In the 2023 KIA Tigers outfield, there are must-haves like light and salt. It is Lee Chang-jin, an outfielder called ‘Bit Chang-jin’.
KIA suffered from extreme sluggishness at the beginning of this season. KIA, which recently fell to the bottom of the league with a long losing streak, succeeded in rebounding last weekend by sweeping the Samsung Lions and winning 3 home matches.
The protagonists of the sweeping weekend series were, by far, veteran pitcher Yang Hyeon-jong and outfielder Choi Hyung-woo. On April 21 against Samsung Lions in Gwangju, Hyung-Woo Choi hit second base safely at the end of the 9th inning with a score of 2 to 4. Opponent pitcher Seung-Hyun Lee’s 146km/h 3rd fastball hit the ball and drew a reverse three-run arch with a distance of 110m. It was a dramatic moment that saved a team that could have fallen into a losing streak again.
Hyeong-woo Choi was followed by Hyeon-jong Yang. Yang Hyeon-jong started in the game against Samsung in Gwangju on the 22nd and contributed to the team’s 6-2 victory with 3 hits, 7 strikeouts, 4 walks and 1 run in 5 innings. Although he was not in 100% pitching condition, Yang Hyeon-jong minimized his runs with his game management ability that made him feel dignified. Yang Hyeon-jong became the youngest individual to achieve 160 wins with his first win of the season on this day.
Like this, there were players who played an active role behind Choi Hyeong-woo and Yang Hyeon-jong. It was Lee Chang-jin. Lee Chang-jin performed like Altoran during the weekend series with 5 hits, 1 RBI and 2 runs scored. Lee Chang-jin, who hit a wedge with three RBIs and a timely triple in the match against Sajik Lotte Giants on April 19, played the role of lubricant in the KIA line-up last week.
Lee Chang-jin had an impressive season with a batting average of 0.301 / 104 hits / 7 home runs / 48 RBIs in the 2022 season. Continuing the good trend of last year, Lee Chang-jin is properly filling the gap in the outfield following the departure of outfielder Na Seong-beom at the beginning of the season. As of April 24, Lee Chang-jin’s performance this season is 15 appearances / batting average of 0.291 / 16 hits / 6 RBIs / 8 walks / on-base percentage of 0.381.
Lee Chang-jin, who recently met with MK Sports, said, “I thought I had grown a notch while spending the season last year. So, while maintaining his batting stance from last year, he prepared hard all season. He focuses on making contact with the center of the ball accurately. That’s why he seems to get a lot of hits that get out of the infield while being hit with regular hits. It’s still early in the season, but he wants to keep a good hitting feel.”
Rather than being greedy, Lee Chang-jin wants to focus on his strengths, production of line drive batted balls and execution of operations. Lee Chang-jin said, “I focus on producing line drive batted balls rather than big batted balls. It is most satisfying when a ball like that comes out in the direction of center field. At the beginning of the season, the team’s batting line is not going well, so we need to add strength to the team’s scoring while performing the operation without any problems. He also emphasized that I want to do my part well on defense and running.”메이저놀이터
Lee Chang-jin earned the nickname ‘Bit Chang-jin’ from KIA fans. This is because Lee Chang-jin’s performance shines no matter what role he plays in defense and at bat.
Lee Chang-jin said, “Every time I hear ‘Bit Chang-jin’ from KIA fans, I feel really good. He, of course, has to do well so that he doesn’t come like a light and disappear like a light (laughs). He wants to be the one that always shines on the Tigers like sunlight. I am grateful to the KIA fans who gave passionate support even though the team’s performance was poor at the beginning of the season. Repaying that is what I have to do as a Tigers player,” he nodded.
Lastly, Lee Chang-jin said, “Personally, I think we should achieve better batting results than last year. He believes the time will come when the team hitting cycle will rise again. The more difficult the team is, the more you need to pay attention to the team’s victory. I will focus more on faithfully fulfilling the duties required by the team in any batting order and in any role.”