All-time great competition for offense…Yang Ji Won for defense

November 28, 2023 | by

The ‘2023 Joa Pharmaceutical Baseball Awards’, co-presented by Joa Pharmaceutical and Daily Sports, will be held on December 4. It is a festival for baseball players and baseball fans to summarize the year.

In the 2023 KBO League, there were many new faces who showed their potential. They contributed to the league’s success and energized the race for the top spot. The winner of the Player of the Year Award, which recognizes the player with the most significant improvement, is also hard to predict.

Lotte Giants outfielder Yoon Dong-hee (20) is the first choice. He hit .287 (387-for-111) in 107 regular-season games in 2023. In his rookie season (2022), he only played four games in the first team, but this year he made a name for himself by making the leap to the main outfield.

His outstanding qualities earned him a spot on the national team at the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) in September and October, where he batted .435 (10-for-23) and helped South Korea win the gold medal.

There’s also KT Wiz bullpen pitcher Park Young-hyun, 20. He made his debut last year and has said he hopes to become KT’s closer, citing Oh Seung-hwan, the KBO’s all-time saves leader (currently at 400), as a role model. After posting two saves and a 3.66 ERA in 52 games in his rookie season (2022), Young-hyun Park led the league in that category with 32 saves in 68 games in 2023. In his second year, he became the league’s leading setup man. His ERA (2.75) was also respectable. Young-hyun Park also had a breakout season for Hangzhou AG, helping them win the gold medal. 아톰카지노

We can’t forget about Kiwoom Heroes outfielder Lee Ju-hyung (22), who has been a late-season breakout star. The former LG Twins top prospect switched places with Kiwoom starting pitcher Choi Won-tae in late July. Filling in for Kiwoom slugger Lee Jung-hoo, who was sidelined with an injury, Lee has been a standout since making the switch, hitting .330 with six home runs and 34 RBIs in 51 games. He makes good contact and has good command of his fastball and changeup. Kiwoom manager Hong Won-ki has already identified Lee as a possible successor to Lee Jung-hoo.

The Defensive Award, which recognizes the player with the most defensive contributions, went to South Korea’s national team catcher Yang Yang-ji, 36. He led Doosan’s young pitching staff with his seasoned game management skills. After ranking eighth in team ERA (4.45) last season, Doosan improved to third in that category this season with a 3.92 ERA. Yang also excelled at stealing bases. He had the highest stolen base rate (37.8%) of any catcher in the league with more than 700 innings played.

Yang’s counterpart is LG outfielder Park Hae-min (33). With one of the widest defensive ranges in the league, he posted a 0.991 fielding percentage in 1187 and two-thirds innings in the outfield this season.

The Second Chance Award is given to players who have overcome injuries and slumps with indomitable determination. NC Dinos outfielder Son Ah-seop (35) and LG bullpen pitcher Ham Deok-ju (28) will compete. Son is one of the league’s best shift-hitters, ranking fourth in the league in batting average (.324) through the 2021 season, but he hit just .277 in 2022. That’s not objectively bad, but it’s Son, and he’s been criticized for his lackluster performance.

Son really came into his own in the 2023 season. In 140 games, he batted .339 (187-for-551), topping the batting order for the first time in his career. He also won the title of most hits for the fourth time in his career.

Ham was limited to just 13 games last year due to a left elbow injury. This season, he bounced back with a record of 4 saves, 16 holds, and a 1.62 ERA in 57 appearances. He led LG to a first-place finish in the regular season and the Korean Series title.


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