Spring camp is in full swing. Starting from last year’s champion SSG, the lowest-ranked Hanwha will each aim for the dream of winning, at least the top 5. In the offseason, last year’s bottom-ranked teams actively moved to reinforce their strength.
The reporter, who went to the Arizona camp in the United States, covered three teams, LG, Kiwoom, and Hanwha, who are having spring camps in Scottsdale and Mesa, and asked the commanders about their predictions for the top 5 teams this season.
In general, SSG, LG, Kiwoom, and KT, which were in the top ranks last year, were expected to make it to the top 5 this year as well.
LG coach Yeom Gyeong-yeop picked Lotte as the top five after LG, SSG, KT, and Kiwoom. He said, “I think the 5th place will be a fight between Lotte and KIA.”
Lotte recruited three free agents in the offseason. All of them were recruitments to solve homework in vulnerable positions. By bringing in catcher Kang-Nam Yoo (4 years, 8 billion won), he was able to stabilize his hometown, which had been going on for several years after Min-ho Kang (Samsung) transferred. He solved the shortstop problem by recruiting Roh Jin-hyeok (4 years, 5 billion won), who also has long hitting power. Also, at the end of January, pitcher Han Hyeon-hee (4 billion won for 3+1 years) was recruited to reinforce the starting lineup.
Lotte also recruited pitchers Kim Sang-soo, Yoon Myeong-jun, Cha Woo-chan, catcher Lee Jung-hoon, and outfielder Ahn Kwon-soo, who were released from other teams, to increase their depth. Three foreign players (Strayly, Barnes, and Rex) also reduced the risk of contract renewal and adaptation. 안전놀이터
KIA, which advanced to the wild card match in 5th place last year, renewed the contract with foreign hitter Socrates and selected two new foreign pitchers. They recruited two right-handed pitchers, Sean Anderson and Adonis Medina, and paired them with left-handed starters Yang Hyeon-jong and Lee Eui-ri. Na Seong-beom is holding the center of the batting line. However, the negative is that the main catcher, Park Dong-won, obtained FA qualification and left for LG.
When asked about the ranking fight this season, coach Hong Won-ki of Kiwoom cautiously answered. He predicted that last year’s top 4 teams would advance to the top 5 again this year. Including Kiwoom, the winning teams SSG, LG, and KT were ranked in the top ranks (regardless of ranking).
When asked about the remaining 5th place, coach Hong thought about it and said with a smile, “Please say that Lotte, KIA, Doosan, Samsung, and NC 5 teams will fight.” Still, he seemed to be wary of the power of the two teams, choosing Lotte and KIA first.
On the other hand, Hanwha coach Subero expected Samsung to be the top 5, although LG, SSG, KT, and Kiwoom were the same. The three foreign musketeers who were active last year gave high marks to continuing to play. Director Subero said, “Lotte, Doosan, KIA, and NC are also competitive. I think it will be a year when all teams are evenly matched,” he added.