“I’m a rookie, but even though I came up to the opening match with a full crowd, I threw it without fear. I thought I was a guy.”
These are the words of Kangnam Yoo, hostess of the Lotte Giants. Rookie left-hander Lee Tae-yeon (19) was the Lotte bullpen pitcher who stood out the most in the opening series against Doosan Bears on the 1st and 2nd at Jamsil Baseball Stadium. He pitched perfect pitches with 1 hold, 1 1/3 innings, 2 strikeouts and no runs in 2 games. His fastball speed is not very fast at 140km, but he has the guts to throw his ball boldly and win. It is evaluated that his ability to use his breaking ball, such as his slider and changeup, is also outstanding.
Anyone who watched Lee Tae-yeon’s pitching for two days praised him. Lotte coach Larry Sutton took the lead and started a relay of praise. It was after Lee Tae-yeon took the mound at the bottom of the 6th inning with an 8-3 lead against Doosan on the 1st and treated Doosan’s center batting line with 4th Kim Jae-hwan, 5th Yang Eui-ji and 6th Kang Seung-ho as a three-way offense. Kim Jae-hwan and Kang Seung-ho struck out on a swing, and Yang Eui-ji caught a floating ball in left field.
Manager Sutton said, “It was amazing. He was a player who should be a bridge in the middle, so he was appointed in the 6th inning. He was the center of the batting line, and it was amazing to strike out two against hitters representing Korea. It was to the point of excitement while praising it.
He continued, “I had faith in Lee Tae-yeon while watching the camp and demonstration games. I proved myself as if I was reciprocating my trust, and I think I showed my presence.”
Lee Tae-yeon took the mound in the bottom of the 7th inning with 2 out 1st and 2nd base against Doosan, 2-0 on the 2nd, and contributed to Na Kyun-an’s first win of the season. Na Kyun-an was in a situation where he suddenly faltered after making a scoreless pitch until the 6th inning, but Lee Tae-yeon easily finished the inning by treating Doosan’s right-handed pinch hit card Shin Seong-hyun as a third baseman foul fly. Thanks to this, Lotte kept a 2-0 victory, and Lee Tae-yeon recorded her first hold in her debut.
After the game, Na Kyun-an said, “I didn’t think Lee Tae-yeon would come up in that situation. I saw (old) Seung-min hyung in front of me, so of course I knew Seung-min hyung would come up. “Don’t throw anything you want, feel free to throw it.” Taeyeon can also be nervous in that situation, and even if she threw it yesterday (the 1st), that situation is different from the demonstration game. I wanted to tell her to throw it comfortably without any burden. As soon as their faces met when they came in, both of them laughed. He smiled and hugged them,” expressing his gratitude to the maknae who protected Seungri.
Since last year, Lotte has suffered from a lack of left-handed bullpen pitchers. Lefty Kim Yoo-young, who had at least left-hander Kim Yu-yeong, gave it to the LG Twins as a compensation player when he recruited catcher Yoo Gang-nam as a free agent, and gave up the contract with Kang Ri-ho, who was an internal free agent. I was looking for a card to add while planning to use left-handed prospect Kim Jin-wook, who was ranked first overall in the first round of 2021, as a middle pitcher, and Lee Tae-yeon was the right person to solve Lotte’s old concerns. Lee Tae-yeon was nominated in the 53rd place in the 6th round, so it is a low rank to describe as a top-notch prospect, but right now, he is performing better than any club’s first round rookie. 메이저놀이터
Yoo Kang-nam had the belief that Lee Tae-yeon’s current performance would not end in a flash. He said, “During the camp, I received Taeyeon’s first pitching. From then on, I felt that he was a pitcher with a very good deception movement. And I received the ball again during the first appearance of the demonstration game. I thought the odds were high, so I tried to save a lot of those pitches. He is a pitcher good enough to control the slider and forkball the way he wants. That’s why I was able to save more fastballs,” emphasizing Lee Tae-yeon’s talent.
Lee Tae-yeon, who clearly proved that she is a “naughty guy” in the opening series, can continue to repay manager Sutton’s trust by growing as a left-hander for the Lotte bullpen this year.