Lee Yong-chan (34) of the NC Dinos is determined to achieve good results in the World Baseball Classic (WBC).
Lee Yong-chan made another career-high season last season with an average ERA of 2.08, 3 wins, 3 losses, and 22 saves in 59 games (60⅔ innings). His saves were the third most of his career and he had the lowest earned run average in a season with 10 or more saves.
Thanks to these performances, Lee Yong-chan was selected for the WBC national team to be held in March. With Ko Woo-seok, Jung Woo-young (above LG), Kim Won-joong (Lotte), and Jung Cheol-won (Doosan) among the younger players in the bullpen, veteran Lee Yong-chan is expected to play a significant role.
Lee Yong-chan is quickly picking up the pace in preparation for the upcoming WBC. Lee Yong-chan said in an interview on the 5th (Korean time), “It is difficult to come to the United States after a long time. The more he works out, the harder it feels. He has no know-how to overcome jet lag. He just has to work hard,” he laughs.
Lee Yong-chan, who said, “I made a good body in Korea,” said, “I prepared for technical training in the United States. After the season, he took some rest and did recovery training. Then I went into weight training again and started throwing the ball earlier than usual,” he said. “There is no reason to start throwing the ball so quickly unless it is the WBC. He quickly got ready for the competition. It is important for him to be selected for the national team and he wants to do well. So he seems to have prepared quickly,” he said of his mindset preparing for the WBC.
One of the biggest concerns of pitchers participating in the WBC is adapting to the official ball. The WBC uses the official Major League ball as its official ball. It is known that the Major League ball is slippery and has a lower seam than the KBO League ball.
Lee Yong-chan, who said, “I only throw WBC-approved pitches during bullpen pitching,” said, “I don’t touch the KBO league balls. The feel is definitely very different. I am throwing the ball without applying much rosin because it seems to be more slippery with rosin applied. It seems that only about 70-80% of it has been adapted yet. There is no fine pinpoint control. In this RBI, it should go in like this, but it doesn’t go in as expected, so I’m still calculating,” he explained the process of adapting to the official ball.
Lee Yong-chan, who has to lead young pitchers as a veteran in the national team, said, “Of course, when juniors ask, I try to help a lot. Veteran players, including myself, have to lead by example. Our veterans are also national team players, but young players are also national team players. There doesn’t seem to be anything special to teach. However, veterans have more experience, so I try to help them play without being nervous in the game.” 스포츠토토
South Korea has not performed well in the WBC since the runner-up in 2009. In the 2013 and 2017 tournaments, he was eliminated in the first round in a row. In this tournament, the goal is to pass the first round for the first time in 14 years and advance to the quarterfinals and semifinals. National team coach Lee Kang-cheol asked the players to achieve good results on the national team convening day, saying, “Shouldn’t we take the plane to the United States (semifinals)?”
Lee Yong-chan, who said, “I think I should go up to the semifinals at least,” said Lee Yong-chan, “of course I have a strong desire to get good grades. Recently, Korean baseball has not been very good at international competitions. I think I should get good grades this time. He said, “I haven’t played the game yet. You have to play baseball to know. It is true that strong teams such as the United States and Japan are superior to Korea. But don’t know yet. If we play the game, we can get on the rise.”
At this WBC, the Korea-Japan match was also held for the first time in 14 years. After losing in the 2009 final, we met Japan for the first time in a while. The Japanese national team, which featured a large number of major league players such as Shohei Ohtani (Angels), Yu Darvish (San Diego), Seiya Suzuki (Cubs), Masataka Yoshida (Boston), and Lars Nuthba (St. are considered candidates.
However, Lee Yong-chan said, “Honestly, there is a burden. But no one knows the outcome. One small mistake seems to decide the game. I don’t think the score difference is that big. I think the pressure will be greater in Japan. The national team members came out so well, but if we lose, the blow will be greater than ours,” he said, vowing to achieve a turnaround in the Korea-Japan match.