The outline of the Korean team’s batting line for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) has been revealed.
The WBC Korean national team, led by coach Lee Kang-cheol, departed for Japan on the 4th and started preparing for the first round of the tournament in earnest. On the 6th and 7th, the national team meets the Orix Buffaloes and the Hanshin Tigers of the Nippon Professional Baseball, respectively, to play an evaluation match, before going to Australia on the 9th.
The national team’s best 9 and batting line were virtually confirmed. In an interview before departure, Lee said, “The batting order is almost set, but depending on the type of starting pitcher, one or two can change.” Like a game), you can think of it that way,” he explained. According to coach Lee’s explanation, Lee Jung-hoo, Kim Hyun-soo, and Park Byeong-ho will be in charge of the national team’s cleanup trio, just like the SSG Landers practice match held at Gocheok Sky Dome on the 3rd. Coach Lee laughed, saying, “I almost told you in an instant,” when asked by the reporters who batted number 6 on the 2nd, but Kang Baek-ho is likely to come out, just like in the practice game.
However, even in the lower batting order, there are players who are as good at batting as the upper batting line. In the game on the 3rd, Yang Eui-ji, the catcher, was in charge of the 7th hitter, and Park Gun-woo, who did not play due to poor condition, took the 9th and designated hitter instead of Choi Jeong. If there is no major change, there is a high possibility that the batting order of the two players will be the same.
Yang Eui-ji is one of the best hitters in the KBO League. He has a combined OPS of on-base percentage (0.411) and slugging percentage (0.566) of 0.977 over the past five years despite playing as a catcher with heavy defensive pressure. Among the players who played all five seasons, he is the overwhelming first, followed by Choi Jeong (0.926). Choi Jeong also recorded 158 home runs (1st place) during this period, and is a ‘legend’ who is chasing Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop’s all-time record (467 home runs) with a total of 429 home runs.
However, both of them did not play a big role in the national team. Yang Eui-ji has only one home run with a batting average of 0.169 in the national team’s career, and Choi Jeong also has a batting average of 0.258 and has not hit a single home run. If you look at the regular season performance alone, it is equal to or better than Park Byung-ho and Kim Hyun-soo, but it was difficult for the national team to produce results. In the case of Yang Eui-ji, who is in charge of catcher, the burden of leading the pitcher may be heavy because he has to meet new opponents every tournament. 메이저놀이터
He still believes in his ability and can be placed in the top batting line. However, coach Lee Kang-cheol chose a path that avoids unnecessary burden on the players. Director Lee already said at a press conference last January, “Yang Eui-ji’s performance in international competitions is not good, but (other factors) are being checked. Yang Eui-ji is thinking about appointing a young pitcher with an emphasis on leading and giving him a comfortable at-bat. If he wants a comfortable at-bat, I’ll give it to him.” Coach Lee’s ‘consideration’ was also revealed in the practice game. Choi Jeong’s physical condition is a variable, but he is recovering smoothly, such as digesting the 5-day training normally. Coach Lee’s batting order strategy is expected to continue in this tournament as well.
Director Lee Kang-cheol’s consideration is more like a strategy. Coach Lee helps veterans produce their best results by making them play in a comfortable environment. Park Byeong-ho, who had been sluggish for two years, was also considerate in the background of his revival as the home run king. Coach Lee eased the burden on Park Byung-ho by saying, “It’s okay to strike out,” and Park rewarded him with the Home Run King (35 home runs) award. If coach Lee’s consideration works for Yang Eui-ji and Choi Jeong, the national team can transform into a ‘complete’ batting line with no place to rest.