“There are a lot of floating balls”…the coach’s advice for the ‘post-Kim Kang-min’ era

Outfielder Choi Ji-hoon (26-SSG Landers) has been in a hitting slump. SSG manager Kim Won-hyung said, “I think there are too many fly balls,” which is interesting.

Choi is batting .261 (86 hits in 330 at-bats) in nine days this season. That ranks 39th among the 49 hitters with regular at-bats. His monthly batting average in July was .182 (19-for-55), less than two percent. Manager Kim Won-hyung said, “Choi Ji-hoon needs to get ground balls. If the opposing infielders fumble the ball even a little bit, he can use his quick feet to make a play (at first base), but there are too many ground balls. Most of his hits are to right field.”

Choi’s ground ball (GO)/football (FO) ratio for the season is 0.72. He has more fly balls (119) than ground balls (86). This is an increase from last year, when he had a 0.88 GO/FO ratio. Coach Kim Won-hyung believes that big hitters need to fly balls, but Choi Ji-hoon, who has good running speed, is better off with more ground balls. This is because pressuring the opposing defense with his quick feet can lead to lucky hits or errors.

“Ji-hoon should have more infield hits,” said Kim Won-hyung. If you look at Hong Chang-ki (LG Twins), he doesn’t just hit singles,” Kim added. Hong’s groundball-to-fly ball ratio is 1.54, the third-highest among designated hitters. She hits in-play balls to all corners of the infield, fueling her triple batting average. “He has a lot of hits that are pushed and over the infielders’ height,” Kim said.

The left-handed hitter has more outfield hits (76) than infield hits (9). Most of his outfield hits are to right field. This means he pulls aggressively.

The monotony of his batting style can be a disadvantage. “He had a clear in-and-out swing,” says Kim, referring to Jose Fernandez, a foreign hitter who played for the Doosan Bears. “He had a lot of areas (on the bat) to hit, so even if he was late in his swing, he’d hit it over there (to left field), and if he had a good hitting point in front of him, he’d hit it over here (to right field).

Fernandez is a spray heater who can both pull and push, and in his four years in the KBO (2019-2022), he hit 723 home runs. An average of 180.75 per year. Park Yong-taek, a commentator for KBS N Sports, said, “There is something called a kinematic sequence. It is the process of exerting athletic ability, starting with the lower body, opening the pelvis, turning, opening the torso, and then moving. Fernandez does this best. That’s why the bat head stays (behind) until late,” he analyzed.메이저놀이터

Kim Won-hyung said, “I think Choi Ji-hoon’s ability to cope after the second strike is a bit poor. He needs to shift his center of gravity from his lower body and keep the bat until the end to facilitate contact. Then you can hit a falling ball and get a hard hit. (Choi) only swings with his arms, so the course of the bat is limited.”

Choi Ji-hoon is the centerpiece of SSG’s power. He has been dubbed the “post-Kim Kang-min” and has established himself as the starting center fielder. At the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) in September, he even earned the Taegeuk mark. “I think Choi Ji-hoon is a player who can do better than he is now,” said Kim Won-hyung. “He needs to hit 150 hits to hit 3% while playing 500 at-bats a year, but he is not hitting well, so he needs to know his style and think about it.”

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