When you think of baseball in Athletics, the Doosan Bears are the first team that comes to mind. In 2007, the Bears were led by Lee Jong-wook (47), Ko Young-min (36), and Min Byung-heon (30), who each recorded more than 30 stolen bases. Doosan continued to play baseball with the likes of Oh Jae-won and Jeong Soo-bin, and developed long-hitting hitters to build the Doosan Dynasty.
However, it was KIA that built the athletics department. In 2013, KIA fielded an “Athletics” lineup consisting of Kim Joo-chan, Lee Yong-kyu, and Kim Sun-bin, all of whom recorded more than 30 stolen bases in a season. Now, in 2023, the team has some of the fastest hitters in the game.
First, there’s Park Chan-ho. Park won the title in 2022 with 42 stolen bases. He followed that up with 39 stolen bases in 2021, showing that he’s more than capable of hitting 40+ if he puts his mind to it. This season, he is currently fourth with 12 steals.
Then there’s Kim Do-young. Despite limited playing time as a backup last season, Kim showed off her quick feet with 13 stolen bases. Kim has been dubbed the “next Lee Jong-beom” since his high school days because of his offense, defense, and running potential. Like Lee Jong-bum in the professional ranks, he has excellent base running skills and the ability to harass opposing infielders.
And then there’s Choi Won-jun, who will be the centerpiece of the KIA Athletics program. Choi joined the Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Sangmu) after the 토토사이트 2021 season and retired from the Sangmu baseball team on April 12. Prior to his enlistment, Choi stole 40 bases in the 2021 season, finishing second in the league behind Kim Hye-sung of Kiwoom. He is also a proven hitter. He can hit and run well, with a .288 career batting average in six seasons (543 games).
With this, KIA has Park Chan-ho and Choi Won-joon, who are capable of 40+ stolen bases, and Kim Do-young, who is capable of 30+ stolen bases. Kim Do-young, who is currently recovering from an injury, should be back in late June at the earliest and early July at the latest.
In July, the KIA Athletics will be complete. Manager Kim Jong-guk, a former stolen base king with 50 stolen bases in a season, said when he took over that he would “showcase aggressive baseball and baseball with mobility.” Running baseball and tactical baseball are his main weapons.
There is a cycle in hitting. But in running baseball, there is no slump. As long as you can get on base, you can always go one more base. It’s time for the KIA Athletics Department to run.
What’s more, the team has recently boasted the most active bats among the 10 clubs. Park Chan-ho, Kim Sun-bin, Choi Hyung-woo, Socrates, and Lee Woo-sung all have monthly batting averages over .300. The combination of running and hitting is the perfect KIA lineup.
KIA needs to get back to their 5 percent winning percentage before the All-Star break and defend their fifth place finish. With the return of Na Sung-bum and Kim Do-young, the time is now ripe for a complete lineup.