Shin Min-jae (LG Twins) had a spectacular 2023. Filling the final piece of the team’s puzzle, he played in his first 100 games and won his first championship.
Shin began his professional career as a Doosan Bears developmental player in 2015, and moved to LG in the KBO Secondary Draft in late 2018. With the ability to play the outfield as well as infield defense, LG saw a lot of potential for him.
In fact, Shin played 81 games in the first team in 2019 and 68 games the following year in an LG uniform. He had quiet years in 2021 (32 games) and 2022 (14 games), but made his presence felt this year by playing 100 games for the first time since his professional debut.
In particular, Shin’s aggressive baserunning from the start of the season put him in contention for his first career stolen base title, which he fought for until the end of the season. He ended the season with 122 games, 282 hits, 78 runs, a .277 batting average, 28 RBIs, and 37 stolen bases. Although Shin finished the season second in stolen bases behind Jeong Soo-bin (Doosan), he played in every game of the Korean Series and helped the team down the stretch.
Before the Yang Jun-hyuk Baseball Foundation 2023 Hope for the Future Charity Baseball Tournament at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea, Shin said, “I don’t think it will be realized until a little later that we won the Korean Series. I didn’t talk to my teammates about it, and I was able to finish the series in a good mood. I’m still thinking, ‘It’s over,’ but I think I’ll feel it when the (championship) bonus comes in,” he laughed.
Reflecting on the Korean Series, Shin said, “There wasn’t much different compared to the regular season, but I think it was fun because there was more focus and a lot of fans. But in the top of the ninth inning (when the championship was clinched), the sound was really different, and I felt a little bit of a sense of reality.”
LG coach Yeom Kyung-yeop, who has been coaching the team since the final training session after last season, had his eyes on several players, but he had high hopes for Shin Min-jae, who would be responsible for the team’s mobility. The manager even described him as ‘a necessary player for Yi’s baseball’, so the responsibility he felt was great. 보스토토
“I felt responsible, but I think I felt more like I had to be good and prepare well because I knew that if I didn’t take the opportunity when he first gave it to me, it would be the end,” he recalls, “I was only thinking about making a starter’s spot by showing my good form.”
When asked to rate his 2023 season, Shin gave himself a score of 70 out of 100. This was not a very high score compared to his performance this season, so why was he so harsh on himself?