Na Seong-beom and Kim Do-young leave together, will KIA return to the ‘water bat’ in 2021?
After struggling with the stagnation of other lines in 2021, KIA eventually fell to the bottom. There were quite a few promising players on the mound, but it was also a problem that the situation in the other line was not the same.
In fact, KIA’s 2021 team OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) was 0.673, which was the lowest in the league. There were only 66 home runs, and there were also games that were unfortunately lost due to the lack of slugging power. I couldn’t go to the top without solving this problem. So, I took a two-track approach. He also worked hard on prospects who could hit long shots, and on the other hand, he spent money hotly.
Ahead of the 2022 season, KIA invested a total of 15 billion 안전놀이터won over six years in Na Seong-beom, the largest fish in the market at the time, and sought an engine that would lead the central batting line. Inside, as the players grew little by little, a synergistic effect began to emerge. This effect was quite large. KIA’s team OPS last year was 0.746, leading the league. It went from the bottom to the top in one season.
Na Seong-beom appeared in all 144 games of the team and recorded a batting average of 0.320, 21 home runs, 97 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.906, showing that KIA’s investment was not in vain. The KIA had the mindset that young players such as Kim Do-young and Byeon Woo-hyuk would add weight to such a reliable central hitter ahead of this season and maintain their offensive power. In June, there was also Choi Won-jun, who would return from military service. However, due to the injury, all ideas were blown away.
The biggest growth was expected this year, and the starting point was the injury of Kim Do-young, who wielded a strong blow in the opening series with SSG. On the 2nd, against SSG in Incheon, he injured his left foot while playing base and had to undergo surgery. He underwent surgery to place a pin in his metatarsal bone and is expected to take 12 to 16 weeks to return.
On the 5th, another sad news flew in. Even Seong-beom Na, who had a greater thirst for a comeback due to Do-young Kim’s injury, was expected to have a gap of up to 8 weeks as a result of additional examinations. Na Seong-beom, who has had a bad left calf since the World Baseball Classic (WBC), did not improve, so he underwent an additional examination, and it was revealed that his calf muscle was damaged. After 4 weeks of rest, his body needs to be moved.
Na Seong-beom is missing, and Kim Do-young is also absent. Both the player who had the biggest effect last year and the player who was expected to bring the biggest effect this year are both going to miss a long time. There are still more resources than in 2021, but it is not easy to expect the same offensive power as last year. There is also a risk of returning to the level of 2021 if the center of gravity collapses and additional injuries come out.
Director Kim Jong-guk is looking forward to the addition of Byun Woo-hyeok, the growth of Hwang Dae-in, and the performance of Socrates and Choi Hyeong-woo. However, it is a process that seems to have too many variables. Attention is focusing on how KIA will overcome the crisis in the next two months.