“If there are no injuries, we’ll go with five starters. Even if Lee Min-ho and Kim Yun-sik come, there’s no room for them.”
That’s how LG head coach Yeom Kyung-yeop answered the question about his starting lineup for the rest of the season.
LG’s starting rotation has seen a lot of changes this season. While the foreign one-two punch was solid, the Korean starting lineup was a problem, and it ended up with a different set of faces than last year. It was also a complete departure from the plan at the beginning of the season.
After much trial and error, a five-man rotation of Casey Kelly, Adam Plutko, Chan-kyu Im, Won-tae Choi, and Lee Jung-yong was established. This year, Chan-kyu Im, who started the year in the bullpen, moved into the third spot, while Won-tae Choi, who was acquired via trade, took the fourth. The final piece of the puzzle was Lee Jung-yong, who, like Im, moved from the bullpen to the starting role.
Initially, the third and fourth spots belonged to Kim Yoon-sik and Lee Min-ho, who had been in the starting rotation for the past three years, but their faces were nowhere to be seen in the second half of the season.
Kim Yun-sik and Lee Min-ho were classmates in the 2020 season. Kim Yun-sik was selected with the third pick of the second round, while Lee Min-ho was the first pick. Their high picks showed the club’s expectations for them.
Lee Min-ho, in particular, established himself as a solid starter last year with 12 wins. Kim Yun-sik also did his part with eight wins.
This year, however, they lost their spots. Lee was removed from the roster early in the season due to an elbow injury. He returned after about a month, but was unable to regain his form and was sent back down to the second team on June 23. In five games in the first team, he went winless with two losses and a 5.03 ERA.
Kim Yun-sik also struggled. He had a strong second half last year and made it all the way to the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), but after building up his body quickly, he lost his command this season. He went 3-4 with a 5.29 ERA in 11 games and was released on July 9.
Manager Yoon Kyung-yeop said, “I start again like spring training. I’ll build my body from scratch,” he said, hinting at his return in the second half.
Since July, he has been seen in the Futures League. Lee Min-ho went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four games and 12 innings pitched. Kim Yun-sik went 1-1 with a 5.52 ERA in four games and 14⅔ innings pitched.
According to manager Yoon Kyung-yup, Lee Min-ho has recovered his velocity to 144-145 kilometers.
He’s now ready to return to the first team, but it’s not going to happen. With a solid five-man starting lineup, there’s not much of a gap.
Yeom Kyung-yup will not call up Kim Yun-sik and Lee Min-ho too soon. In September, the expanded roster will be implemented, allowing five players to be called up to the first team, but it’s unclear if Kim Yun-sik and Lee Min-ho will be able to make it. 메이저사이트
“As long as there are no injuries, we will continue with the current five starters until the end of the season,” Yeom emphasized. “It will only be possible if there is a doubleheader or a Monday game. Until then, there will be no room.”