“I had to come to the Korean Series (KS) to play baseball that I wanted to play.”
The process was as ideal as the result. At KS, the lineup exploded with a team batting average of 0.331 and a team OPS (on-base plus slugging) of 0.931, ending the 29th year. As it was a five-game series, the lineup had eight home runs, albeit a small sample. The strongest lineup in the regular season was LG, which was fiercer at its highest stage.
Coach Yeom Kyung-yeop also smiled. “I originally wanted to score points through active base play at large Jamsil Stadium, and I wanted to score points through home runs and long balls at small away stadiums. I had to come to KS to play baseball that I wanted to play,” manager Yeom Kyung-yeop said, expressing satisfaction with the home run that he lacked during the regular season, which was the most important game.
Except for homers, the team was a batting lineup that lacked everything during the regular season. The team was ranked first in batting average (0.279), the team’s on-base percentage (0.361) and the team’s slugging percentage (0.394). The team also posted 166 stolen bases, a success rate that was as low as 61.9 percent, but it ranked first as intended. However, the number of homers fell from 118 in the 2022 season to 93 in the 2023 season. The number of homers was one more than the league average of 92.
While preparing for the 2024 season, I looked into this area. After the New Year’s Day ceremony on the 5th, Yeom said, “What is important for us now is development before development. If existing players develop, I think junior players will see senior players and naturally develop their skills.”
Key players are expected to develop. “We will let Oh challenge him to hit 0.300 with 20 home runs,” Yeom said, referring to the names of Kim, Oh, Park Dong-won, and Park Hae-min. “Kim will also aim for a batting average of 0.320 with 90 RBIs, and it is my job to make Park Dong-won hit more than 0.280 with 30 home runs and Park Hae-min hit more than 0.300.”
The gap between homers in the 2022 and 2023 seasons was determined by Kim and Oh. In the 2022 season, Oh Ji-hwan had 25 home runs and Kim Hyun-soo had 23 home runs, drawing 48 arches. However, in the 2023 season, Oh Ji-hwan had eight home runs and Kim Hyun-soo had six home runs, making just 14 of the two. The disappearance of 34 home runs entirely led to the decline in the team’s home runs.
There is no cause-free result. Both of them were injured last year. Oh Ji-hwan missed about 15 days in April due to a torn lateral muscle. He endured bad conditions and entered the game, but his batting balance was slightly shaken as a result.
Kim Hyun-soo has also been suffering from back pain since May. “After my back hurt, I didn’t feel like I was hitting hard. Now I can feel that I am hitting hard.” Oh Ji-hwan also hit four home runs in September, and hit three home runs at the KS.
If Kim Hyun-soo and Oh Ji-hwan rebound as manager Yeom wishes, they will easily surpass 100 home runs again. Along with Austin Dean and Park Dong-won, the number of hitters with 20 home runs can be four. If Park Dong-won hits more than 30 home runs, he will become a new face in the “Golden Glove” competition, which has been plastered with Yang Eui-ji and Kang Min-ho for 10 years. 마카오토토주소
They do not just rely on home runs. At home, they score points through rifles and tactics, not cannons. That’s why I expected more stolen bases. “I think the success rate of stolen bases will increase further. I will play less than last year, but my chances are higher, so I am thinking about 180 steals or more than 166 steals last year,” Yeom said, heralding various scoring formulas.