SSG Hires Four New Coaches, Including Suzuki, Ryu Taek-hyun, and More

SSG Landers has bolstered its first and second team coaching staff with four new coaches for the 2024 season.

SSG announced today the hiring of Fumihiro Suzuki, former KT Wiz battery coach, Jong-hoon Kim, former Samsung Lions hitting coach, Taek-hyun Ryu, former KIA Tigers pitching coach, and Masato Watanabe, former Ishikawa Million Stars (Japan Independent) manager.

SSG believes that Coach Suzuki, who has many years of experience as a first-team battery coach in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), is the right person to run the first-team catching staff as well as lead the rapid development of Cho Hyung-woo, Park Dae-on, and Shin Beom-soo, who were acquired in the second round of the draft.

We also have Kim Jong-hoon, who has extensive experience as a hitting coach, and Ryu Taek-hyun, who specializes in developing pitching prospects. Coach Masato, who served as a professional infield coach during his time with the Chiba Lotte Marines, will also join the team.

Coach Suzuki will serve as the first team battery coach this year. Yoon Yoseop, the first-team battery coach, will become the second-team battery coach, and Jung Jin-sik, the second-team battery coach, will become the general manager of the residual team. Kim Jong-hoon will be the assistant hitting coach for the first team, while Ryu Taek-hyun will be the main pitching coach for the second team. Kim Dong-ho has moved to the role of biomechanics and driveline coach for the second team. Masato will serve as the second team defense coach.

Suzuki played catcher for the Junichi Dragons and Oryx Buffaloes from 1998 to 2012. He also represented Japan at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. After retiring, he served as a battery coach and development coach for 11 years with the Oryx and KT from 2013 to 2023.

Coach Kim Jong-hoon joined the Lotte Giants in 1994 and later played for Samsung until 2007. He coached players at Samsung for 13 years from 2010 to 2022 as a first- and second-team hitting coach.

Coach Ryu joined the OB Bears (now the Doosan Bears) in 1994 and moved to the LG Twins in 1999, where he played as a left-handed bullpen pitcher until 2014. After retiring, he pursued a coaching career as a pitching coach with LG, KT, KIA, and Jemul Pogo for nine years from 2015 to 2023.

Coach Masato played for Chiba Lotte from 1998 to 2012, and after retiring, he served as head coach and manager of the Japan Independent Baseball Organization from 2014 to 2018. From 2019 to 2023, he was in charge of power analysis at Orix.

After the end of last season, SSG decided to reorganize the team. First, they terminated the contract of head coach Kim Won-hyung. They also decided to replace the controversial manager Kim Sung-yong, who was selected by the Hanwha Eagles in the second round of the draft.

The team then notified first-team pitching coach Chae Byung-yong, defense coach Son Ji-hwan, training coach Kwak Hyun-hee, and second-team pitching coach Park Joo-en and conditioning coach Ryu Jae-jun that they would not be re-signed. Existing coaches Kim Min-jae and Jeong Sang-ho moved to Lotte, Cho Woong-chun to Doosan, Chung Kyung-bae to Hanwha, and Lee Jin-young to Samsung. Coach Park Jung-kwon also became a commentator.

SSG named Son Si-heon as head coach of Futures (former NC Dinos) in early November last year. In mid-November, the organization officially announced the appointment of Lee Sung-yong as head coach.

At the end of November, the team confirmed the appointment of Song Shin-young, Kang Byung-sik (former coach of the Kiwoom Heroes), Bae Young-soo (former coach of Lotte), and Yoon Yoseop (former coach of LG) to the first team coaching staff. Head coach Song Shin-young, bench coach Cho Won-woo, pitching coach Bae Young-soo, bullpen coach Lee Seung-ho, hitting coach Kang Byung-sik, defense coach Lee Dae-soo, outfield coaches Cho Dong-hwa (third base) and Lim Jae-hyun (first base), and battery coach Yoon Yo-seop will be in charge of their respective areas for the 2024 season.

In the middle of last month, the team welcomed Kim Jae-hyun, a former LG power enhancement coordinator, as its new head coach. This was followed by further reinforcement of the coaching staff.

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