NC’s Son Ah-seop (35-photo) is one of the best shift hitters in the KBO. His career batting average of .321 ranks fourth among all players with 3,000 at-bats. In the 13 years between 2010 and 2022, when he was a full-time first-team starter, he failed to hit .321 only twice (in 2019 and 2022).

In particular, Son failed to hit .277 (152 hits in 548 at-bats) last season, his first year in the NC after moving from Lotte, raising concerns that he might have hit an “aging curve. However, after a desperate winter, Son has redeemed himself this season, batting .316 (228-for-72) through 14 days and ranking second in the batting order.

Son has also recorded some meaningful milestones. In the seventh inning against the Changwon Doosan on Nov. 14, he recorded his 2300th career hit. It took him 1890 games and 7176 at-bats. Only Yang Jun-hyuk (Samsung) in 2010 and Park Yong-taek (LG) in 2018 have reached the milestone, making Son the third player in history to do so.

Son’s record for hits is still ongoing. Yang’s 2318 hits, which ranks second on the all-time hits list, can still be broken in June. Park’s all-time record of 2504 hits could also be surpassed next season, assuming Son doesn’t drop off anytime soon.

The question is whether he can reach the all-time high of 3,000 hits. Only 33 players in the 147-year history of the American Major League have achieved 3,000 hits, and only Jang Hoon (3089 hits) has done so in the Nippon Professional Baseball, which began in 1936. Arithmetically, Son still has five to six more years to reach 3,000 hits. That means he’ll need to maintain his current “class” well into his forties.스포츠토토

Son is a contact hitter who specializes in pulls and pushes, so he’s not vulnerable to defensive shifts. Add to that his ability to sprint to first base and generate a lot of infield hits, and 3,000 hits is not out of the question.

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