Kia trade pays off four years later…All-Star says he’s confident of second-half rebound

The first-time All-Star is carrying his momentum into the second half.

KIA’s 11th-year outfielder Lee Woo-sung, 29, is finally seeing success. In 70 games this season, Lee is batting .297 with five home runs and 28 RBIs in an Altoran-like performance. He wasn’t named an All-Star for nothing.

Lee’s true colors were on display against Lotte in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Gwangju-Gia Champions Field on Aug. 28. In the bottom of the first inning, he hit a 148-kilometer fastball from Park Se-woong for a single to right field to give his team a 3-0 lead, and in the bottom of the fifth inning, with the score tied at 3-3, he drew a nine-pitch battle with Park and hit a 129-kilometer curveball to center field to give his team a 6-3 lead. A 4-for-4 performance with two doubles and three RBIs. It was a factor in KIA’s 6-5 victory.

After the game, Lee Woo-sung said, “I went in thinking only about scoring as many runs as possible in scoring position to increase my chances of winning the game.” He attributed his success to his focus at the plate.

In fact, Lee was in a slump at the beginning of July, and his Kia family gave him a big boost when his head was down. 스포츠토토

“In baseball, you can’t be good all the time. When I was having a bad day, my confidence dropped a lot, but the manager and coaches kept telling me, ‘It’s okay, play with confidence.’ So I thought about it again. I think confidence is important, and I’m going to play with confidence. I’m really grateful for that,” he said, adding, “I’m also grateful to my teammates. (Choi) Hyung-woo told me, ‘It’s okay. Do it with confidence,'” he said.

After making his debut with Doosan in 2013, Lee Woo-sung donned the NC jersey in July 2018 via trade and found a new home with Kia the following year in July 2019 via another trade. It’s been four years since he came to KIA. Only this year is Lee blossoming in his baseball career, but he says, “There are so many good players on the team. I never think that I am completely out of place. I’ve never made a play thinking that I have my place,” he said.

Despite being coy about his position, there’s one thing he’s clear about: KIA’s ranking is about to rise. He’s confident that KIA will move up in the standings soon. KIA is still in seventh place, but only 1.5 games separates them from fifth-place KT. “We are not a team that deserves to be where we are, and we will prepare well so that we can finish higher at the end of the season,” Lee said.