You’re told you need ankle surgery. But for now, he’ll be ‘gaining experience’.
Lee Byung-heon (20) is one of the players the Doosan Bears are most eager to develop.
The former Seoul High School left-hander underwent elbow surgery in high school, but Doosan selected him with the first overall pick because of his high upside.
Lee was promoted to the first team in September 2022. He appeared in nine games and gained experience, posting a 3.60 ERA in five innings.
This season, Lee entered the season with even greater expectations. Lacking a solid left-handed pitcher, Doosan was hoping that Byung-hun would earn a spot.
In spring training, Lee showed promise. Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop said, “He reminds me of Koo Dae-sung when he was active. He has good deception and will be a tricky pitcher for hitters,” Lee said. Hisanori Takahashi, an instructor who came to the Australian camp with Lee, also predicted Lee’s success.
The left-hander started the season well, pitching 6⅓ innings in 10 games in April and posting a 2.84 ERA, and seemed to be an anchor in the bullpen. However, 안전놀이터 he faltered a bit and ended the season with a 4.67 ERA in 27 innings and five holds in 36 games, bouncing between the first and second teams.
After the season, Byung-heon went overseas twice.
He was selected to the preliminary roster for the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) in November, and although he didn’t make the final roster, he traveled to the Tokyo Dome to watch the games. “Next time, I want to stand on the mound of the Tokyo Dome wearing a Korean flag,” Lee vowed.
After returning home, there wasn’t much rest. From March 3 to 10, Lee represented Korea at the 30th Asian Baseball Championship in Taipei, Taiwan. He was the only Doosan player on the team.
My ankle wasn’t 100%, but I focused a lot on gaining experience. A bone fragment was found in my ankle and I needed surgery. Fortunately, he was told that he didn’t need surgery right away and decided to take the next step in his development by gaining more international experience. “We decided not to operate on him this year, but to wait until next season after he gained experience in Taiwan,” a Doosan official explained.
Doosan also needs a wake-up call.
Recently, the team has been suffering from a lefty famine. Foreign pitchers Brandon Waddell and Seung-yong Choi are the starting options.
While it’s important to get hitters out whether they’re left or right, lefties definitely have an advantage against lefties. As Lee, who was one of the best big lefties in the game, said, “It’s hard to face a tricky lefty in a big situation. We need a left-handed pitcher who can stop strong lefties with runners on base.”
In addition to Lee, Doosan’s left-handed bullpen for next season includes Kim Ho-joon, who throws a fastball that can reach 150 kilometers per hour, and Baek Sung-woo, who threw two scoreless innings in two games in this year’s trials. Lee is most excited about Lee Byung-heon.
“He had a headshot this year, and he also hit a three-run home run against Choi Hyung-woo in a sleepover. “As a baseball player, you can feel more when you have a bad day,” said Lee, “and he will have more memories of failure as he often goes back and forth between the first and second teams. I hope Lee Byung-heon will become one of our main players next year. I’m looking forward to it.”