The KIA Tigers’ hot corner war is getting hotter this year.

KIA Tigers coach Kim Jong-guk predicted fierce competition for the starting position ahead of this season. In particular, the change in the infield, where the depth is thicker, is expected to be significant. Among them, the third base hot corner is also a position where the fiercest competition is expected.

The owner of the hot corner in the 2022 season was Ryu Ji-hyuk (29), who played in 103 games (93 starts). Ryu Ji-hyeok, who suffered from injuries for years, played in 127 games across all positions and completed 405 at-bats, the most in a single season since his professional debut. His performance also played a role in the first and bottom batting average with a batting average of 0.274 / 55 runs scored / 48 runs batted in.

However, Ryu Ji-hyeok did not show clear faith in the defensive part. As a third baseman, he committed 11 errors in 785.2 innings for a fielding percentage of just 0.948. He didn’t get good reviews either in defensive range or stability. For that reason, there were more cases of starting as a first baseman in the second half of the season or as a substitute during a game.

It is true that Ryu Ji-hyeok is currently the most advanced in the competition for starting position at third base, but it is difficult to pinpoint him as a clear starter. He can become the owner of a hot corner only when he shows more advanced in karate.

Next, Kim Do-young (19) played a lot of games at third base. Last year, in 69 games (44 games), Doyoung was responsible for 407 innings and accumulated a lot of experience in his own way. In terms of his stability, he also committed 11 errors. However, in terms of defensive scope and potential for development, he was evaluated as having a higher future value than Ryu Ji-hyeok.

And now, in the spring camp and demonstration games ahead of the 2023 season, the hot corner is expected to compete on a zero-base basis. It is true that Kim Do-young and Ryu Ji-hyeok, who had the most experience last year, have the upper hand. But there are several more candidates.

First of all, the KIA coaching staff sees Kim Do-young as the starting third baseman, playing multiple positions, and backing up Park Chan-ho as a shortstop as the most ideal picture. Kim Do-young, who has high potential in defense and main power as well as hitting, grows into an infield main player, and Ryu Ji-hyeok, who has more experience, plays an active role as a multiplayer in charge of third base and first base, etc. It is stable in terms of team depth and generational change. It is judgment.

There are more reasons. KIA is gradually changing generations in the infield at the same time as the fall baseball challenge through power optimization this season. However, it is a plan to create a friendly competitive structure by thickening the depth through multi-position digestion and double squad construction, rather than artificial exclusion. Accordingly, Chan-Ho Park is expected to play more games this year in place of the starting shortstop and second baseman Sun-Bin Kim.헤라카지노

With these plans, after the season, KIA recruited Byun Woo-hyeok (22), a prospect from the first round of Hanwha, through a trade. Byun Woo-hyeok is a resource that can be digested by both third and first basemen. He can compete for the starting position at two positions from this year while adding thickness.

KIA expects Byun Woo-hyuk to become a new candidate to quench the team’s long-standing thirst for the birth of Uta Geopo. Byun Woo-hyeok is a potential competitor to first baseman Hwang Dae-in, and is expected to become another contender for the starting position at third base.

In addition, Lim Seok-jin (25), who joined the team last year, is a resource that can become a candidate for the third baseman competition. From the time he was nominated as a pro in 2016 in the 6th place in the 2nd round of the SK 2nd round, he was expected to become a large infielder, but he did not see the light due to the shadow of Choi Jeong, a team senior and the best third baseman in the KBO League. He himself hasn’t been able to explode his talents, but he’s trying to prove his worth this year, starting with the finish camp held in November last year and sweating hard. He is still a reserve, but he has plenty of potential to grow into a role starting as a backup.

Relatively last year, it is true that KIA’s third base was lacking in both offense and defense compared to other prominent positions. And if a clear owner and a solid backup to support him are created through fierce competition this year, KIA’s infield competitiveness can become more solid.

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