I’m letting go of everything and learning everything from scratch.”
Son Seong-bin (21), who wore a Lotte uniform as a national first-round pick in 2021, was a season in which he clearly imprinted his name. After joining in 2021, he joined the Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Sangmu) a year later and completed his military service early.
At the end of June, he was discharged and immediately entered the first team stage. He raised that much expectation and continued his growth at Sangmu. Since then, Son Seong-bin has emerged as a ‘base-stealing sniper’ with a pop time (time from the time the catcher receives the pitch to the fielder’s glove) of 1.8~9 seconds, a level similar to that of a major league catcher.
There was a perception that Son Seong-bin could not play if he wore a catcher’s mask, and based on this strength, he continued to participate in games and completed the year. In 45 games, he had a batting average of .263, 20 hits in 76 at-bats, 1 home run, 15 RBI, and an OPS of .624. And his steal percentage was a whopping 70% (7 intercepted/3 allowed).안전놀이터
Son Seong-bin’s business trip opportunities were relatively limited. The starting catcher was Yoo Kang-nam, and the backup catcher was Jeong Jeong-geun. Instead, Son Seong-bin developed his skills by sweating before the game with first-team battery coach Choi Kyung-cheol. Son Seong-bin expressed his gratitude to Coach Choi Kyung-cheol during the season, saying, “I am putting everything aside and learning everything from the beginning from what Coach Choi Kyung-cheol taught me.” His training was hard, but he gained a lot of affection by breathing a lot. Coach Choi Gyeong-cheol also watched Son Seong-bin’s games during his time as managing director, thought hard about what areas he could improve, and implemented them after his discharge.
He continued, “When I competed this year, it was so difficult and complicated and there was a lot to do. This year was the first time I really knew and felt baseball. However, I learned a lot from my coach and Gangnam. “There were a lot of people helping me, so it was a time when I was learning and solving my problems little by little,” he explained about the first season.
However, the relationship between coach Choi Kyung-cheol and Son Seong-bin ended after less than six months. Lotte began its reorganization with the appointment of new coach Kim Tae-hyung, a master coach who has advanced to the Korean Series for seven consecutive years. The coaching staff was also changed, and it was decided not to renew the contract with coach Kyung-cheol Choi.
Son Seong-bin said, “I learned so much from Coach Choi Kyung-cheol. “I was sad that you left,” he said. “I actually cried a little while talking on the phone. “It was a time when we had just become closer and learned a lot, but I was so sad,” he confessed. A lot of affection was built up.
However, Son Seong-bin forgot the sadness and regret of farewell and looked forward to the future with a new manager and new battery coach. Manager Kim Tae-hyung, a master catcher, has trained and tamed veteran catchers such as Yang Eui-ji (Doosan) and Park Se-hyuk (NC).
Seongbin Son said, “I want to quickly train with coach Taehyung Kim. Isn’t this a manager who specializes in catching? “I think you’re both excited and scared,” he said. “I’m also prepared to be scolded.” Basically, when you get scolded, you learn faster and it feels more direct. “I think I will learn a lot,” he said, looking forward to the final camp with coach Kim Tae-hyung.
In addition, Lotte brought in coach Jeong Sang-ho as a battery coach to assist coach Kim Tae-hyung. From now on, he will be Son Seongbin’s new teacher. Coach Jeong Sang-ho played 1,154 games during his active career with SK, LG, and Doosan. During his time at SK, he experienced championships and even exercised free agent status. Son Seong-bin said, “I will learn a lot from the new coach.”
Soon, Son Seong-bin will leave for the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) national team. Coach Kim Tae-hyung, who said, “I think our team’s catching team is the best in the league,” expressed expectations for Son Seong-bin’s talent, but regretted that he was leaving the team to join the team. Manager Kim Tae-hyung said, “I wanted to correct my hitting with the bat just a little bit. He is a strong player and I wish he would have a swing that matches his strength. “I think he can hit a long ball, but he can’t get the timing and hit,” he said, adding that he sees room for further growth as a hitter, but he doesn’t have much time to coach.
2024 is also important for Son Seong-bin. Coach Kim Tae-hyung emphasized to the new players who are just starting to stand out that they must work hard in baseball, saying, “It is a mistake to think that they will be able to do better next year than they are now.” Son Seong-bin also has no intention of becoming a ‘sparkling’ player. He said, “I think you need to show that you are clearly good at something in practice rather than just being good at something. He seems to have to do so well that you think, ‘It’s obvious that he has a reason to be in the first team.’ I think he can prepare much better than he did this year. “I will make sure there are more good days at the baseball field in the future,” he said emphatically.