The Orix Buffaloes’ “Big Boy” Lee Dae-ho hit his 10th home run of the season on Monday, putting him first in the Pacific League and second in Japan.
What’s surprising is that the 29-year-old is not only smashing balls into the upper deck at a record pace but doing it after only 100 days in Japan.
Lee’s last homer against the Yokohama Baystars on Monday put him one ahead of Wily Pena of the Softbank Hawks, also of the Pacific League, and two behind the Tokyo Swallows’ Wladimir Balentien of the Central League.
Orix’s Lee Dae-ho connects on his 10th home run of the season. (Yonhap News)
And Lee may top the Nippon Professional Baseball chart this summer.
Some analysts believe Lee draws his monstrous power from the summer sun, as he typically performs better the hotter it gets. In 2010, Lee was dubbed the home run king after finishing the season with 44 home runs, 31 of them hit in June, July and August. It was also under the hot sun that Lee set the world record for the longest home run streak at nine games.
However, there is concern about Lee’s left calf after he was hit by a foul ball on Monday.
“Honestly, it (leg) isn’t great. There is swelling,” Lee was quoted as saying by a Japanese sports daily.
Lee expressed his wish to join the lineup on Wednesday if the injury improves, but added that he would watch how it responds to ice treatment.
Despite Lee’s performance, the Buffaloes have struggled so far, placing fifth in the league with a 19-25 record.
In Japan, players hitting more than 30 home runs are considered the top sluggers. With 98 games left, Lee might reach 30 homers if he keeps up the pace.
By Robert Lee (email@example.com)