KIA Tigers infielder Kim Gyu-seong (26) is enjoying the reward of harassing Lee Byeong-gyu (49), the current head coach of the Samsung Lions, in Australia.
On the 22nd (Korean time) at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, USA, KIA coach Kim Jong-guk picked Kim Kyu-seong as the hitter and Choi Ji-min (20) as the pitcher as the players who showed the most noticeable improvement in this KIA spring camp. Both of them are players who experienced the Australian Baseball League (ABL) as part of Geelong Korea this winter. In particular, Kim Gyu-seong is an unexpected harvest for KIA.
Initially, he was not a player going to Australia. However, due to an injury to Kim Do-young (20), he boarded a plane to Australia instead, where he recorded a batting average of 0.281, 3 homers, 13 RBIs, 14 runs, 7 steals, and an OPS of 0.764 in 27 games. 4th best OPS among fielders on the team with 20+ games played.
Kim Gyu-seong, who joined the KIA in the 2016 2nd round of the 7th round of the 2016 draft, was evaluated as ‘the defense is good, but the batting is disappointing’ until last year, when he became a professional player in the 7th year. His first-team career batting average of 0.173 and OPS of only 0.487 supported this. On the one hand, he has a swing form that is not superfluous, so there are still eyes that look forward to it. However, it had shrunk due to poor grades for a long time, and head coach Lee Byung-gyu, who was in charge of Geelong Korea in the 2022-2023 season, recognized that. 메이저놀이터
Kim Kyu-seong said, “When I first played in Australia, I got 4 strikeouts. So, during the next practice, I went to the coach and asked about my appearance at bat, and he immediately said, ‘I don’t look confident.'” “The coach said, ‘You have to choose which ball to hit at bat and go in, but I can see your attitude’. After the advice, I tried to hit the ball aggressively when I wanted to come to the strike zone (set by me) in Australia. As a result, good results were obtained. I came out and gained a lot of confidence,” he added.
It was the advice of coach Lee Byeong-gyu, who was called the best bad ball hitter in the KBO during his active career. Coach Lee actively swung the bat at the ball he wanted to hit, recording a KBO career batting average of 0.311, 161 home runs, 972 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.818. Last year, he was also selected as one of the best left-handed hitter legends in the KBO League 40th Anniversary 40 Legends.
He did not forget the technical details. Kim Kyu-seong explained, “There was a part where I only used my upper body when I hit. I was very playful with my hands, so even when the ball hit well, the ball went well, but it fell off. But from this coach, I learned a lot about how to use the lower body and it got better.” He said, “He taught me when I was with other players, but there were many things I wanted to learn. So I approached the coach a lot, asked him separately, and learned again. After training, I stayed alone in the indoor practice range and wielded a bat.” told
Kim Gyu-seong, who gained confidence after persistently clinging to coach Lee, is still hot in the KIA spring camp. KIA players, including Lee Chang-jin, who are currently sharing a room, are all surprised, saying, “(Kim) Kyu-seong, why did your bat get so good? It got so good.” Currently, he is only an infield utility player, but since he is basically a stable defensive player, he can become a starting player if accompanied by batting performance.
Kim Gyu-seong said, “I am practicing batting intensively at camp, but I also try to take care of defense. I am trying to be relaxed in defense. Grab it and tell them to play next.” He continued, “It would be a lie if I said I wasn’t greedy for starting positions. I have expectations for this season. But for now, I want to show my fans my best efforts in each match without injury while being faithful to my role.”