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Keun-woo Jeong

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Keun-woo Jeong (정근우)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 8", Weight 165 lb.

Keun-woo Jeong is an infielder for the SK Wyverns who won a Gold Medal for South Korea in the 2008 Olympics.

Jeong played for South Korea in the 2002 Intercontinental Cup, hitting .294/.478/.294 with 5 games at 2B and 5 at DH. He led off for South Korea and played DH in the Gold Medal game, going 1 for 4 in a 2-1 loss to the Cuban national team. In the 2003 Baseball World Cup, Jeong hit .308/.341/.590 with 9 runs and 10 RBI in nine games, once again manning the odd combination of positions as a 2B/DH. He led South Korea in RBI and was second in runs.

Out of college, Jeong was a second-round draft pick by the SK Wyverns in 2005. He hit .193/~.260/.216 in 88 AB over 52 games for SK that year. In 2006, he improved to a .284/~.345/.402 batting line and won a Gold Glove at second base, which in Korea is awarded to the best overall player at each position, not just the best defender. He stole 45 bases in 55 tries, six steals behind KBO leader Jong-wook Lee. The next season, Jeong batted .323/~.395/.484 and swiped 24 in 34 attempts. He was 4th in the KBO in average behind Hyun-gon Lee, Joon-hyuk Yang and Dae-ho Lee. In the 6th and final game of the 2007 Korean Series, he hit a 2-run homer off of Tae-hoon Lim and won the game MVP award in a 5-2 victory that gave the Wyverns their first Korean Series title. Jeong failed to win the Gold Glove that year as Young-min Ko was chosen at second.

As South Korea's DH in the 2007 Asian Championship, Jeong went 2 for 8 with a walk, steal and 2 triples.

Jeong was still selected for South Korea's team in the 2008 Olympics. In Beijing, he hit .310/.310/.448 as a utility infielder, playing 3 games at 2B, 3 at 3B and 1 at SS. He hit a solo homer for the only run in Korea's 1-0 win over Team Canada, taking Mike Johnson deep. South Korea claimed Gold in the competition. During the 2008 KBO, Jeong hit .314/.373/.420 with 40 steals in 60 tries to finish 9th in average and third in steals behind Dae-hyung Lee and Jong-wook Lee.

In the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Jeong hit .292/.346/.417 with 7 runs in 9 games, serving as the main second baseman and #2 hitter for the runner-up team. He hit a 2-run homer off Po-Yu Lin in their game one rout of Taiwan. He had several key hits during the Classic, but came up empty in his most important at-bat - with two outs in the bottom of the 10th in the finale, he faced Yu Darvish with one on and a 5-3 deficit and struck out. He tied Ichiro Suzuki and Akinori Iwamura for 5th in the Classic in runs.

Jeong hit .350/.437/.483 in the 2009 KBO with 53 steals in 66 tries, 78 walks and 98 runs. He was 5th in the league in average, 4th in OBP, 2nd in steals (behind Dae-hyung Lee), 6th in walks, tied for first in runs with Hee-seop Choi) and tied for 9th with 29 doubles. He helped SK make it to the 2009 Korean Series, where they fell. He won the KBO Gold Glove at second base, his first Gold Glove.

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