The Lotte Giants selected Son Sung-bin, a former student at Chang’an University, with the first overall pick in the 2021 First-Year Player Draft. Son had been a highly touted catching prospect, winning the Imansoo Catcher Award for the best catching prospect in 2020, and was selected by Lotte to begin his professional career. He played 20 games with the first team in 2021, making a brief but strong impression with a .316 batting average before joining the Giants.

At the time, Lotte didn’t have a clear-cut starting catcher, but several players were competing for the job. That didn’t give Son much of a chance, so he 메이저사이트 quickly made a move to resolve his military issues. He was originally set to enlist in active duty, but was lucky enough to be accepted by the Sangmu, where he spent the next two years honing his skills in the Futures League.

In 2022, he played 69 games for the Sangmu, hitting .285 OPS with 39 hits, one home run, 31 RBIs, 30 runs scored, and a .831 slugging percentage, and this year, when he was on the verge of being called up, he was recently released after a strong start to the season, hitting .330 OPS with one home run, 24 RBIs, 15 runs scored, and a .882 slugging percentage in 29 games. He was immediately called up to the first team and is slowly gaining experience.

While he made significant strides offensively in the second team, Son is currently getting a lot of attention for his defense in the first team. In particular, his short pop time and strong shoulders allow him to throw out runners trying to steal second base at a 100% rate. In his first start since returning to Lotte, he threw out Guillermo Heredia (SSG) with runners on first and third in the bottom of the third inning against SSG Landers on March 16.

His throw was so fast and accurate that shortstop Lee Hak-joo didn’t even have to tag him. Watching the game from the dugout, pitching coach Bae Young-soo (now head coach of the second team) exclaimed, “Wow!” and smiled broadly. Even in the eyes of a legendary coach who won 138 games in the KBO, Son’s delivery was enough to inspire admiration.

Son Sung-bin’s ‘laser fastball’ appeared again soon after. It was on the 25th of last month against the LG Twins. At the time, Son caught Moon Sung-joo (LG), who had 15 stolen bases this season. The fastball looked like it would be safe, but it was no match for Son’s short pop and strong arm. LG’s throw was 138.8 kilometers, with a pop time of just 1.82 seconds.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Moon Sung-joo said, “I thought I just survived. I thought I had a fast start, but it was too relaxed,” he said, adding, “I thought Strillie’s pitching tempo was consistent. I thought he didn’t care about me, so I ran, but Son Sung-bin’s delivery was very good,” and gave him a thumbs-up.

Son’s ability to steal bases also stood out against the Doosan Bears at Munsu Baseball Stadium in Ulsan on February 2. In the top of the third inning, with the score tied at 0-0, Lee Yoo-chan, a runner on first base, attempted to steal second base. At that point, Son launched another “laser” throw.

Prior to Game 2, manager Larry Sutton said, “He didn’t have a hit, but he did hit three line drives, all of which were caught in front of the plate. But it’s a good sign that he’s getting strong at-bats. It means he’s got a good approach, and he’s swinging aggressively at his zone.” Despite the no-hitter, the manager was full of praise for the rookie, who recorded his first hit in eight games.

“He’s a good catcher. I think he will grow into a hitter who can score a lot of runs on the batting side as well. However, he needs to learn more about team batting. He needs to learn how to hit to the right side of the plate, how to get an extra base in a situation. With his future and current talent, he has the ability to hit 3-5 in center field. I think we can all agree that he’s a player that’s going to be big.”

Before signing Yoo Kang-nam in the free agent market, Lotte had been struggling with the outfield for years. While he still has a lot to learn, refine, and grow, it’s clear that Lotte has a very good catcher on its hands, as evidenced by his three stolen bases in three starts this year.

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