Ten years after his professional debut, he returns to his hometown team. It’s comforting to have someone like an uncle or big brother.
Former manager Kim Eung-yong “Elephant” Kim spent 24 years in the professional ranks, but he never had much luck with “big lefties”.
Kang Young-sik is a player he literally ‘took in’ and raised. He put him up at his house and raised him like his own child. He drafted him as a second-round 꽁머니 rookie in 2000 when he was with Haetae, and even after he moved to the Samsung Lions, he traded for him and used him to good effect.
Shim Jae-min has also made a name for himself in the baseball world as a player who received special attention from Kim since his Little League days. As a 13-year-old with the Gimhae Angels, he was a highly touted prospect who could throw a fastball over 130 kilometers per hour, and was directly backed by then Samsung Lions president Kim Eung-yong. Kim’s alma mater, Kaesong High School in Busan, is also where Shim went to school. He went on to excel at the 2012 World Youth Baseball Championship, where he showed off his exceptional left-handed skills.
However, he never lived up to the hype in the pros. After joining the KT Wiz, he underwent elbow surgery and was only seen occasionally in the bullpen. He performed well in long relief in the second half of 2021, helping the team reach the Korean Series, but he never pitched in the Korean Series.
When Shim came to Lotte, he was assigned to coach Kang Young-sik. He and Kim Jin-wook are both left-handers, so they are virtually exclusively marked by Kang. “We’ve known each other since we played little league baseball. We’re Kim Eung-yong’s sons,” Kang laughed.
“Jae-min Shim is a player that Coach Kim used to take care of like a real son or grandson. He even flew him to Daegu to watch him practice, which is special to me.”
On May 19, Shim donned a Lotte uniform in a trade for infielder Lee Ho-yeon. He received a warm welcome from his family and friends.
There is no position he hasn’t played at KT, from starter to closer. He has a lot of versatility for Lotte, which was suffering from a lefty famine.
However, it took him a while to get back into the first team. He wasn’t in great shape and was told to lose the extra weight. With the expectations of Busan baseball fans and Lee Ho-yeon’s stellar performance shortly after the trade, Shim had a meeting with his “baseball uncle,” Coach Kang.
“He was a really good pitcher in the amateur ranks, but he wasn’t very impressive in the pros, so it’s been 10 years, and I think he had a lot of feelings of failure, and that’s what I do: I ask him what he thinks about why he didn’t do well in the pros, and I motivate him.”
In school, Shim was a fastball pitcher, but in the pros, his fastball averaged less than 140 kilometers per hour. When he met Coach Kang, his first words were “I want to increase my 토토체험머니 velocity”. Coach Kang asked him, “What have you been doing for that?” He replied, “Good. I’ll help you. Let’s work together.”
On the 21st of this month, Shim Jae-min, who was registered in the first team a month after the trade, has recorded three consecutive shutouts and two holds. It’s not entirely satisfactory, but it’s something to look forward to, especially after he pitched a solid fifth inning in relief of starter Jung Sung-jong on Sunday.
“He threw a 145-kilometer fastball from his first appearance. He’ll be an essential pitcher for Lotte in the future. He’ll get better and better, so please look forward to it.”