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Late-blooming outfielder nabs 1st top monthly award in KBO

13:56 August 08, 2022

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Aug. 8 (Yonhap) -- Kia Tigers outfielder Lee Chang-jin, enjoying the best season of his nine-year career at age 31, was named South Korean baseball's best player for July on Monday.

This is Lee's first Player of the Month award in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). The league said Lee earned 165,021 votes from fans to lead five other candidates, while collecting 11 out of 32 votes from the media to rank second. Overall, Lee scored 38.44 in converted voting points to beat SSG Landers ace Wilmer Font (24.98 points).

In this file photo from July 31, 2022, Lee Chang-jin of the Kia Tigers hits an RBI single against the SSG Landers during the bottom of the seventh inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju, 270 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

For July, Lee led the KBO with a .476 batting average and a .492 on-base percentage, while finishing second with 30 hits.

In 16 games last month, Lee recorded at least two hits in 11 games, including eight straight from July 23 to 31. The Tigers led the KBO with a .298 team batting average.

Lee made his KBO debut with the Lotte Giants in 2014 but was traded to the KT Wiz before the 2015 season. Another trade sent him to the Tigers in 2018, and he finally started getting regular playing time in 2019.

This year, Lee is batting a career-best .322/.386/.454 through 71 games. He has already matched his personal best with six home runs and sits 10 shy of a career high with 38 RBIs.

In this file photo from July 29, 2022, Lee Chang-jin of the Kia Tigers celebrates his RBI double against the SSG Landers during the bottom of the second inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju, 270 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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