Choi Won-jun did not go wrong, the hidden hero leading the KIA lineup

If he were just a discharged player, he could have lowered expectations as an excuse for adapting himself to military service, but Choi Won-joon (27) was different. He clearly had a batting average of 0.326 in 123 games in 2020 and a batting average of 0.295 and 40 steals in 143 games in 2021.

However, Choi Won-joon (27) of the Kia Tigers failed to meet such high expectations. Early last season when he was in the military, he lacked training due to injury, and after returning, he had difficulty maintaining his rhythm as he was moving back and forth between first base and outfield.

Choi, who only posted a batting average of 0.255 in 67 games, struggled hard this year. He focused on weight training, which he desperately felt after being discharged from the military. He increased his muscle mass. He made efforts to produce stronger pitches. KIA manager Lee Bum-ho highly appreciated Choi’s process. Above all, I believed he was a player with good eyesight. I thought he was capable of hitting a .300 batting average and an on-base percentage that is close to .400 at the same time. That’s why I was going to entrust the heavy responsibility of the second batter this year.

However, the team’s poor performance in exhibition games raised concerns. His batting average remained around 0.074, which was less than 100 percent in the exhibition games. Even if a player has high expectations and is certain to rise up in the future, it was not easy to give him opportunities in an important batting order. This was the reason why coach Lee Bum-ho slightly abandoned the idea of No. 2 Choi Won-jun. Personally, it was a small challenge for Choi. He did not have a very good batting sense even after the opening of the season. He disappeared from fans’ eyes for a while.

However, Lee didn’t give up on Choi, and his poor performance at the beginning of the season created an atmosphere where he could start over. After going through an adjustment phase, Choi has produced hits in almost every game since early April, contributing to his team’s batting lineup. He had a hit in 12 consecutive games from the game against the SSG in Incheon on April 16 to the game against LG in Jamsil on April 28, and has displayed stellar performance in 24 games in April with a batting average of 0.364; an on-base percentage of 0.423; an on-base percentage of 0.500; and an on-base percentage of 0.923.

In 24 games in April, there were only three games in which no hits were made, and only two games in which no hits were made on base. Rather than swinging too hard due to his greed for a long hit, he is focusing on contact and making hits. He certainly shows that he has good bat control and eyes. He is entering the 9th batting order mainly, but since his batting sense has revived, he has also entered the 2nd, 6th, and 7th depending on the game, proving that he is a versatile player. Looking at the tracking data, it can be seen that the batting speed has also improved slightly this year according to his greed.

It remains to be seen what duties Choi will take on after Na returns, but given his current batting sense, he is unlikely to be excluded from the starting lineup. Currently, Choi’s OPS ranks second after Kim Do-young (1.020) among players in his team who have garnered more than 70 at-bats. As he has already stolen 11 bases this year and is the mainstay of the team’s mobility baseball, he deserves expectations for a steady lineup if his defense becomes more stable. As he overcame the crisis earlier than other players, he can also look forward to seeing his stellar performance going forward. Neither Choi’s preparation nor manager Lee Bum-ho’s trust were wrong.

BY: 토토사이트

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