“I’m excited until I see the lineup. Whether he’s going to play or not…”

One of Hanwha’s best finds this year has been ninth-year infielder Lee Do-yoon, 27. Lee, who was given the opportunity to be the fourth outfielder after Ha Joo-seok was suspended for drunken driving, Park Jung-hyun performed below expectations and Oh Seon-jin was sidelined by a series of injuries, has held down the position for three months.

Even after Ha Joo-seok was released from suspension on March 11 and returned to the first team, and Oh Seon-jin returned from injury on March 28, Lee Do-yoon remains Hanwha’s starting shortstop. Coach Choi Won-ho hasn’t picked him based on name recognition, but rather on competition, and Lee has proven his worth as a starter.

In 59 games this season, Lee is batting 20-for-45 (161 RBI) with eight home runs, six doubles, and a .677 OPS. His accuracy is fourth among 13 shortstops with at least 100 plate appearances. In his last 10 games, he has completely turned it on, batting 3-for-9 (13-for-33).

He’s been a terror in the top of the order, with back-to-back three-hit games against Doosan on Dec. 12-13. Depending on the opponent’s lineup, he can also be deployed as the No. 2 table-setter, providing important RBIs regardless of the top or bottom of the batting order. He was recognized early on for his defense at shortstop, but as his batting contributions increased, he shed his image as a defensive shortstop.

As he attended more games, he created his own chants. Many fans have also recognized him. Even though he’s been a starter for three months now, Lee still gets nervous whenever he sees the lineup card on game day. “I don’t think I’m a starter yet. I get nervous before I see the lineup. I don’t know if I’m going to play or not…,” he says, “I just know that I have to do my best no matter where I am.”

Lee Do-yoon, a right-handed hitter from Cheonan Bukil High School, joined Hanwha with the 24th overall pick in the third round of the 2015 draft, but only made 16 appearances for the first team until 2020. He spent most of his time in the second team while on active military duty. In 2021, he became a member of the first team, but only as a backup. This year, he started the season in the second team as well.

The eight years he spent in the second team and as a backup didn’t discourage him. He waited for the right time, prepared himself, and seized his hard-earned opportunity. “I started in the second team this year, but it was actually okay. In the first team, I was in and out of the game, so it was hard to create my own routine. It was good that I kept playing in the second team and made it to the first team. I prepared well with the idea of challenging myself in the best condition.”

The more you play, the more you analyze, and the more your stamina deteriorates, but Lee is handling that process well. He’s used to working fastballs in fast counts, and now he’s facing some tough changeups, but he’s not fooled. “I don’t try to hit hard pitches, I try to hit sloppy pitches. Even if I lose my timing to a changeup, if it hits the swinging spot, it’s a good hit,” he says. “It’s not physically hard. I don’t get hot easily. After the game, I don’t have an appetite, but I manage my physical strength by eating something.”

Although he is a regular shortstop, he recently moved to second base to strengthen his defense late in games. “I don’t know where I’m going to play, so I’ve been practicing a lot on defense regardless of the position,” Lee said. “I still ask Sun-hyung (Oh) and Tin-hyung (Ha) for advice in practice. Coach Choi Yoon-seok also helps me a lot.”

Catcher Choi Jae-hoon, who plays a different position, has also been a source of strength in times of difficulty with his warm words. “Since the camp, he has been mentally supporting me, saying that I will always have a chance,” Lee said. Lee, who became a father when his son was born on March 3, said, “It must be hard for my wife to raise him alone. I feel sorry for her, so I’m going to work harder on the baseball field.” He also thanked his family. 메이저사이트

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