“It’s the swing of a player who has been growing up in America since he was a kid.”
The Lotte Giants faltered in June, going 5-11, and their scary May run came to a screeching halt. They are now 5.5 games behind the first-place LG Twins and two games behind the fifth-place Doosan Bears. They snapped a four-game losing streak with a 7-2 victory over the SSG Landers on the 18th, but things are still not looking good.
However, the struggling June has not been without its benefits. Second-year outfielder Yoon Dong-hee has been showing signs of growth, giving the batting line-up a boost.
Yoon hit a grand slam in her professional debut against Daegu Samsung Electronics on the 11th, followed by a two-game homerun streak against Sasik Hanwha on the 13th. He hit a grand slam in front of Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, who travelled to Busan, to lead his team to victory. Against SSG on the 18th, he showed off his batting prowess, going 3-for-5 with a home run, one RBI, and one run scored.
On the season, he is batting .298 (36-for-121) in 38 games. His low on-base percentage (0.318) needs work, but given that he’s only 20 years old, it’s more about the cool swing that he’s able to turn on a dime.
Lotte head coach Larry Sutton is also impressed with Yoon’s progress. He describes Yoon’s swing as “American-style,” calling her “a hitter who has always shown a mature approach.
Sutton is no stranger to Korean baseball culture, having played 252 games in the major leagues as an active player, as well as for the Hyundai Unicorns in 2005-2006 and the KIA Tigers in 2007. In the 2005 season, he became the first foreign left-hander to hit 35 home runs.
Sutton seemed to be intrigued by Yoon’s swing and development. He believes that while she is doing a good job now, she has a lot of room to grow.
His home run against Moon Dong-joo on the 13th against Hanwha is a case in point. Yoon took a 149km fastball from Moon and smashed it over the fence. Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho admitted the next day, “It was a difficult pitch, and all I can say is that she hit it well.”
“If you look at her swing trajectory, 안전놀이터 it’s a little bit like an American player,” Sutton said. “It’s not a matter of what’s right or wrong. “It’s not a matter of what’s right or wrong, but the trajectory of Yoon’s swing is not what you’d expect from a Korean hitter. It resembles the swing trajectory of a player who has been playing and growing up in the United States since childhood.”
“Korean hitters usually focus on hitting the ball in the centre of the bat, but Yoon’s swing is more inside the body, so he can hit balls deep in the body. It’s not easy for players with normal mechanics to do this.”