In the final entry (30 people) of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) announced on the 4th, three players from the KIA Tigers were named. Yang Hyeon-jong, who reigned as the left-handed ace of the Korean baseball team along with Kim Gwang-hyun (SSG Landers), boarded without incident, and in 2021, Rookie of the Year left-handed pitcher Eui-ri Lee (21) and starting right fielder Na Seong-beom (34) also joined.
Eui-ri Lee did not expect to be selected for the national team. In an interview with Ilgan Sports at the end of last year, when asked about expectations for participating in the WBC, he said, “There are a lot of very good pitchers, and I don’t expect it because I left mediocre results in the 2022 season.”
It’s a humble attitude. Eui-ri Lee recorded 161 strikeouts in the 2022 season. After Ahn Woo-jin (Kiwoom Heroes), he ranked second as a pitcher in Korea. His batting average of 0.221 was also second only to An Woo-jin. The number of wins was 10 due to the large ups and downs of his batting line, but the detailed record showed the league’s top pitching.
When asked about his determination on the premise of participating in the WBC, Lee Eui-ri said again, “I don’t think I will be selected.” thing,” he said. 토토
Eui-ri Lee recorded the most strikeouts among pitchers from participating countries at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. He spent his professional rookie days at the time, but he showed an appearance no less than that of a veteran and was expected to be a ‘next-generation ace’.
Lee Eui-ri took the mound at the end of the 8th inning when the team was losing 2-3 in the first game of the wild card decision against the KT Wiz on October 13 last year, but was knocked out after giving up 3 walks. He was sluggish, feeling the pressure of the relief pitch he was not used to.
National team coach Lee Kang-cheol has not confirmed his position, but plans to show the operation of the ‘swarm mound’ according to the situation and player condition. It is expected that Lee Eui-ri, equipped with post-season (PS) experience, will once again show international competitiveness.
Na Seong-beom was also not sure about his entry into the WBC. The outfield has always been competitive. He ranked 5th in this category with a batting average of 0.320 in the 2022 season, but his home runs were 21, showing a slugging power that was lower than in the 2020 and 2021 seasons, when he exceeded 30. Na Seong-beom, who we talked to after the season, said, “I am not sure that he will be selected (for the national team) because he is a highly competitive position.”
Na Seong-beom was selected as the Golden Glove winner at the year-end awards ceremony and was recognized as the representative outfielder of the KBO League. In the WBC, he is expected to build an outfield lineup with Lee Jung-hoo and Kim Hyun-soo. Na Seong-beom has no WBC experience. He said, “It’s such an honor. It’s also the biggest baseball tournament. I’m grateful to have a special experience.”