, they will join them in making KBO history.
Speaking to reporters before the game against LG at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on April 1, Kim seemed in disbelief at being named to the All-Star Best 12. “I didn’t expect to be nominated, but I was surprised,” he said, “but it doesn’t feel real because I haven’t been selected yet.
Although he doesn’t remember it well, Kim intuitively experienced the All-Star Game at Jamsil Stadium when he was in elementary school and dreaming of becoming a baseball player. “No,” he said, smiling, “I always think of it as a process of learning for the future rather than producing results, and I think I’ve been able to maintain my current performance because I’m comfortable with it.”
In 43 games this year, Kim is batting .259 with 35 hits, one home run, 17 RBIs, 23 runs scored, eight doubles, and eight triples. “Physically, I’m better than I was at first. However, I’m focusing on recovery by eating and sleeping more rather than looking for technical issues with my bat,” he said. “The best part is that I didn’t make any major mistakes 메이저놀이터 defensively,” he reflected on April and May.
With Lotte currently in the top spot, the popularity of “high school rookie” Kim Min-seok is skyrocketing. On his birthday, which was celebrated on March 9, he was so loved by fans that it took him nearly an hour to enter Sajik Stadium due to the onslaught of gifts. Because of this, Kim Min-seok has been dubbed the “resignation idol.
As of 10:40 p.m. on May 5, Kim had the most votes of any Dream All-Star outfielder. With 36,442 votes, he is far ahead of Koo Ja-rook (Samsung, 30,984) and Jack Rex (Lotte, 28,731). Of course, Kim Min-seok’s popularity is partly responsible for his nomination, but he also earned his nomination on merit.
Whether it’s a fan vote or a manager’s recommendation, Kim believes that in order to be selected as an All-Star, you have to show it on the field. “If I am selected, I think I can learn a lot from my brothers and seniors who are doing well, but since I haven’t been selected yet, I will have to work a little harder,” he said. “I think I will receive votes as much as I do on the field, so I will try to stay healthy and keep up my performance until then.”
Currently leading the Nanum All-Star outfield, it remains to be seen if Kim will be able to make the ‘Best 12’ in his fourth debut season in the KBO.