The reason why the Hanwha Eagles recruited Lee Jae-won (36), a released catcher who was on the verge of retirement, has been proven just three days after the spring camp. He gives generous advice to not only young catchers but also pitchers in his team, energizing baby eagles’ clumsy wings. Lee Jae-won has established himself as a special mentor at Hanwha’s spring camp in a short period of time.
Hanwha Eagles’ Day 3 of the 2024 Spring Camp held at Melbourne Ball Park in Melbourne, Australia, on the 3rd. While the second bullpen pitching of the camp took place at the bullpen hall on one side of the stadium, Lee Jae-won sat in the bullpen hall wearing a catcher mask and received balls from potential players in the team, including Moon Dong-ju and Kim Bum-soo.
Lee Jae-won volunteered to serve as a mentor as well as an experienced catcher, constantly giving advice to pitchers. As a veteran catcher who played 1,426 games in his entire professional league, every piece of his advice was superb. He sent a message of encouragement to Kim Bum-soo, who showed off his heavy pitching power, saying, “Let’s go for the hold king,” and when the ball didn’t come in strong enough, he said, “Take a deep breath and throw it. It’s not a technical problem when a ball is thrown. Thinking and throwing are completely different from just throwing well,” in expressing cool-headedness.
He was not alone. He praised Nam’s curve ball, saying, “It’s a curve ball given by God,” and gave Hwang Joon-seo, a rookie pitcher who is interviewing reporters after finishing bullpen pitching, a big thumbs-up. He was also seen playing both games 헤라카지노.
Choi Won-ho, the coach who watched all these events, said, “Experience cannot be ignored. How many balls has Lee Jae-won received so far? You can feel something when you see pitchers’ balls,” adding, “In fact, you never know what is not quantified in pitchers’ balls unless you receive them yourself or hit them. That’s why the coach also asks the catcher directly when trying to figure out pitchers’ conditions.” He highly praised Lee’s experience.
Lee Jae-won graduated from Incheon High School and won the first nomination of SK (currently SSG) over Ryu Hyun-jin in the 2006 Rookie Draft. Lee Jae-won has grown into a catcher with excellent offensive and pitching leads, and he contributed to the team’s victory with a batting average of 329 134 hits, 17 homers and 57 RBIs in 130 games in the 2018 season, scoring the goal of a four-year, 6.9 billion won (approx.
Lee Jae-won failed to meet the expectations of 6.9 billion won (6.37 million U.S. dollars). He played in 431 games for four years from 2019 to 2022, and submitted a poor report card with a batting average of 242 with 21 homers and 154 RBIs and an OPS of .651. In the first year of his contract, he left 12 homers with a batting average of 268 in 139 games, two homers with a batting average of 1805 in 80 games in the 2020 season, and two homers with a batting average of 2083 in 107 games in the 2021 season, before continuing a slump with a batting average of 214 in 105 games in 2022. His blocking rate of stolen bases in the same year was 9.8 percent, the lowest in the league.
Lee Jae-won became the unified catcher who contributed to the first wire-to-wire victory in the KBO League in the 2022 season, but he never smiled. His performance in the Korean Series was also 0-for-9 at 11-at-bats. In the end, he decided to stay at the SSG without exercising his rights as an FA, and signed a contract for the 2023 season for 100 million won, a whopping 900 million won cut from the previous 1 billion won. However, last season also saw a crisis of retirement as he failed to turn around with a batting average of 911, two RBIs in 27 games.
Lee Jae-won, who asked the SSG to release him, signed a contract with Hanwha for an annual salary of 50 million won (approx. Hanwha suddenly picked Lee Jae-won as a backup catcher who supports Choi Jae-hoon and Park Sang-eon, appreciating his rich experience.
Lee Jae-won has also been training in the spring camp catcher group in a bright and motivated manner all the time. When Choi Jae-hoon, his training mate, caught the ball perfectly on the 2nd, he encouraged him, saying, “Good Jae-hoon!” and he also stood behind Choi Jae-hoon and served as the referee. He shouted a strike call with a strong shout. As a veteran catcher, he showed an experienced catch in his turn, but he clearly felt the official record in the framing.
Battery coach Kim Jung-min, who is in charge of Lee Jae-won’s training, expressed satisfaction with the whole process. “We can’t make all the assessments just for two days, but the training we’ve prepared is going the way we want it to go. It can be said that the players have prepared well during the off-season. It feels like I got off to a good start,” Kim said. “I’ve moved teams, but if I come to a new team after playing in one team for a long time, I might feel awkward. However, Lee Jae-won seems to have played with him since the beginning.”
Expectations for the “Lee Jae-won effect” were also high. “Lee Jae-won has a lot of experience and even won a championship. Our team needs a winning spirit, and I think not only Lee Jae-won but also Kim Kang-min and An Chi-hong can quench that thirst,” coach Kim said.
The class, which once received 6.9 billion won with no option, did not go anywhere. The reason why Hanwha recruited Lee Jae-won was proved only three days after the start of the spring camp.