Lee Ji-young (36), the “homemaker” of Kiwoom in professional baseball, is one of the representative catchers recognized in the KBO League. In the 2022 regular season, he played in the most games (137) among catchers in the KBO League, and his defensive innings were 994.2 innings, second only to Yoo Gang-nam (1008.1 innings), and he wore a mitt and caught the pitcher’s ball.
However, since his professional debut, he has never played in an international competition wearing the Taegeuk mark. Will we see Lee Ji-young wearing the national team uniform at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) to be held in March next year?
Lee Ji-young was included in the list of 50 players interested in the national team announced by the KBO on the 18th of last month. Including Lee Ji-young as the catcher, Yang Eui-ji, Park Dong-won, and Park Se-hyeok were named. The interested list is a kind of preliminary list provided to the WBCI, the organizing committee of the tournament, in order to go through the process of checking the participation qualifications of each player in advance.
If the WBCI confirms eligibility and then responds to the KBO, the KBO will submit a preliminary list of 35 players within the next month. And the final list of 30 players who will participate in the tournament must be submitted to the WBCI by February 7 next year. The final roster must include two catchers.
As long as there are no injuries or major incidents, there is no disagreement that the main catcher for the national team will be Yang Eui-ji, who has extensive experience in international competitions and won the Golden Globe this year. The coaching staff of the national team, led by head coach Lee Kang-cheol, is expected to agonize over the remaining one or two positions.
Lee Ji-young is ahead of Park Dong-won and Park Se-hyuk in hitting contact records. Looking at the batting average for the 2022 season, Lee Ji-young (0.267), Park Se-hyuk (0.248), and Park Dong-won (0.242) are in order. Park Dong-won is ahead of the other two in slugging power. Park Dong-won hit 18 homers with a slugging percentage of 0.436, better than Lee Ji-young (2 homers, 0.331) and Park Se-hyeok (3 homers, 0.316). Park Se-hyeok had 10 double kills in a defensive situation, more than Lee Ji-young (9) and Park Dong-won (8).
Lee Ji-young, who met in front of the locker room before the second game of the playoffs between Kiwoom and LG held in Gocheok on October 25, was asked about his thoughts on selecting the WBC team. But I think it would be good to be on the preliminary list.” 스포츠토토
Lee Ji-young, who proudly raised his name as one of the four catchers as he hoped, met at the KBO Golden Glove Awards on the 9th and said, “I didn’t think I would be on the interest list.” . I feel good and proud just to be there,” he said.
Attention is focusing on whether Lee Ji-young, who led Kiwoom’s young pitching staff on and off the pitch and finished runner-up in the Korean Series, will be able to blossom into a ‘first late-season national team’ beyond being proud.