Catcher’s delight permeates the batting order, and Samsung’s ‘three-catcher system’ is fun to watch
The Samsung Lions have a new attacking option. The stunt of starting three catchers at once worked.
The Samsung Lions started all three catchers on their roster against the KT Wiz in Suwon on 18 April. The team introduced a “three-catcher lineup,” with designated hitter Kang Min-ho (38), first baseman Kim Jae-sung (27), and catcher Kim Tae-gun (34) batting in the four to six spot in the middle of the order.
The reason was to strengthen the offence. Samsung, which was batting .255 (8th in the league) with a .256 (8th) batting average with runners in scoring position in June before this game, devised a plan to utilise all three catchers with punch. While Kim Tae-gun leads the team in batting average in June (0.389), Kang Min-ho (0.308) and Kim Jae-sung (0.292) have also been in good form. In addition, Kim is hitting over 1.000 (3-for-5, 3 doubles, 5 RBIs) and Kang Min-ho is hitting .364 (22-for-8, 1 home run, 8 RBIs).
However, there are only three spots available for a catcher and two designated hitters. There was no way to utilise all three players at once if they were limited to catchers, so the solution was to play Kim Jae-sung at first base. With Oh Jae-il, the main first baseman, out of the first team due to poor batting, there was an internal consensus to use Kim Jae-sung, who can defend first base, to bolster the offence. Defence coach Son Ju-in led Kim Jae-sung’s defensive training at first base for several days. The deal was finalised when Son recommended the first baseman to manager Park Jin-man.
The result was a huge success. On the 17th against KT Suwon, Kim started at first base and went 3-for-4 with a home run to revitalise the team’s batting. Against KT on the 18th, he had two hits and two RBIs. His teammate Kang Min-ho also swung the bat with three hits and one RBI, while Kim Tae-gun had two hits, including a triple. The three catchers combined for seven hits and three RBIs. The catchers accounted for half of the 14 hits and six runs scored by the Samsung bats on the day. Thanks to the catchers, Samsung won 7-5 and snapped a five-game losing streak.
‘Catcher’s Kingdom’ Samsung has been utilising the ‘three-catcher system’ since last year to solve the problem of safety. This year, 안전놀이터 the team is maximising its effectiveness by using it aggressively in the batting order. Samsung will continue to use this system for the time being until Oh Jae-il, who was sent down to the second team, regains his batting form and returns.