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Lee exhibits off energy vs. Padres, continues scorching begin to MLB profession

Lee shows off power in Giants’ win, continues hot start to MLB career originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area SAN DIEGO — The Giants had three players at the top of their wish list in the offseason and they watched in horror as the first two signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, adding an

Lee exhibits off energy vs. Padres, continues scorching begin to MLB profession

Lee shows off power in Giants’ win, continues hot start to MLB career initially appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN DIEGO — The Giants had three gamers on the high of their want listing within the offseason and so they watched in horror as the primary two signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, including an MVP and one of many world’s finest pitchers to a group that already was going to be favored to win the Nationwide League West. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was not going to let the third get away.

The Giants responded by simply outbidding others, providing $113 million to Jung Hoo Lee, however they have been assured that the South Korean heart fielder might make a straightforward transition to Main League Baseball. After watching Lee take batting follow early in camp, Zaidi felt much more assured concerning the funding.

“The bat-to-ball expertise, the flexibility to sq. issues up, after which the flexibility to, like, actually launch the ball when he needs to, it is fairly thrilling,” he mentioned early within the spring. “It is BP and we have seen him take BP earlier than. The massive problem goes to come back when dealing with Main League pitching, however it’s been spectacular.”

It took only a few swings in camp for the Giants to really feel that Lee was maybe extra like his idol, Ichiro Suzuki, than they’d identified once they signed him. Suzuki chased batting titles, not double-digit homer seasons, however he had the pure means to swing for the fences when he wanted to.

Throughout his first few days in Scottsdale, Lee, a .340 profession hitter within the KBO, sometimes let it fly, hitting lengthy residence runs off the get together deck in proper discipline at Scottsdale Stadium. The Giants have been hopeful that there was extra energy than most had thought, and on Saturday evening, it got here out.

Lee almost homered in his third at-bat, yanking a Dylan Cease slider deep into the fitting discipline nook for a sacrifice fly. Three innings later, he unloaded on a slider from funky lefty Tom Cosgrove.

The house run was the massive spotlight on an evening stuffed with them, one thing even Lee’s teammates acknowledged after a 9-6 win. Michael Conforto hit a grand slam and Jordan Hicks had a dominant first begin in orange and black, however it was Lee who acquired doused with a beer bathe.

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Lee’s teammates know the way essential he’s to the group’s hopes, not simply of competing this yr however of clawing again segments of the fan base. At instances via three video games, they’ve discovered that they flip into followers, too.

“We love watching him hit,” Conforto mentioned. “Everyone is watching when he is up there. Simply his self-discipline, his eye on the plate, his means to remain on pitches, keep via the center of the sector, after which clearly we noticed a bit of little bit of energy — plenty of energy if he will get the fitting pitch. He is been superior. We’re simply going to maintain placing him on the high of the lineup and let him set the tone for us.”

Lee is just not your conventional “appointment tv” hitter. The house run was a no-doubter, however it was a modest 104 mph off the bat and landed 406 toes away. What he does so effectively, although, is present the traits that almost all hitters dream of.

By means of three video games, Lee has seen 59 pitches and swung and missed simply as soon as. He struck out trying in his first large league at-bat, however he has 4 hits in 11 at-bats since and a few sacrifice flies.

The Giants have had exhausting contact up and down the lineup via three video games, and Lee is retaining tempo with those that have been introduced in to be sluggers. Along with the homer, he had two groundouts that certified as “hard-hit balls” by Statcast’s metrics. He had two on Friday, too, together with a 109 mph single and 108 mph lineout. In his MLB debut, he hit two balls on the barrel.

“It is not about how I get evaluated, however again within the KBO, I had plenty of doubles and triples,” Lee mentioned via interpreter Justin Han. “I am placing the bat to the ball and that is what I am excited about now.”

Lee’s hair was dripping as he spent almost 20 minutes giving interviews. Earlier, he had slipped into the hallway to commerce three signed baseballs and a hat for the memento baseball. The household that caught the ball advised him that Ha-Seong Kim is their favourite San Diego Padre, which made the evening only a bit extra particular for Lee, who considers Kim an in depth good friend.

The household who caught Jung Hoo Lee’s first residence run are from the Bay Space however reside in San Diego.

Their favourite Padre is Ha-Seong Kim. They advised Jung Hoo about their love for Kim, and Jung Hoo responded through interpreter, “I’m going to inform him about you.” 🧡

— SFGiants (@SFGiants) March 31, 2024

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The 2 have talked usually throughout this sequence, however Lee saved from making eye contact when Kim twice robbed him on grounders early within the sport. Within the fifth inning, the Padres modified up their alignment and moved Kim in entrance of the bag at second, hoping to chop off a 3rd grounder with a runner on third. Lee as an alternative lofted a excessive fly ball to proper.

His subsequent at-bat produced one other ball that Kim had no shot at. The house run simply cleared the wall in proper, and Lee handed Kim as he jogged the bases. Kim helped clear the best way for Lee to get such an enormous contract when he determined to come back over to America, and after his large evening, Lee mentioned he hopes that extra expertise is on the best way.

“Ha-Seong and myself, we wish to attempt to make an excellent surroundings for gamers that will come from the KBO to play within the Main Leagues sooner or later,” he mentioned. “We discuss that loads.”

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