Jung-Woo Lee the Ichiro of Korea

A bold statement to make. Jung-Woo Lee won the KBO rookie of the year award last year at age 18 hitting .324. Not a great average in the KBO but for an 18 year old pretty impressive. He is the son of Jong-Beom Lee, who was a star in the KBO a number of years ago. Like Ichiro, Lee does not hit for a lot of power but he accumulates base hits. The power may come as he matures. Jung-Woo also plays right field but his arm and speed do not match Ichiro. Just his bat.

Coming into his sophomore season Lee struggled. He spent some time on the disabled list trying to heal from the nagging injuries, returning July 19th after a one month absence. Now that he has returned healthy his bat has been torrid. And the Nexen Heroes have been reaping the benefits, currently on an 11 game winning streak that has moved them to fourth place in the KBO. For the month of August the 19 year old has 31 hits in 59 at bats for a .525 average. He also has multiple hits in his last six games.

The hot streak has put his average at .377. That currently leads the KBO. If he wins the batting title he will join his dad Jong-Beom Lee as the first father/son duo to win the batting title in the KBO, and possibly the youngest player to win the title. His slugging average has also increased from .417 his rookie year to .504 with an increase in doubles and homeruns and a decrease in triples. The hot streak has also put him on the Korean national team for the Asian Games to be held in Indonesia later this month.

It will be a few years before Lee gets posted or becomes a free agent but there would be a number of major league teams interested in his services. By that time he could be approaching 2,000 hits in the KBO at the ripe old age of 25.

Of course, when Shin-Soo Choo played in the major leagues the Koreans called him the Ichiro of Korea. That did not come to pass. He still has had a decent major league career, but far short of Ichiro.

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