First-round pick Kim Bum-seok (20)스포츠토토 is expected to join the Korean Series roster in a surprise move.
The LG Twins held their first training camp in preparation for the Korean Series at the LG Champions Park in Icheon on the 19th. LG plans to use a two-day training, one-day off schedule to improve their conditioning through training, self-practice games, and scrimmages with managers.
LG is aiming to win the Korean Series after winning the pennant race for the first time since 1994. “We plan to use three catchers in the Korean Series,” LG manager Yoon Kyung-yeop told reporters before the first training session on the 19th, “and Kim Bum-seok will be in the lineup.”
Kim Bum-seok, who graduated from Gimhae Samsung High School, Gyeongnam Middle School, and Gyeongnam High School, is a high school rookie who joined the LG Twins with the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2023 rookie draft. The signing bonus was 250 million won. At the time of the draft, LG President Cha Myung-seok wrote, “The proper name Kim Bum-seok will become synonymous with Korean baseball,” which made a big splash.
Since his amateur days, he has been recognized as the “second best” pitcher in the game. “In a word, Kim Bum-seok is a catcher who makes pitchers feel comfortable,” said a scout from a club, “He has both skill and character, and he knows how to sacrifice for the team. If he grows as expected, he has the potential to become the ‘second Yangji’.”
This season, Kim appeared in 10 games, batting .111 (27-for-29) with one home run, four RBIs, three runs scored, one walk, five strikeouts and a .397 OPS. A shoulder injury he suffered in high school kept him out of first-team spring training, and he spent most of his time with the second team. In the Futures League, he played in 58 games, batting .286 (56-for-196) with six home runs, 12 doubles, 31 RBI, 20 runs scored, 13 walks, seven hit-by-pitches, 38 strikeouts, a .439 on-base percentage and a .350 slugging percentage.
Back in August, when the season was in full swing, manager Yoon talked about Kim’s future position decision. “He’s been training as a catcher, but his throwing is still difficult,” Yeom said at the time, adding, “At this rate, we can’t help but think about whether to use him in the first team next year.” Like the Futures League, he can’t just play as a designated hitter in the first team. In order to play in the first team, he would have to seriously consider a temporary change of position, such as first base. In fact, Kim made five starts at first base at the end of the season.
The final roster for the Korean Series is 30 players. Yoon is looking at 13 to 14 pitchers for the Korean Series roster. The remaining spots will be filled by outfielders, with one of the three catcher spots going to Kim Bum-seok. He won’t be wearing a catcher’s mask, though. “We don’t want to have a situation where (Kim) Bum-seok is playing catcher,” Yeom said with a laugh. As such, Kim will be utilized as a pinch-hitter or designated hitter in the middle and late innings.
Meanwhile, LG will prepare for the first game of the Korean Series on Nov. 7 with two days of training and one day of rest in Icheon. The team will also play its own Blue-Black Game on Nov. 23 to get a feel for the game. In early November, the team will play two practice games against Sangsung.