For the Kia Tigers, who are in the midst of a top-five battle, the loss of Choi Hyung-woo (40) and Na Sung-beom (34) for the season was devastating.
Their steady, up-and-down performances are the main reason. This season, Choi was playing beyond his years with a .299 batting average, 17 home runs, 81 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.884 in 120 games, while Na Sung-bum was putting up MVP-caliber numbers with a .365 batting average, 18 home runs, 57 RBIs, and a 1.098 OPS in 58 games despite only starting to play in late June.
Choi and Na were also the most reliable hitters in clutch situations, with a .317 and .349 batting average in scoring position, respectively. Choi was tied for first in the league with 14 RBI and Na was tied for 28th with six. Within days of each other, the two were gone. Na suffered a right hamstring injury while running the bases against the LG Twins in Gwangju on April 19 and was diagnosed with a 10-12 week rehabilitation after a medical examination, ending his 2023 season. To make matters worse, Choi suffered a comminuted left clavicle fracture and a scapular joint injury while running for a base against the KT Wiz in Gwangju on April 24. He underwent clavicle immobilization surgery on the 26th and is expected to take about four months to rehabilitate, putting him on hold for next season.
The lone remaining member of the cleanup trio, Socrates Brito, 31, has been a subtle disappointment. His numbers were certainly not bad, with a .281 batting average, 18 home runs, 81 RBIs, 79 runs scored, a .345 on-base percentage, a .457 slugging percentage, and a .802 OPS through 126 games, but his .281 batting average was below that of Park Chan-ho (0.362) and Kim Sun-bin (0.330). Despite being a foreigner, he was forced to bat fifth behind Na Sung-bum and Choi Hyung-woo. In order of OPS, Socrates was behind Austin Dean (LG), Guillermo Heredia (SSG), and Jason Martin (NC) among foreign hitters.
The strong outfield options also made it difficult for the team to re-sign Socrates. This year, KIA had one of the deepest outfields thanks to the presence of backups who hit just as well as the starters. In addition to Choi Hyung-woo, Na Seong-beom, and Socrates, there were other players who would be considered starters on other teams, such as Ko Jong-wook (34) with a triple, right-handed sniper Lee Chang-jin (32), and Lee Woo-sung (29), who filled in for Na Seong-beom in the first half. On the other hand, first base, where Hwang Dae-in (27) and Byun Woo-hyuk (23) still haven’t figured it out, is where the team needs the most, so re-signing Socrates was a good idea for KIA.
Of course, it’s a different story if he proves to be the explosive force that is expected of foreign hitters. Last year, Socrates was re-signed in large part because of his May performance. Last May, Socrates hit .415 with five home runs, 28 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.146 to lead the way for KIA.
This year, Socrates has been mediocre in every other month except May (batting .318), but he is gradually showing signs of being a center fielder. On May 28, he went 2-for-4 with two RBIs against the Changwon NC, his first hit since Na Sung-bum and Choi Hyung-woo were out of the lineup, and on May 29, he went 5-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored in KIA’s 13-5 win over Gochuk Kiwoom.
In the top of the fifth inning, with the teams tied 3-3, he put runners on first and second with a curveball at the bottom of the strike zone for a two-run double down the right field line to give KIA a 4-3 lead. As KIA did not allow the tying run to score, Socrates recorded his sixth grand slam of the season in 127 games, tying him with Na Sung-beom (58 games) for the second-most on the team. He also made a spectacular defensive play in the bottom of the fifth inning, when he dramatically caught Ye Jin-won’s fly ball to end the inning with KIA leading 6-3. In the top of the sixth inning, he showed off his clutch hitting prowess with a hard-bound single to bring in two runners.
It’s great to have someone like this in the middle of the order. Kim Sun-bin, who also cleaned up, went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored as the No. 3 hitter, while Ko Jong-wook, the No. 6 hitter, took a confident swing and smashed a wedge three-run home run. Lee Woo-sung and Lee Chang-jin, who along with Socrates will be the main outfielders for the rest of the season, also recorded multi-hit games and RBIs, respectively, to keep their hopes alive for a top-five finish.
Currently, KIA is in sixth place with 64 wins, two ties, and 63 losses, 0.5 games behind fifth-place SSG, as it looks to close out fall baseball. With 15 games to go, it’s not going to be easy, but they’re also 3.5 games behind fourth-place Doosan for wild-card home field advantage. As the lone remaining member of the cleanup trio, fans are eagerly awaiting to see if Socrates can make the most of both the team’s fall baseball and his re-signing. 바카라사이트
The KIA Tigers’ outfielders have gotten off to a good start in a truly testing season.
Recently, the sky has been falling for KIA in such a short amount of time that it’s almost like the sky is falling. First up was the news that “15 billion free agent” Na Seong-beom (34) is out for the season. This season, despite not being able to play until the end of June due to a calf injury, Na showed off his MVP-level presence with a .365 batting average, 18 home runs, 57 RBIs, and a 1.098 OPS in 58 games in less than three months. But on April 19 against the Gwangju LG Twins
As scheduled here, starting center fielder Choi Won-jun (26) left the team after being selected for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, and to make matters worse, Choi Hyung-woo (40) was unexpectedly sidelined with an injury. With a .299 batting average, 17 home runs, 81 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.884 in 120 games, Choi was another indispensable center fielder for KIA. However, he was diagnosed with a comminuted left clavicle fracture and a damaged scapular joint after tripping over Park Byung-ho’s foot while running for first base in a game against the KT Wiz in Gwangju on April 24. He underwent clavicle immobilization surgery on the 26th and is expected to take about four months to rehabilitate, putting him on hold for next season.
Na Sung-bum and Choi Hyung-woo combined for 35 home runs. Losing the centerpiece of their batting lineup is a blow to the sixth-ranked KIA, which is in a tight five-way race for the top spot with the fourth-ranked Doosan Bears and fifth-ranked SSG Landers separated by less than four games.
But for others, it’s an opportunity.
Due to a series of injuries to their main players, the Gwangju NC Dinos will play the Gwangju NC Dinos on the 26th.