Mariners Analysis: Told You So! Dae-Ho Is Mighty
The Dae-ho Lee experiment has been a ringing success thus far in Seattle.
Back when Spring Training started, many wondered whether or not the acquisition of Korean slugger Dae-ho Lee would amount to anything. Some thought he wouldn’t even make it out of camp. Before the season started, SoDo Mojo did a round table on which new acquisition we were most excited about. My vote was Dae-ho Lee.
This is more than him sharing my last name. He is an icon in Japan and Korea. He slugged 323 home runs in his 15 professional seasons overseas. It was no secret that the dude could mash. Now we are seeing it in front of our own eyes, with our own Seattle Mariners. In his last three starts, he is 5 for 12 with two home runs and three RBI.
Dae-ho could be the next fan frenzy in Seattle. In some ways, it has already happened. It all started with that pinch-hit, walk-off home run against the Texas Rangers when the Mariners were desperate for a win at home. The best part of that game was listening to the Korean broadcasters losing their minds over that walk-off shot. That could be what kick-started the Mariners to now six straight series wins.
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In 15 appearances and 35 plate appearances so far this season, Lee is hitting .281 with four home runs and six RBI, all of which have come via the 홈런, which is Korean for home run. Also, both home runs he hit in Wednesday’s thrilling victory were against right-handed pitching. Give credit to Scott Servais trusting in his big first baseman instead of doing what most would have done, pinch-hitting Adam Lind in place of Lee late in the game. Lee is actually hitting better for average (.333 in 12 at-bats) against right-handed hitters. He is dropping hints right and left (pun intended) that he deserves to be in the lineup more often. Right now, it might seem like the smart option given that Lee has three more home runs than his platoon buddy Lind, with 42 less plate appearances.
Before the season I said “… he has played at the highest level you can over there (Korea/Japan) and has absolutely mashed. I think all he needs is a chance. He may not play 140 games with 30 home runs here, but what’s wrong with some depth and extra power?”
That is exactly what he has been. Power and depth off the bench and he just may hit his way to more playing time. Lee has provided the Mariners with two of their 16 wins almost by himself (obviously other things had to happen for him to be in that position).
Next: Adrian Sampson continues to Impress in Tacoma
The Mariners front office should be praised for this move so far. General manager Jerry Dipoto and the scouting team of the Mariners get an “A” for finding and bringing Dae-ho Lee to Seattle. I understand it is only early May and a lot could change, but let’s enjoy this while it’s happening. Let Dae-ho-mania begin in the Northwest!