For the KIA Tigers, who are in the midst of a battle for the top five, the season absence of Choi Hyung-woo (40) and Na Seong-beom (34) was fatal.스포츠토토
The biggest reason is consistent performance without ups and downs. This season, Choi Hyung-woo was showing ageless performance with a batting average of 0.299, 17 home runs, 81 RBI, and OPS of 0.884 in 120 games, while Na Seong-beom, who started playing in late June, had a batting average of 0.365, 18 home runs, 57 RBI, and OPS of 1.098 in 58 games. He was recording MVP-level results.
Another thing was that Choi Hyung-woo and Na Seong-beom were the most reliable hitters in clutch situations, with scoring averages of 0.317 and 0.349, respectively. In the final hits category, Choi Hyung-woo tied for first place in the league with 14, and Na Seong-beom tied for 28th with 6, ranking first and second in the team. In this way, the two people who served as KIA’s problem solvers disappeared within a few days. Na Seong-beom suffered damage to his right hamstring while running the bases in the game against the Gwangju LG Twins on the 19th, and as a result of a detailed examination, he was diagnosed with 10 to 12 weeks of rehabilitation, ending the 2023 season. To make matters worse, Choi Hyung-woo suffered a comminuted fracture of his left clavicle and an acromioclavicular joint injury while running base in the game against KT Wiz in Gwangju on the 24th. He underwent clavicle fixation surgery on the 26th and is expected to take about four months for rehabilitation, so next season has been postponed.
Socrates Brito (31), who remained alone among the cleanup trio, was slightly disappointed. Until the game on the 28th, his performance in 126 games was 0.281, 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 79 runs, on-base percentage 0.345, slugging percentage 0.457, and OPS 0.802, so his performance was definitely not bad, but in scoring range, his batting average was 0.281, which was worse than Park Chan-ho (0.362) and Kim Sun-bin (0.330). Even though he was a foreign hitter, he was the reason why he had no choice but to become the number 5 hitter behind Na Seong-beom and Choi Hyeong-woo. Even listed in order of OPS, Socrates was next to Austin Dean (LG), Guillermo Heredia (SSG), and Jason Martin (NC) among foreign hitters.
The outstanding outfield resources were also a reason to consider renewing Socrates’ contract. This year, KIA was selected as the team with the thickest outfield due to the presence of backups who are as good as the main players. In addition to Choi Hyeong-woo, Na Seong-beom, and Socrates, players who would have been starting pitchers on other teams are taking turns in the outfield, including Go Jong-wook (34), who has a batting average of .300, right-handed pitcher and sniper Lee Chang-jin (32), and Lee Woo-seong (29), who erased Na Seong-beom’s absence in the first half of the season. came out On the other hand, first base for Hwang Dae-in (27) and Byun Woo-hyuk (23), who are still at a loss, was relatively needed, so renewing Socrates’ contract with KIA was something to think about at least once.
Of course, it is a different story if he proves his explosive power matches the expectations placed on foreign hitters. The reason why Socrates succeeded in renewing his contract last year was because of the performance he showed in May. In May of last year, Socrates led KIA’s upward trend by showing hot batting with a batting average of 0.415, 5 home runs, 28 RBI, and an OPS of 1.146.
This year, Socrates was average, hitting below .300 in other months except May (batting average of 0.318), but he is gradually showing signs of becoming a central hitter. On the 28th, against Changwon NC, he went 2 hits and 2 RBIs in 4 at-bats, reporting his first RBI since Na Seong-beom and Choi Hyeong-woo were out. On the 29th, against Gocheok Kiwoom, he went 5-for-4 with 4 hits, 3 RBIs and 3 runs, leading KIA to a 13-5 victory. .
In particular, in the top of the 5th inning, when the two teams were tied 3-3, with 1 out and runners on 1st and 2nd, he kicked a curve heading down the strike zone and hit a timely double with 1 RBI down the right-field line, creating a 4-3 lead. Afterwards, as KIA did not allow the score to be tied, Socrates recorded his 6th game-winning hit of the season in 127 games, putting him on par with Na Seong-beom (58 games) for second place on the team in game-winning shots. In addition, in the bottom of the 5th inning when KIA was ahead 6-3 with 2 outs and bases loaded, he dramatically caught Ye Jin-won’s batted ball to end the inning, showing a brilliant performance in defense. In the 6th inning, with one out and bases loaded, he brought in two runners with a strongly bounced ball, showing off his presence as a clutch hitter.
Having a problem solver in front and back like this is a great help to the team’s batting lineup. Kim Sun-bin, who cleaned up together, created a chance as the third hitter with 2 hits and 2 runs in 4 at-bats, and No. 6 Ko Jong-wook hit a 3-run home run with a confident swing. Lee Woo-sung and Lee Chang-jin, who will play as outfield starters for the remainder of the season along with Socrates, also recorded multiple hits and RBIs, respectively, expressing hopes of advancing to the top five.
Currently, KIA is in 6th place with 64 wins, 2 draws, and 63 losses, 0.5 games behind SSG in 5th place, and is aiming for the last round of fall baseball. It is not easy with 15 games left, but it is a situation where they can also aim for a wild card home advantage with a 3.5 game gap over 4th place Doosan. Fans are paying attention to whether Socrates, who is left alone in the clean-up trio, will be able to kill two birds with one stone: the team’s fall baseball season and a contract renewal.
The KIA Tigers outfielders, who were put to a true test, got off to a good start.
Recently, bad news came to KIA in a short period of time to the point where it felt like the sky was too high. The first was the news that ‘15 billion free agent’ Na Seong-beom (34) was out for the season. This season, Na Seong-beom was unable to play until the end of June due to a calf injury, but in less than three months, he showed off his MVP-level presence with a batting average of 0.365, 18 home runs, 57 RBI, and 1.098 OPS in 58 games. However, in the game against the Gwangju LG Twins on the 19th,
starting center fielder Choi Won-jun (26) left the team after being selected for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games national team as scheduled, and to make matters worse, Choi Hyeong-woo (40) left the line due to an unexpected injury. Choi Hyung-woo, who recorded a batting average of 0.299, 17 home runs, 81 RBI, and 0.884 OPS in 120 games, was another indispensable central hitter for KIA. However, in the game against Gwangju KT Wiz on the 24th, he tripped on Park Byeong-ho’s foot while running first base and fell, and was diagnosed with a comminuted fracture of his left clavicle and damage to his acromioclavicular joint. He underwent clavicle fixation surgery on the 26th and is expected to take about four months for rehabilitation, so next season has been postponed.
The combined number of home runs by Na Seong-beom and Choi Hyeong-woo is 35. The departure of the two players who were at the center of the batting lineup was a fatal blow for 6th place KIA, which is in a fierce competition for the semifinals with less than 4 games behind the 4th place Doosan Bears and 5th place SSG Landers.
But for some, it is also an opportunity.
Due to a series of injuries to key players, the game against Gwangju NC Dinos on the 26th was canceled.