I have to come as a FA and set an example for my juniors… ”
Lotte completed a valuable winning series (2 wins and 1 loss) in a weekend home match against KIA on the 11th and 13th. It chased 6th place KIA by 1.5 games. It is also 3 games behind 5th place Doosan. 4th place NC, one game ahead of Doosan, is not stable either. In the end, considering the power, it is highly likely that NC, Doosan, KIA, and Lotte will take the last two tickets for fall baseball with a 50% probability.
Lotte’s 5th round is arithmetically possible.메이저놀이터 Although the native starting lineup is somewhat uneasy, the revival of Charlie Barnes and the successful soft landing of new foreign pitcher Aaron Wilkerson are encouraging. In addition, the cohesion of the other lineup, such as Ahn Kwon-soo’s return and Lee Jung-hoon’s addition, is also noteworthy. The Lotte batting line was second in the league with a team batting average of 0.326 last week.
Then, what should Lotte do to gain more momentum? In the end, the outside free agents recruited this season need to put more effort into it. In the 2022-2023 FA market, Lotte signed catcher Kangnam Yoo for 4 years and 8 billion won, shortstop Noh Jin-hyeok for 4 years and 5 billion won, and right-handed sidearm Han Hyun-hee for 3+1 years and 4 billion won, respectively.
It is true that the 17 billion won trio, which did not exist last year, is not doing its job. Gangnam Yoo had 55 hits in 243 at-bats in 81 games, a batting average of 0.226, 6 home runs, 29 RBIs, 30 runs, an OPS of 0.641, and a batting average of 0.213. He still has good framing and good defense. Based on baseball statistics site Statties, WAA 0.435 ranks 7th among league catchers.
But if he’s a free agent catcher, he needs to be more productive at bat. On July 28th, after the Gwangju KIA match, he left due to a side injury, and on the 12th and 13th, he stretched through the Futures League against Hanwha. 7 at-bats, 4 hits, 0.571 batting average, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 run.
However, coach Larry Sutton has no intention of returning Yoo Kang-nam to the first team. Ahead of the Busan KIA game on the 13th, “Rehabilitation went well. He played defense and had good hits at the plate. I will make his body full and sure. Currently, two healthy catchers (Jeong Bo-geun Jeong and Seong-bin Son) are doing well in the first team. Health comes first.”
Regarding the framing, director Sutton also praised it. He said, “I heard about it from the time he was brought to free agency. That’s actually one of the big advantages. He is called a steel strike, but when pitching a border line, his ability to catch it with a strike is excellent.”
Noh Jin-hyuk had 56 hits in 238 at-bats in 78 games, a batting average of 0.235, 3 home runs, 33 RBIs, 30 points, 7 steals, an OPS of 0.660 and a scoring batting average of 0.219. Still, this weekend, the bat came alive after a long time, going 4 hits in 9 at-bats in 3 consecutive matches and only got 3 doubles. Noh Jin-hyeok says that he is in the process of finding the rhythm and balance that he liked in the past.
Noh Jin-hyuk said, “A good balance comes out. Even if he strikes out on a manned ball, he should carry the point forward. If the point is late, he can’t even hit a fastball. The right pelvis fell forward, but it has improved a lot. When the balance is good, a batted ball comes out as a priority, and that batted ball is coming out.” In fact, Noh Jin-hyeok began to maximize his own strengths through his constant efforts and research.
There is also Han Hyun-hee. 4 wins, 9 losses, 3 holds, average ERA of 5.65 in 28 games this season. A fast ball in the late 140km range, a monotonous breaking ball, and the consequent ups and downs of the ball, a submarine with firm strengths and weaknesses. I went back and forth between the starter and the bullpen, but neither of them gave me any confidence.
Recruited as FA. In the end, you have to go to the starting point. It’s a little disappointing that there were only three quality starts. On July 30, he returned to the starting lineup from the Gwangju KIA match and only managed 4 innings in 3 consecutive games. It is an urgent task to lower the hit rate that reaches 0.304. Now that he’s back as a starting pitcher, it seems better not to cheat with the bullpen anymore.