SPORTS

Slugging outfielder tops KBO All-Star voting

By Alex Park
  • Published : Jul 3, 2017 - 13:18
  • Updated : Jul 3, 2017 - 13:18

The starting lineups for the All-Star Game in South Korean baseball were announced Monday, with a slugging outfielder from the Kia Tigers finishing as the top vote-getter.

The Korea Baseball Organization unveiled the list of 12-man rosters for the Dream and Nanum All-Stars.

The 10 clubs were divided into two sides: the Doosan Bears, the Samsung Lions, the SK Wyverns, the Lotte Giants and the KT Wiz for the Dream, and the NC Dinos, the Nexen Heroes, the Hanwha Eagles, the Kia Tigers and the LG Twins for Nanum.

The players were selected based on votes cast by fans and fellow players, and the totals were converted into points.

The Tigers outfielder Choi Hyoung-woo led all players with 54.95 points. He received more than 1.18 million votes in fan voting to lead the 120 candidates for the All-Star Game.

Choi, who is the first player in the KBO to ink a 10 billion-won (US$8.73 million) deal, is batting .366 with 18 home runs and 69 RBIs in 77 games this season to help the Tigers sitting on the top of the league. He's currently the leader in RBIs, second in batting average and fourth in home runs.

In this file photo taken on June 30, 2017, Kia Tigers' Choi Hyoung-woo hits a single in a KBO League game against the LG Twins at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)
The players from the Tigers won eight of the 12 positions available for the Nanum All-Stars. With Choi and Roger Bernadina taking the outfielder positions, An Chi-hong will play at second base, accompanied by Lee Bum-ho at third base, Kim Sun-bin at shortstop and Kim Min-sik behind the plate. Yang Hyeon-jong will be the starting pitcher, and Kim Yun-dong was voted on as the middle reliever.

Other Nanum All-Stars are Kim Tae-kyun of the Eagles as the designated hitter, Lim Chang-min of the Dinos as the closer and Wilin Rosario of the Eagles as the first baseman. Lee Jung-hoo of the Heroes will play in the outfield, and he is set to become the youngest player to perform at the All-Star Game at the age of 18 years, 10 months and seven days, surpassing the record held by An Chi-hong, who made his All-Star Game debut in 2009 at 19 years and 23 days.

For the Dream team, the two-time defending champions Bears dominated the All-Star voting. Dustin Nippert will start the game and will be throwing to his regular batterymate Yang Eui-ji. Lee Hyun-seung was selected as the middle reliever, with Choi Joo-hwan at second base and Kim Jae-ho at shortstop. Min Byung-hun took one of the three outfielder positions, and will play alongside Koo Ja-wook of the Lions and Son Ah-seop of the Giants.

Lee Dae-ho of the Giants will serve as the first baseman for the Dream All-Stars. The former Seattle Mariners man topped the players' voting after winning 205 votes from 294 players.

Veteran slugger Lee Seung-yuop of the Lions was voted as the designated hitter and will make his 11th All-Star Game appearance. He will also be the oldest player to feature at the All-Star Games at the age of 40 years, 10 months and 27 days, breaking the record of former Twins pitcher Kim Yong-soo who played at the 2000 All-Star Games at the age of 40 years, two months and 21 days.

In this file photo taken on May 21, 2017, Samsung Lions' Lee Seung-yuop runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Hanwha Eagles in a KBO League game at Eagles Park in Daejeon. (Yonhap)

Choi Jeong of the Wyverns will play at second base, while the Wiz right-hander Kim Jae-yoon will serve as the closer for the Dream All-Stars.

There are seven first-time All-Stars this year. The managers for each team, Doosan's Kim Tae-hyung for the Dream and NC's Kim Kyung-moon for the Nanum, will select an additional 12 players each Wednesday.

This year's All-Star Game will take place at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu on July 15. (Yonhap)