“The scoring position batting average should increase.”
This is what Park Heung-shik, the head coach of the Lotte Giants, said. Like all sports, baseball cannot be scored and cannot be won. Runners have to go out on the ground often, and you have to bring them back home to win. This is a homework Lotte has to solve this season. 안전놀이터
Last season, Lotte recorded a batting average of 0.259 in scoring position. It is ranked 7th out of 10 KBO league teams. Hanwha Eagles scored the lowest with 0.237, kt Wiz ranked 9th with 0.239, and Kiwoom Heroes ranked 8th with 0.243. KT and Kiwoom recorded a lower scoring average than Lotte, but advanced to the top 5 with solid pitching power. However, Lotte had a different mound situation from them, and they could not step on the postseason stage for 5 consecutive years.
Still, Lotte is betting on hope with the joining of an FA transfer student. In the Stove League, Lotte recruited three free agents: catcher Kang-nam Yoo, shortstop Jin-hyeok Noh, and pitcher Hyun-hee Han. With the joining of Yoo Kang-nam and Roh Jin-hyuk, they are expected to strengthen the positions of catcher and shortstop, which were considered weak points, as well as increase their offensive power.
Kangnam Yoo is more valuable as a catcher than as a batsman. His pitching lead and framing are highlighted, but his hitting is also better than the existing Lotte catchers. He recorded 103 home runs, 0.267 batting average, 0.417 slugging percentage, and 0.747 OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) in 1030 career games. During his time with the LG Twins, he hit double-digit home runs for five consecutive years from 2017 to 2021 even while using the spacious Jamsil Stadium as his home.
Noh Jin-hyeok is also an offensive shortstop. Lotte is particularly looking forward to Noh Jin-hyeok’s long hitting power. He recorded a batting average of 0.266, 71 home runs, and an OPS of 0.761 in 801 games in his career, and his OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.800 or more over the past three years.
It is Lotte who has strengthened the batting line in the Stove League. Coach Park Heung-sik emphasized, “With Yoo Kang-nam and Noh Jin-hyeok joining, we have become a strong team. They and other players also need to increase their batting average in scoring position. In spring camp, we will train with a focus on improving batting average in scoring position.” I wonder if Lotte’s investment and training performance can be demonstrated in 2023.