It’s been a brutal week for KIA first baseman Hwang Dae-in, 27.
Hwang was designated for assignment on Sept. 29. On that day, KIA removed five players from the first team at once, including pitchers Sean Anderson, Jung Hae-young, Kim Dae-yu, and infielder Yoon Do-hyun.
Hwang Dae-in’s first first-team exclusion of the season. It is the first time under Kim Jong-kook, who took over as manager last year, that Hwang has been sent to the second team for poor performance, although he was on the injured list for 10 days after suffering a slight right thigh muscle strain in a collision with a runner in a game against Gwangju Kiwoom on Sept. 14 last year.
Hwang Dae-in, a former Gyeonggi State University standout who was selected by KIA with the second overall pick in the 2015 second round, has been in the first team since 2020 and made the leap to full-time first base last year. Head coach Kim Jong-kook gave him a full push at the top of the order, and it paid off, as he batted .259 (122-for-476) with 14 home runs, 91 RBIs and a .716 OPS in 129 games. He lacked consistency, but his 91 RBIs made up for it in center field.
This year, he was used primarily in the fourth or fifth spot in the batting order, but didn’t quite live up to expectations. In 36 games, he batted just 2-for-25 (118 at-bats) with three home runs, 18 RBI, and a .583 OPS. His struggles deepened in May, when he went 2-for-15 (9-for-45) with one home run, five RBIs and a .501 OPS. He struck out a whopping 16 times while drawing two walks.
Psychologically, it was clear that he was being chased. In his second at-bat of the fourth inning against the Hanwha in Daejeon on April 23, he complained about the call after Ricardo Sanchez struck out on a ball deep in his body. Hwang Dae-in, who had left his bat down in the batter’s box and went into the dugout, ignored three requests from umpire Lee Young-jae to “take the bat” and was eventually ordered to leave the game.
The next day, coach Kim Jong-kook said, “The player thought it was a ball, but the umpire called it a strike. In the game, players are always sensitive to each ball. Dae-in did it to protest,” he said, adding, “I think he was frustrated because he wanted to hit well, but it didn’t work out. Not only Dae-in, but all players feel the same way. Baseball is a mental sport, and if you say something there, it will make the player shrink even more,” Hwang Dae-in said.
However, there was no rebound afterward. Hwang Dae-in, who missed the game against Hanwha on the 24th, came up as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning against Hanwha on the 25th, trailing 3-4, but struck out swinging on a forked ball by Park Sang-won. After missing the Gwangju LG game on the 26th, he returned to the lineup on the 27th and 28th, but went 0-for-4 for the second straight day. Eventually, he was sent to the second team and will go through an adjustment period for a while. It was a good decision by manager Kim Jong-kook, who has believed in and supported Hwang Dae-in all this time.메이저사이트
With center fielder Na Sung-bum out since the start of the season with a calf muscle injury, Hwang Dae-in’s slump and the void in the lineup are sure to be felt. Transfer Byun Woo-hyuk has hit four nutritious home runs in 32 games, but his overall batting production is lackluster with a 1-for-8, 17 RBI (91 at-bats) and .583 OPS. It would be nice to see Byun Woo-hyuk develop with more opportunities, but if he doesn’t, Hwang Dae-in will eventually have to do it.