Take the long view. This is the story of LG Twins catcher Kim Bum-seok, 19.
A graduate of Gyeongnam High School, Kim was selected by LG with the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2023 rookie draft. He was highly valued as a big-time catching prospect in high school. At the time of his selection, LG general manager Cha Myung-seok said, “I picked him because he’s Kim Bum-seok. How can you go beyond Kim Bum-seok? I think the proper name Kim Bum-seok can become a synonym for Korean baseball.” He expressed his expectations.
Kim started the season in the Futures (second division) league, where he turned heads with his explosive hitting. In 34 games, he batted .376 (109-for-41). His on-base percentage (0.439) and slugging percentage (0.633) combined for an OPS of 1.072. Kim, who had been working out with the first team, made his debut on the first team roster on April 3. He came up to bat as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning of a 3-7 home game against the NC Dinos with runners on second and third. The result was a grounder to shortstop. In his second at-bat in the ninth, he grounded out to third base. Although he finished his debut with a pair of hits, Yeom focused on his strengths rather than his weaknesses.
Speaking to reporters before the Jamsil NC game on April 4, Yeom praised Kim Bum-seok, saying, “I saw him better in the game than I saw him in practice. Even though the result was bad, I saw enough potential when I saw how he handled himself at the plate and how he swung, even though he didn’t get a hit.” He added, “He has a lot of potential for next year. “For Bum-seok, next year will be almost his first season. It’s my goal and the coaching staff’s goal to develop him from now until the end of camp.” “The goal is to fill in the basics and create a player who can make the first team next year. It’s a time to experience everything,” he reiterated.메이저놀이터
LG’s main outfielder is Park Dong-won. He’s hot enough to challenge for the title of “Jamsil Home Run King,” but the backups are weak offensively. Both Heo Do-hwan and Kim Ki-yeon have minimal presence at the plate. That’s why the development of Kim Bum-seok, who can hit, is even more important. Coach Yeom Kyung-yeop said, “If Bum-seok performs well, there will be more cards (for the first team). Bum-seok can be the designated hitter or Dong-won can be the designated hitter. “I want to raise Bum-seok to that level, and even if Dong-won doesn’t bat, it doesn’t matter if Bum-seok is there—I think he has that kind of talent (to do that),” he said.
“Then I think our batting lineup can be a little stronger next year, and I think he has the ability to do that,” he said, adding, “I’ve only seen him in two at-bats, but in my eyes, he showed that he can improve quickly in practice. He’s still not good enough, but I feel like he can reach a certain level if he’s asked.”