Second-tier infielder → First-tier outfielder → Taegeuk mark candidate…Lotte’s Yoon Dong-hee said, “It’s a good thing I changed the position.”
From second-tier infielder to first-tier outfielder, to Taegeuk mark candidate. Lotte Giants’ Yoon Dong-hee (20) is showing rapid growth in a year.
In recent years, Lotte has lacked outfield resources. There were Jeon Joon-woo and Son Ah-seop, but there was no timber to succeed. Concerns grew as Son Ah-seop, who became a free agent (FA), left for NC. But not anymore. This is because rookie Kim Min-seok (19) and second-year Yoon Dong-hee have grown up.
Yoon Dong-hee, who was a shortstop until high school, played mainly as an infielder last year, his first professional season. However, he tried to turn into an outfielder at the suggestion of the club. It was a measure to revive his strong shoulders and excellent batting talent. It’s only four games, but I’ve also gained first-team experience.
Yoon Dong-hee, who was recognized for his potential in this year’s spring camp and exhibition games, came to the first division less than a month after the opening. And finally blew up his potential. As of the 23rd, his batting average was 0.297 (84 hits in 283 at-bats), two home runs and 31 RBIs. It quickly grew to the main level.
Yoon Dong-hee said, “It’s fun. It is fun to come to the baseball stadium because it is making more achievements than last year. In fact, the first division looked high last year. I thought the opportunity would come around the expansion entry in September this year. “I can’t believe he’s still playing in the first division,” he said.
It is not uncommon to move from infielder to outfielder. There are also success stories such as Lee Soon-chul, Kim Kang-min, and Park Gun-woo, but not everyone is like that. Yoon Dong-hee said, “I couldn’t concentrate 100% on the outfield because I played as an infielder for a long time. When I saw a colleague practicing infield, I thought, “I can do it, too.” “It was only a year ago, but I think I was young at that time,” he said.
I gave up my pride. Instead, he is determined to do well. Yoon Dong-hee said, “As I went to the spring camp, I thought, ‘I will have more opportunities to go to the first division.’ Shouldn’t professionals be in the first team. I decided to concentrate,” he recalled.
Fortunately, Lotte had many assistants. Senior coach Lee Jong-woon transferred batting balance and batting coach Park Heung-sik transferred body ball response. While in the second division, coach Ryan Long helped create a batting form together. On top of that, coach Jeon Joon-ho, the master of outfield defense, boosted Yoon Dong-hee’s defense skills. Yoon Dong-hee recalled, “I really received a lot of punches last summer with coach Jeon.” Commentator Lee Soon-chul also praised him, saying, “He doesn’t seem like a player who just turned out to be an outfielder.”
It is not a power heater type. However, his batting skills are excellent. Especially, he is good at hitting the ball toward the body. A case in point is the home run he hit against the Hanwha Eagles in Sajik on June 13. Yoon Dong-hee hit a fast ball thrown by Moon Dong-joo to hit a three-point turnaround. He pulled it as hard as he could, making a space for swinging the bat while pushing his body back. Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, who visited the stadium, also applauded.
It is a swing that KT Wiz’s Park Byung-ho often showed. It is a high-end technique that uses the strength of the waist to hit with the right arm close to the body. Since the arm is bent, only the left arm turns after the swing. It is also called a “tyrannosaurus swing” among fans because it looks like a Tyrannosaurus with shorter front legs than its back legs.
Yoon Dong-hee said, “In fact, I’ve been doing this swing since I was young. When I was young, I was scolded by leaders, saying, “It’s better to hit it in a regular posture.” I don’t remember exactly, but I think I copied Park Byung-ho while watching him. “I also wanted to play like this, so I did it without realizing it,” he explained.
He is also good at hitting according to the situation. He is a right-handed hitter, but when there is a runner, he often sends a ball to the right to reduce double play and make a hit. He’s also good at making sacrifice flies. Yoon Dong-hee said, “In the scoring range, I approach with the idea that looking outward and hitting right-center is more likely than my swing.”
You can easily see Yoon Dong-hee’s uniform at Lotte’s home turf Busan Sajik Stadium. He is in his second year as a professional and only four months after his debut in the first division, and is eighth in the team in uniform sales. Yoon Dong-hee said, “I can see a lot of uniforms in my eyes. “I feel like I’m being cheered on, so I think I should focus more and work hard,” he said with a smile.
Two years after his debut, he also had a personal cheering song. Yoon Dong-hee, who hums the rhythm of “Yoon Dong-hee of Lotte, Saerira (dialect meaning ‘hit’), Saerira” without realizing it, said, “The cheering song is so good, and our fans are the best fandom in Korea. “There are many passionate people, so it’s the most fun when I play baseball in Sajik,” he said.
The Hangzhou Asian Games national team, led by head coach Ryu Joong-il, faced a major negative factor last month. Lee Jung-hoo (25, Kiwoom Heroes), the center of the national team and the leading player, fell out due to injury. Since there were only three outfielders (Kim Jihoon Choi, Choi Won-joon, and Lee Jung-hoo) in the entry announced in June, it became inevitable to select a substitute.
Naturally, young outfielders were nominated. Samsung Lions Kim Hyun-joon, Lotte Kim Min-seok, and Yoon Dong-hee are representative. Yoon Dong-hee said, “The future is really unknown. I’m really grateful that the national team story comes out. He said, “I changed my position at the recommendation of the club, and I think I’m glad I changed.”
He has also become competitive with Kim Min-seok, who is close enough to borrow a bat and hang out often after the game. Yoon Dong-hee does not say, “You go (to the national team), I want to go.” “It’s cheesy for some reason,” he said with a smile, “I’d like Minseok to go, but it’s time to focus on the team.”
I asked Yoon Dong-hee to choose between Lotte’s autumn baseball and the Asian Games representative. “I really want to go to the postseason. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the national team. I want to catch both.” It was a wise answer