At the beginning of the season, the KBO was the center of attention for the “strange” batting performances of the league’s stars. Lee Jung-hoo (25, Kiwoom), the best hitter in the KBO, had an unusually low batting average, and Yang Yang-ji (36, Dusan), the best offensive and defensive catcher in the KBO, had a strange absence of home runs.스포츠토토
Lee Jung-hoo has a .338 batting average in 851 career KBO games. This is the best performance in KBO history among hitters with more than 3,000 at-bats. In 2021, he had a .360 batting average in 123 games during the season, and last year he had a .349 batting average in 142 games. But by the end of April, he was batting just .218. It was a rather embarrassing statistic.
Yang is a catcher with 233 career home runs in the KBO. Since 2015, he has hit 20 or more home runs in all but one season (14 in 2017). He hit 33 homers in 2020, 30 in 2021, and 20 in 130 games last year. But this year, those homers have been hard to come by – his first didn’t come until April 20, and he hit one in 94 at-bats in April.
Lee is scheduled to reach the major leagues later this season, and there was some concern that his declining offensive numbers would affect his value. Yang had signed a 4+2 year deal with Doosan for up to 15.2 billion won before this season. He’s a young, high-priced signing who hasn’t gotten off to a great start, so there’s bound to be some talk.
However, his average batting speed, which is one of the leading indicators of batting performance, was not a problem even when he was not performing well. It was always in the top 1 or 2, and Yang was always in the top 10. It’s a good indicator that, barring injury, they’ll continue to climb steadily, and they’re both good enough players that we haven’t had to worry about it yet.
Lee Jung-hoo, who had changed his batting form before the season, was back to his original form, the one he was most comfortable with. Since then, her batting performance has gradually improved. Since May, Lee has batted .323 in 31 games. He has struck out just eight times in that span, while drawing 13 walks and hitting 40 hits, creating a solid rebound.
Kiwoom Lee Jung-hoo ⓒKiwoom Heroes
Doosan Yang-ji ⓒKyung Hye-mi Reporter
Lee Jung-hoo recalled that at the beginning of the season, “the quality of the pitches I was getting was not good.” But it’s different now. Even if I get an out, I can understand the quality of my balls. At the beginning of the season, I would hesitate on good pitches, but now I’m hitting them. Now that he’s found his groove, his stats are likely to stay strong and continue to climb.
After batting just .284 with a .383 on-base percentage in 24 games during the month of April, Yang Ji Hao has also found his groove since May, with home runs popping out of the sky. In 23 games since May, Yang is batting .356 with four home runs, 14 RBIs, and a .589 on-base percentage. You can see that his on-base percentage has increased significantly from April. Since May, his OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) has also returned to its original number of 1.037.
Yang admitted that he felt pressure to hit home runs in the early part of the season when he rediscovered his power. He says his rituals didn’t produce more home runs, and his attempts to hit harder didn’t pay off. However, by pulling his batting point forward again, he has developed a unique home run arsenal that allows his balls to go far even when he doesn’t seem to be taking a full swing.
Both players had one thing in common: their batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was too low for their careers until the beginning of May, and they were a little unlucky. The quality of their at-bats is still good. According to Trackman, which provides tracking data for all nine KBO clubs, Lee leads the league in average batted ball velocity among all batted balls at 146.3 kilometers, while Yang is fifth in the league at 143.8 kilometers. Both players have actually improved in this category from last year. This suggests that in time, they may be able to fully regain their positions.