Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop, is it not easy to defend the starting lineup at KIA rather than overtake?
It could be. Choi Hyeong-woo, a left-handed hitter who is celebrating his 40-year-old season at KIA. He ranks second in the category with 463 career doubles. However, the number 1 is director Lee Seung-yeop’s 464. In other words, Hyung-Woo Choi may surpass Lee in the opening game against SSG on April 1 and become the top player in career doubles alone.
Even Choi Hyeong-woo’s career RBIs were 1461, approaching Lee’s 1498 by 37 points. Considering Hyung-Woo Choi’s class, it should be seen that he reserved overtaking during this season. The important thing is that he has to wait and see if he gets enough chances to overtake.
Choi Hyeong-woo was always a guaranteed hitter. He is a representative left-handed hitter in the KBO League who signed a 4-year, 10 billion won contract in the 2017-2018 free agent market and a 3-year, 4.7 billion won contract in the 2020-2021 free agent market. But he hasn’t been so good the last two years. In 2021, he had a batting average of 0.233 with 12 home runs and 55 RBIs of 0.729 in 104 games in the aftermath of an eye condition. It was a time when the graph collapsed. 안전놀이터
In 2022, there were no other injuries. In 132 games, batting average 0.264, 14 homers, 71 RBIs, OPS 0.787. Productivity has improved from 2021, but there was a gap from the heyday. In a way, it could have been more shocking because it was a season where there was no excuse for health. He even confessed that he himself did not know the cause for a while.
Still, compared to the first half (78 games batting average, 0.227, 7 homers, 35 RBIs), the pace was clearly raised in the second half (54 games batting average, 0.314, 7 homers, 36 RBIs), so there is a point of view that it has prepared an opportunity to jump up a little more this year. Anyway, it is the last season of the 4.7 billion won contract, so we have to reap the beauty of the end.
Coach Kim Jong-guk occasionally removed Choi from the starting lineup when Choi Hyung-woo was not good last season. When Ko Jong-wook entered the lineup, Choi Hyung-woo was left fielder. There was a meaning that the KIA designated hitter slot may no longer be Choi Hyeong-woo’s exclusive property.
This season, basically, the main designated hitter is Choi Hyeong-woo. He deserves priority. However, most teams conduct a designated hitter rotation, and KIA is also a team that needs it. When Choi Won-joon returns in June, the outfield becomes saturated. If the left fielder at the beginning of the season maintains a good pace before and after Choi Won-joon’s return, and if Choi Hyeong-woo fails to increase production, there is a good chance that the Choi Hyeong-woo = designated hitter formula will be shaken.
The presence of Lee Chang-jin, who was the starting pitcher last year, and Kim Seok-hwan, who should be given plenty of chances in the long term, cannot be ignored. For Hyung-Woo Choi, if he repeats the same situation in the first half of last year, his position could be at risk. Conversely, if they explode from the first half, they may easily surpass Lee’s doubles and RBIs and have a chance to get another good contract. Choi Hyeong-woo is facing a very meaningful season at the end of his baseball career.