Can Lotte Giants two-hitting rookie Jeon Mir, 18, pitch and hit in the pros?
Lotte selected Gyeongbuk High School ace Jeon Mir with the third overall pick in the first round of the 2024 KBO Rookie Draft, held at the Grand Ballroom of the Westin Chosun Hotel in Seoul on April 14. Jeon excelled on both sides of the plate this year, going 5-1 with a 1.32 ERA in 18 games (67⅔ innings) as a pitcher and 27 games as a hitter, batting .346 with three home runs, 28 doubles, 32 RBIs, 22 runs scored, two stolen bases, and a 1.032 OPS.
Lotte general manager Sung Min-kyu explained why he selected Jeon with the No. 1 pick, saying, “As everyone knows, Jeon Mir has excellent athleticism that allows him to hit both ways, and we gave him high marks for his competitiveness on the field.”
Lotte is open to the possibility of Jeon continuing his two-hitting career in the pros. “If the club assigns me a position, I have no choice,” he said, “but I would like to try both pitching and hitting if given the chance. If I can, I would love to do a two-hitter,” he said.
Acting manager Lee Jong-woon said in an interview on the 15th, “Jeon Mir, who we picked as the No. 1, looks like a great player in the two-hitter. I watched a few games, and his changeup angle is good, so he looks like a player who can be put into the field right away.” He welcomed Jeon’s nomination.
There have been many players in the KBO who have shown talent in both hitting and pitching. Na Sung-beom (KIA), Kang Baek-ho (KT), Kim Dae-woo (Doosan), Jang Jae-young, Kim Gun-hee (Kiwoom), and many others have shown promise, but most have focused on one position in the pros. Kiwoom gave Jang Jae-young and Kim Gun-hee a chance to combine their skills this year, but the results weren’t great. In the end, Jang decided to focus on pitching and Kim on hitting.
“We don’t know what will happen with Jeon Mir right now,” said acting head coach Lee Jong-woon. “Once he joins the team, we’ll see where he fits in. Whether it’s a pitcher or a fielder depends on the team’s situation,” he said, avoiding specifics about Jeon’s future.
“Of course, if he is good at both batting and pitching, he will have a lot of uses,” said acting manager Lee Jong-woon, “but there will be a lot of pressure on the players. Even if he wants to do it, it’s qualitatively different to be a two-hitter as an amateur and a two-hitter as a professional. Later on, you’ll think it’s better to do only one,” he said, explaining the difficulties of playing two sports 온라인카지노.
After the success of Shohei Ohtani (Angels), there was a worldwide craze for two-hitters, but there hasn’t been a true two-hitter since Ohtani. Even Ohtani has recently suffered from elbow and side injuries that have kept him out of the game as both a pitcher and a hitter.
Acting manager Lee Jong-woon said, “It’s really special to have a pitcher and hitter like Ohtani. That’s why he’s such a great player. Not just anyone can do it. To be a good hitter and a good pitcher is literally like a hero in a manga, and it’s not easy.”
While it’s certainly a challenge to combine the two, there’s no telling how Jeon Mir will develop. “I’ve seen his game videos, but it’s hard to judge a player based on that. When he comes to our team and practices, our coaches and experts will know which option is better,” said Lee Jong-woon, looking forward to his growth.