KIM DO YOUNG vs KANG BAEKHO. Competition of the century

Kim Do-young (KIA) and Kang Baek-ho (KT) are happy to see the competition in good faith in the home run race that they are showing at the beginning of the season.

It is all the more so because it is also erasing concerns about the national team’s vulnerable position. Some even say that the 10-year-long agony over selecting the national team’s national flag is over.

As of May 6, a total of five players are competing for the top spot in the KBO League home run category. SSG Landers veteran Choi Jeong-Han Yu-seom and foreign hitter Jonathan Peraza of the Hanwha Eagles. And they are Kim Do-young, 20, and Kang Baek-ho, 24. They have hit 11 home runs side by side, tying for first in the category.

Due to the high rebound coefficient of official ball and ABS (automatic strike-ball judgment system), which is close to the passing line at the beginning of the season, the team is showing signs of riding and fighting in this season. In the meantime, it is not surprising that two veteran hitters and foreign hitters are tying for the lead in the home run category. However, it is surprising that Kim Do-young and Kang Baek-ho are competing side by side with each other, and at the same time, it is quite encouraging in terms of KBO league level.

First of all, it is not common for players under the age of 25 to lead the home run race like this. In addition, it is more surprising that both players were far from typical sluggers.

First of all, Kim Do-young’s change in his third year as a professional goes beyond surprise and is undergoing a shocking level of evolution. When he joined the professional league in 2022 as the first designation of Kia, Kim was expected to become a “successor to Lee Jong-beom” as a so-called five-tool player. Given that he is also a shortstop, the prevailing view was that he would become a versatile player with both offense and defense.

Despite injuries in 2023 after the trial and error of the first season, Kim Do-young showed potential with a batting average of 0.303/on-base percentage of 0.471/base percentage of 0.453 in 84 games. In particular, as a medium- and long-distance batter, his slugging power increased significantly compared to the first season (0.362->0.453), and he recorded 25 stolen bases, raising expectations that he would be able to become a medium and long-distance hitter of the hot-timer.

And this season, he shook off his injury and is playing hard to overcome. Kim Do-young has been active as a slugger, bombarding the league with a batting average of 0.329/11 homers/27 RBIs/33 runs/on-base percentage of 0.371/long-base percentage of 0.616 in 35 games. In addition to being the first in home runs, Kim ranks second in slugging percentage after Choi Jeong (0.648), and OPS is also ranked fifth in the league.
In addition to the results of working on weight training throughout the winter and systematically building the body, the potential of KIA manager Lee Bum-ho is exploding as he made a small change of mechanism in line with his order to “float the ball.” KIA’s key batter Na Sung-beom has already grown into a representative hitter of the team, leading the team’s batting lineup even though he was absent for a long time at the beginning of the season.

I wish I could become a great player like former LG coach Lee Jong-beom, but in a way, he was such an unsolicited player that it was hard to come back into KBO league history. Rather, more expectations are focused on the appearances that he is making without limits as the first Kim Do-young, not as a second player.

In particular, it will become easier to organize infield positions for the national team. After the World Baseball Classic last year, the national team has started generational shift. However, national team coach Ryu Joong-il is constantly expressing weaknesses in some positions such as catcher and shortstop.

Although some players continue to get opportunities, they have not been able to show a remarkable comparative advantage in the KBO league, so it has become a relative weakness position for now. In the case of Kim Do-young, the position overlaps with Roh Si-hwan, who is likely to become a center hitter with built-in national team in the future, and Moon Bo-kyung (LG), another center hitter candidate.

However, given that Kia has a shortstop named Park Chan-ho who ranked second in the Gold Glove last year, and the second baseman also has a representative player in the league named Kim Sun-bin, many say that Kim Do-young is just looking at the third baseman, but in the long run, he should be nurtured as a shortstop or second baseman. If possible, if Kim grows into a shortstop who was Kim Do-young’s main position in high school, it could be more utilized in the national team as a shortstop representing the league in the future.

Kang’s revival is all the more dramatic news. When he was nominated as the first player in the first round of the 2018 KT second round, he was evaluated as a baseball talent of 100 years as both a pitcher and a batter. He was expected to become a home run hitter representing the league even after joining the pro league.

In fact, Kang Baek-ho had a shocking debut season in 2018 when he hit 29 home runs in 138 games, his first year in the team. The following year, he suffered a sharp drop in the number of home runs to 13, but raised his batting average from 0.290 to 0.336 in the first year and his on-base percentage from 0.356 to 0.416, showing clear performance in accuracy as well.

BY: 스포츠토토

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *