Lee and Kim Heroes to Watch in KBO

Lee doesn’t turn 19 until August 20. Yet he made the Korean All Star team, only the second rookie to do so. The first rookie to make a KBO All star team was the Kia Tigers Chi-Hong An in 2009. Jeong-Hoo Lee has some branding to back him up. His father, Jong-Beom Lee is one of the more famous baseball players in Korea. He won the MVP award in 1994 after hitting .393 with 19 homeruns and 84 stolen bases for the Haitai Tigers.

The younger version is not doing so bad. He was drafted in the first round like his dad, the first father/son duo to be drafted in the first round. Jeong-Hoo is a Nexon Heroe. In his first year without any minor league experience he is hitting .336 batting in the leadoff position for the Heroes and patrolling centerfield. The power has yet to come (two homeruns and a .442 slugging percentage) and his stolen bases are not there (5 for 8) but would you expect this kind of production from an 18 year old in the major leagues?

Lee currently has a 13 game hitting streak. At 47-43 the Nexen Heroes are still in the playoff hunt. As they battle for a playoff spot in the present, their future looks bright. In addition to the 18 year old Lee in centerfield they also have 21 year old shortstop Ha-Seong Kim. Kim replaced Jung-Ho Kang as the Heroes shortstop when Kang went to the major leagues to play and now not to play for the Pirates. Kim is hitting .288 with 14 homeruns and 64 RBIs. In a league where everyone seems to hit .300, the batting average is a little low but the production is good, especially when you consider he is only 21. The Heroes have been batting him cleanup in their lineup, a lot of responsibility for a 21 year old.

Lee and Kim, two youngsters to watch in Korea who should make the Nexen Heroes the next dominant team in the KBO.

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