Lotte “picked a rookie with more potential than immediate power”
“We chose players with high potential for future growth, such as potential rather than immediate power to play on the first team stage,” Lotte scouting team leader Kwon Young-jun said in an interview with an international newspaper on Tuesday. According to Kwon, there is a lack of evaluation metrics for high school players in the rookie draft. Unlike professional athletes who play every day, high school players have limited opportunities to observe them in action.
“We don’t look at their immediate record, such as their high school performance, but rather how much they can grow in the team and whether they have the courage to not be intimidated when facing strong opponents,” Kwon explained.
Lotte selected Jeon with the third overall pick in the first round of the draft. The team selected Jeon because he best met their selection criteria. Jeon is considered a talented pitcher and hitter. As a pitcher this season, he went 5-1 with a 1.32 ERA in 14 games. As a hitter, he batted .346 with three home runs and a 1.032 OPS in 27 games.
Lotte was most interested in Jeon’s athleticism and competitive spirit. Initially, Lotte was torn between the “two-hitting” Jeon and right-handed fireballer Yuk Sun-yeop (Jang Chung-go – 4th overall). As a pitcher, Yook was more of a “complete player. Kwon says, “Jeon has good physical condition and athleticism, which helps him connect with the technical aspects of baseball. His ability to throw changeups and strikes is not perfect, but he has a lot of potential,” said Kwon. “He was an ace at Gyeongbuk High School, but he told me that he was disappointed that he was not recognized by the national team at the recent World Youth Baseball Classic, so I could feel his strong competitive spirit.” 메이저사이트
Lotte will closely check Jeon’s pitching and hitting abilities in the middle of next month. Based on the results, the team will make a final decision on whether to give him a dual role as a pitcher and a hitter. Lotte will have a different way to get Jeon’s feet wet as Geelong Korea, South Korea’s first overseas professional baseball team, will not compete in the Australian Baseball League (ABL) next season.
In addition to Jeon, this year’s draft picks Jung Hyun-soo (Songwon University) and Lee Ho-joon (Daegu Sangwon University) are also considered to have great potential. Jeong, a left-handed pitcher who donned the Lotte uniform with the 13th overall pick in the second round, went 4-2 with a 2.09 ERA in 11 games and 44.2 innings of college baseball this year. The 23rd overall pick in the third round, infielder Lee Ho-joon, has a good bat and, most importantly, very good defense.
Kwon said, “He’s from Busan, so I’ve been watching him grow up close. He has good game management skills, fastball and changeup. He is a college player, so he is complete. The coaching staff will call him up to the first team as soon as he has the ability.” Regarding Lee Ho-joon, he said, “He stood out as a starter from his sophomore year in high school. He has good baseball sense and good power. His biggest strength is his defense at shortstop.”
As for Lotte’s decision not to select a rookie catcher this year, Kwon explained, “We considered the team’s catcher depth, but overall, there was a lack of catchers in the draft.”