It is difficult to say that the competitiveness of the KIA home room preparing for the 2023 season is good in the league. The reason Park Dong-won was recruited through a difficult trade a year ago is because it is a position that is difficult to nurture. It is even more difficult to develop a catcher with karate. Even if the average is a bit off, hitting 22 homers (2021 season) at the pitcher-friendly Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul should be highly regarded. He is also excellent at stealing, blocking, and defense.
KIA watched Park Dong-won sign a contract with LG for 4 years and 6.5 billion won in the 2022-2023 FA market. Instead, it was decided to organize the home room for the first team this season with Han Seung-taek, who has been serving as a backup in the first team for a long time, and Joo Hyo-sang, a promising player recruited in a trade from Kiwoom.
Coach Kim Jong-guk laughed ahead of the exhibition game against LG in Gwangju on the 21st and said, “How well our catchers are defending. They don’t give points.” “For catchers, I always emphasize ball combinations and defense. Hit is second. It only requires operation. Defense rather than hitting.”
Realistically, it is difficult to come out with a 20 home run hitter in the home room of KIA this year. It is difficult to suddenly expect an average in the late 20% range from Han Seung-taek, who has a career batting average of 0.213, 19 homers and 113 RBIs. Joo Hyo-sang is expected to have good clutch skills, but he has not shown anything clearly in the first team. He is still a player that definitely doesn’t count.
Still, in the case of Han Seung-taek, his defense is evaluated as good. Based on the baseball statistics site Statties, the stolen base rate in the 2022 season was 34.6%, ranking 5th in the league. PASS/9 was 0.362, which was 4th, even higher than Park Dong-won’s 0.364.
In the case of the game against LG in Gwangju on the 20th, Han Seung-taek allowed two stolen bases during the 7 innings he kept at home. However, one time he handled a stolen base, and prevented more LG first base runners from attempting to steal second base. On the other hand, on the 21st, when Joo Hyo-sang guarded the home, Gwangju LG Electronics gave away as many as five stolen bases. However, stealing is not 100% the responsibility of the catcher. In particular, Joo Hyo-sang needs time to match his breath with KIA pitchers through actual matches.
Manager Kim said, “Seung-taek has been staying in the first team. The defense is a stable player. That’s what helps the team. Hyo-sang’s first-team experience this year will be of great help.” Shin Beom-soo and Kim Seon-woo are also preparing for their shaking. Shin Beom-soo continues to participate in demonstration games. 안전놀이터
It is of great help to the team if the catcher bundles the runners as much as possible, focuses on blocking, draws up a pitching plan for the pitchers with the help of the power analysis team and the battery coach, and keeps the ball well matched accordingly. It is a difficult part to quantify objectively, but it is the most important part for the team to run stably.
Nevertheless, there is no law that the KIA will not try to trade again if there is a fierce competition for rankings and Han Seung-taek and Joo Hyo-sang do not grow. However, KIA decided to fully support Han Seung-taek and Joo Hyo-sang. From the Tucson spring camp, he ran through night training without hesitation. It is also necessary to wait until the two of them see the fruits of their sweat.