SSG head coach Kim Won-hyung had a tough time deciding on a starting lineup for the May 21 game against Lotte at Sajik Stadium. Lotte started Charlie Barnes, a foreign left-hander with a strong record against lefties.
The record was “strongly” indicating that it was wise to put a right-hander in the lineup. Last year, Barnes had a 0.226 BABIP and 0.571 OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) against lefties, while he had a 0.262 BABIP and 0.686 OPS against righties. This year, he’s struggled against righties as well, with a 0.857 OPS against righties. Kim followed the data. He used every right-handed hitter he could find.
When asked about the potentially experimental lineup, Kim said, “Actually, I don’t like to play left and right. But if you look at the records, it’s still in effect. The U.S. is also playing left and right. I don’t think it means much for a really good hitter, but I think it’s necessary in the game of baseball.”
However, he emphasized that it’s not the left-right play that sways the pitcher’s mind, but the value of the hitters at the plate. Although this was just one regular season game, and he wanted to experiment with younger players like Ko Myung-joon, he admitted that the lineup would have been different if this was the Korean Series. “If it was the Korean Series right now, I would have put Han Yoo-seom in (regardless of being a left-handed hitter),” Kim emphasized. He was convinced that Han Yoo-seom, who has shown a lot of promise, could put more pressure on the pitcher than the younger Ko Myung-joon.
The more batters that are fixed in the lineup, regardless of the opposing pitcher’s throwing hand, the more stability there is. SSG also has players like Choi Jeong, Eredia, Choi Ji-hoon, and Park Sung-han. However, two players who should be part of this group have struggled with their hitting this season. They are outfielders Choo Shin-soo (41) and Han Yoo-seom (34). More than two months into the season, they haven’t found their groove, and their numbers have only gotten worse.
Both players have changed their batting formats this year to prepare for the season. Han Yoo-seom, who suffered a major injury last year when she tore her hamstring, switched to a form that was less demanding on her lower body. The stamina-intensive form ended up putting a lot of strain on his lower body, which bothered his hamstring throughout the second half of the season. Choo modified his batting form by extending his back leg. The idea is to move the body as little as possible. A form that involves a lot of body movement naturally takes longer to recover from a slump. He wanted to shorten this period.
If he was complacent, he could have just played his original form. That would have guaranteed some results. But he wanted to do better, to be more consistent, so he took a risk. However, at the beginning of the season, it didn’t pay off. Han Yoo-seom went back to his original batting form. Choo Shin-soo took a long break from the game after stepping on the wrong base during an infield play. Both players have been struggling to hit lately.
Han is batting just .195 with a .534 OPS in 38 games this season. This is his worst performance since becoming a first-team regular. Choo Shin-soo is also underwhelming with a 0.205 batting average and 0.640 OPS in 36 games. At the beginning of the season, his slugging percentage was among the best in the league. However, it’s hard to maintain a high OPS with a low batting average.스포츠토토
Nevertheless, Kim kept both players in the starting lineup against the Incheon LG on April 24. Kim is well aware that the two players are not hitting well. However, he defines them as “players who need to be saved. He’s willing to take the risk for now because the benefits of keeping them alive are greater. Choo Shin-soo leads off with a walk. Han Yoo-seom is the guy to clear the bases with his long balls. Now, critics can’t criticize these two players for being normal. Instead, Kim is hoping to shorten the time.
“I think we have to be patient. Even today, Han Yoo-seom was talking a lot with the hitting coach. It must be a lot of pressure on her,” Kim said, “but she keeps trying to do things on her own. “But I think he has to go out there and do it, and I think the team’s batting can be a little bit more active if those guys come back. The team will only survive if they start playing well in June.