Just two weeks ago, it seemed unlikely that Kim Bum-seok, 19, LG’s first-round (seventh overall) pick in the 2023 rookie draft, would be called up to the first team right away. LG head coach Yeom Kyung-yeop said he had “received recommendations from the coaches,” but he was adamant that he didn’t deserve a roster spot.
It wasn’t that he didn’t recognize Kim’s skills and potential, or that he didn’t want him on the first team. The problem was the team’s lineup. Kim, who was drafted as a catcher, hadn’t played catcher yet this year. In the Futures League (second team), he played designated hitter. The first team was already full of seniors who had to take a day off to play designated hitter. I didn’t feel confident enough to move him over from the first team.
The right-handed batting spot was already occupied by players like Lee Jae-won and Song Chan-ui, who had been in Yeom’s plans since spring training. In other words, the roster was so saturated that there wasn’t much room for Kim Bum-seok. Plus, he’s still a rookie. We wanted him to go through the process and steps rather than rush him up.
But then things took a strange turn. Lee Jae-won injured his thigh while playing defense and was dropped from the first team, and Song Chan-ui was also dropped from the first team after showing signs of insecurity in defense. That “spot” on the roster opened up, and Kim Bum-seok, who had been touring with the first team, was selected on June 3.
Kim, who made a name for himself as one of the best offensive catchers in the amateur ranks during his time at Gyeongnam High School, has been highly anticipated by fans this year after blowing up the Futures League. In 34 games of the Futures League season, he hit .376 with six home runs, 24 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.072. Even though it was in the Futures League, it’s hard to look past these numbers considering he’s still a rookie.
He has a lot of potential at the plate. Kim Yong-soo, who was a scout for LG last year, said, “He’s a big guy, but he’s a really smart hitter. Even though he is a high school student, he knows how to fight pitches. If you look at his games last year, he hit more home runs with changeups than fastballs. At the high school level, you throw a lot of changeups in 1B or 2B, 1B-1S counts, and he’s really good at timing them. I remember being surprised that he was actually going for the changeup.” 토토사이트
Recalling that Kim Dong-heon (Kiwoom) was the best high school catcher last year in defense and Kim Bum-seok was the best in hitting, Kim continued, “I know that he hit over 40 home runs last year, including unofficial games. I think he has a talent for hitting.” “He was also a stealing catcher. He stole a lot of bases. It’s great for a catcher to have that kind of sense.”
In fact, before the season, LG was worried about the utilization of Kim Bum-seok. We called him to the final camp, but he had a lot of body problems, so he couldn’t train properly as a catcher. As a catcher, he should have basic defense skills, but he hasn’t reached that stage yet. This year’s Futures League also focused on hitting, and the fact that LG called up veteran catcher Heo Do-hwan when calling up Kim Bum-seok shows that it’s not easy to be a catcher yet.
However, if he improves his body, undergoes systematic catcher training from this year, and resolves his military issues at the right time, he will be able to take charge of LG’s backstop in the future. It will take some time, but he’s worth the wait. For now, LG has a starting catcher in Park Dong-won, who could buy Kim Bum-seok some time.
His strength is one of the best among catchers. Some say that Lee Jae-won, who is called “Jamsil Big Boy,” was similar to him when he was a rookie, not now. Catchers who can hit long balls are always attractive. It will be interesting to see if Kim Bum-seok can catch the eye of the coaching staff with his bat first. He also has the ability to paddle when the water comes in.