For a moment, it was like watching King Ha-Sung Kim (28-San Diego), who has been putting on one of the best defensive shows in the majors lately. Now he’s also the stolen base king. That would be Shin Min-jae (27), who has gone from being a perennial backup to the starting second baseman for the No. 1 team.
The LG Twins rallied from behind to win an 8-7 come-from-behind victory in their 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League home game against the KT Wiz at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul the previous day (June 6). With the win, LG improved to 48 wins, two ties, and 28 losses to take sole possession of first place in the league. They also extended their lead over second-place SSG Landers to 2.5 games.
Ahead of the game, LG removed all-weather infielder Kim Min-seong from the first team roster. This was due to a left thigh muscle injury. Kim Min-sung has been playing mostly second base this season. However, he also played shortstop for Oh Ji-hwan, third base for Moon Bo-kyung, and backup for Austin at first base. He was literally an all-around performer.
Kim Min-sung is missing. Before the game, LG manager Yoon Kyung-yeop said, “Kim Min-sung will be out for more than a month due to a left thigh muscle injury. He’s old, and he’s played a lot this season. I wouldn’t have expected him to play this much myself (laughs). He’s done a great job so far. Son Ho-young and Jeong Joo-hyun will fulfill Kim Min-sung’s role.” And it was Shin Min-jae who took charge of Kim Min-sung’s second base.
Shin Min-jae will continue to be the main second baseman while Kim is out. On this day, Shin Min-jae started at second base and batted ninth, contributing to the team’s victory with his offense.
The highlight was the defense. In the top of the sixth inning, LG led 4-2. With runners on first and second, Kang Hyun-woo’s ball rolled toward second base. The runner at third had a relatively easy time getting home, but Shin Min-jae threw the ball to third without delay. Park Byung-ho, the runner at second, was tagged out by Moon Bo-kyung, who caught the ball. Instead of throwing to first base, Shin Min-jae chose to make a bold throw to third base. Online, LG fans said they got “goosebumps” watching the play. It was like watching Kim Hae-sung, who is currently playing in the United States, play fantastic defense. In recent years, Kim has often made bold throws to third base while playing shortstop or second base to pick off runners.
Shin Min-jae was also flying on offense. In the fifth inning, he singled up the middle to put runners on second and third after Park Hae-min’s sacrifice bunt. After stealing second, he moved to third on Hong Chang-ki’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Moon Sung-joo’s single to left.
In the sixth inning, he hit an infield single to the third baseman with two outs. Hwang Jae-gyun’s throw was caught, but Shin Min-jae’s feet were too quick. Hwang Jae-gyun gave up a throw to first base. He stole third on another Hong Chang-ki single and came home on Moon Sung-joo’s single. The eighth inning set the stage for the final run. With the bases loaded, Park laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Hae-min to third base, where she came home on Hong Chang-ki’s double to right-center field to win the game. Shin Min-jae’s day
After graduating from Incheon High School, Shin was drafted by the Doosan Bears as a developmental player in 2015. He then moved to LG through the KBO Secondary Draft in November 2017, and after completing his military service, he officially signed with the LG Twins in 2019. He appeared in 81 games (81 plate appearances) in the 2019 season, but only 14 were starts. Because of his power, he was mostly used as a pinch-hitter in big games.안전놀이터
After batting .308 (26-for-8) in 68 games in 2020, Shin appeared in 32 games in 2021 and 14 games in 2022. This season, however, Shin Min-jae has played in 63 games under Yoon Kyung-yeop’s trust in using specialists at the right time. He is batting .341 (85-for-29) with five home runs and 24 RBIs. Most importantly, she leads the KBO in stolen bases with 21. He is only two stolen bases behind second-place Kim Hye-sung (Kiwoom, 19). At his current pace, he could easily win his first stolen base title.
Coach Yeom said of Shin Min-jae, “He is the most athletic player on our team. He doesn’t have a lot of kills. He makes good contact and has the ability to bunt well. His defense has also improved a lot through training. He has a lot of value in one- or two-run games.” LG infield core Oh Ji-hwan also commented on Shin Min-jae’s defense after the sixth game, saying, “There is definitely a bold side. There is no hesitation. Of course, defense requires a lot of experience,” he said, adding, “I think that play came out because he was thinking about it in advance. It was amazing. I told him that it was really cool at that moment,” and gave him a thumbs-up.
LG will now travel to Busan for a three-game weekend series against the Lotte Giants. LG fans are looking forward to seeing what Shin Min-jae can do next.