“He’s generous with his know-how.”
When the Lotte Giants signed free agent catcher Yoo Kang-nam to a four-year, 8 billion won deal ahead of this season, it was to address the lack of a clear-cut starting catcher. Stabilizing the pitching staff with his unique framing ability is the primary purpose of signing a catcher.
However, the 8 billion won offered to Yoo Kang-nam also included a role as a “senior catcher” who could learn from Kang Min-ho (Samsung), who has been gone for five years. It was natural to expect the capabilities of Joo Jeon Ahn Bang-man. In addition, Yoo Kang-nam’s role in the development of future catchers was not insignificant. Lotte had no senior catchers to look up to and learn from, which slowed down the development of the younger catchers. Playing with the mindset of ‘heading to the ground’ and gaining experience was not proportional to growth. The presence of a senior catcher who could provide answers, even if they weren’t the right ones, and who could explain them, was perhaps the most important part of Lotte’s long-term direction.
The signing of Yoo Kang-nam was made with time in mind, not only to serve as the starting catcher, but also to design a future closer. Even if his immediate batting performance doesn’t meet expectations, it’s clear to see why Lotte signed him.
Lotte finished the first half of the season with the Yoo-Kang-nam-backup Son-Seong-bin system. The 2021 first-round pick is a big-time catching prospect who joined the first team this year after graduating from the Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Commerce), and he’s already turning heads in baseball circles. His throwing ability is among the best in the major leagues, and he boasts a 100% stolen base rate (4 stolen bases in 4 attempts).
That’s a lot of attention for a player with one obvious strength. However, both Son and his coaching staff have identified areas of weakness and are working to improve them. Battery coach Choi Kyung-cheol, who was appointed before the season, watched Son’s games this year in his ‘late years’. He said, “He’s already got a good ability, and his stolen base rate has improved as he’s played more games in the mercantile sector. As a result, I think I’m more confident and can play better without being nervous when I play,” he explained.
Despite recognizing and confirming the talent, Choi still sees areas of improvement. “First of all, I need to work on catching the ball. Her basic framing technique is a bit lacking. If he can improve on that, he will be much better.”
Son Sung-bin humbled himself even more: “I lack everything. “I’m trying to put everything down and do what Coach Choi Kyung-cheol has made and taught me. He teaches me from the beginning, step by step, to have good form and results. He gives me carrots and sticks.”
Still, Coach Choi appreciates Son’s attitude. “It’s great to see him out there once a week, smiling and having fun,” he beamed.
Choi believes that this cheeky personality also adds to his synergy and chemistry with Yoo Kang-nam. “He’s a good catcher. Blocking framing pitching leads are all good catchers. I hope (Son) Sung-bin can draw an image of ‘I should do that too,'” he said. “Sung-bin’s growth can also be faster because he has a good catcher. Gangnam Yi is also guiding him well, and I’m very grateful for his support.”먹튀검증
Son Sung-bin is also trying to follow the example of Daesebae, who is generously passing on his know-how. He said, “I’ve been watching baseball without thinking about it. But after I was discharged from the army, I listened to Coach Choi Kyung-cheol and Gangnam’s advice and started watching baseball while thinking about it. “He claps a lot when I go out to play and praises me for doing a good job, and he buys me meals and makes it easier for me to understand a lot of his advice,” he said. He is generously passing on his know-how to me,” he said, expressing his gratitude to his senior.
It can be said that mentoring is expensive. But you have to think about all the time Lotte has wasted with their catcher problem. It’s worth it for the stability of the current catching staff, and for helping to plan the next 10 years of Anbang.