“It’s good to play anywhere.”
In this day and age, it’s all about the secondary characters (the ones who aren’t the main characters). Baseball is no different. Samsung Lions catcher Kim Jae-sung, 27, recently started a sideline. Instead of wearing a catcher’s mask, he took the field in a first baseman’s mitt.
Kim Jae-sung started at first base against KT Wiz in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on July 17-18. His batting order changed from six to five, but he kept his defensive position at first base.
Kim Jae-sung’s use of first base is definitely noticeable. Before starting at first base, Kim had never played a position other than catcher in his 143 career games and 433⅓ innings of defense.
Samsung has been struggling at the plate this season. According to baseball stats site Statiz, the Lions are dead last in batting average (.250), RBIs (250), and OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) this year, ranking ninth. In need of a turnaround, Samsung manager Park Jin-man had a solution. He put all of his hitting catchers in the lineup.먹튀검증
Samsung is the only one of the 10 clubs to have three catchers on the first team roster. Veterans Kang Min-ho (37), Kim Tae-gun (34), and Kim Jae-sung all have talent with the bat. With starting first baseman Oh Jae-il (37) in a slump and headed to the Futures League for an adjustment period, the team is utilizing Kim Jae-sung at first base to fill the void.
Samsung Lions catcher Kim Jae-sung. He has been playing first base recently. Samsung Lions
Samsung manager Park Jin-man met with the media ahead of the game on April 18 and explained his decision to use Kim Jae-sung at first base. “He’s doing better than I thought. It’s my first time playing first base, but I feel like I’m relaxed. At first, it was unfamiliar and the direction was confusing, but for the first game, there was a certain amount of stability,” he smiled.
Kim Jae-sung, who we met before the game, was not so cheerful. He expressed regret that he did not catch Lee Jae-hyun’s pitch perfectly in the last game (against Suwon KT on the 17th).
In the bottom of the seventh inning, with the team trailing 3-5, shortstop Lee Jae-hyun caught Anthony Alford’s deep fly ball and threw to first base. However, the ball bounced once and fell behind first baseman Kim Jae-sung, who was unable to catch it. In the meantime, the runner from second scored, making the score 3-6. Samsung scored two runs in the top of the ninth, its last offense, to make it 5-6, but eventually took a knee.
“I lost the game because of me,” Kim Jae-sung said, reflecting on his failure to catch Lee Jae-hyun’s throw, “I was very nervous (playing first base). I wanted to do my best and do well, but it didn’t work out…” he said.
“I was lucky to hit (the three hits), and it’s good to play anywhere. I’ll prepare hard,” he said.
Samsung can maximize its offense by using Kim Jae-sung at first base. It’s also a new opportunity for the player. He’ll be able to take more chances at first base. In an era where ‘bukkake’ is all the rage, what kind of effect will Kim Jae-sung’s first base appearance have?