Who will be the new 4th hitter for Kiwoom Heroes in the 2023 season?
The number 4 batting order symbolizes the team’s batting order. The three best hitters on the team make up the cleanup trio, and the best player usually fills the role of the number four hitter. Currently, Choi Kang-ron, the number 4 hitter, is treated as an outdated baseball player, but many KBO league teams still place the best hitter in the number 4 position.
Kiwoom Heroes has Lee Jung-hoo, the league’s best third hitter. Lee Jung-hoo is the best hitter in the KBO league beyond the best 3 times. In 2022, he showed the best performance, including 5 batting crowns + MVP + outfielder Golden Glove.
Behind No. 3 Lee Jeong-hu, there was a strong umbrella called Puig No. 4. Lee Jung-hoo tied for first place in the league with Samsung Pirella with 12 intentional walks in 2022. 11 out of 12 intentional walks were concentrated in the first half. In the first half, Puig was sluggish with an OPS of .741. And in the second half, he woke up with an OPS of .962 (2nd in the league), and Lee Jung-hoo’s intentional walks plummeted.
Puig has fled Korea on charges of illegal sports gambling and perjury, and Kiwoom must find a new number 4 hitter. Puig finished 4th in the batting order and completed 389 plate appearances. Next came Kim Hye-seong with 120 at-bats and Song Seong-moon with 80 at-bats. Kim Hye-seong is an excellent player enough to have won the Golden Glove for two consecutive years. But to take advantage of his batting style and quick feet, the top batting order suits him. He also lacks his slugging power to get into the center of the batting line. Song Seong-moon hit 13 homers, the third most on the team. However, he showed weakness in accuracy with a batting average of .247. Adjusted scoring creativity (wRC+) is also 88.1, which is not enough to enter the center lineup.
What about Edison Russell, who returned to the KBO league? Russell has played in the Mexican League for his last two years. In 2021, including the winter league, he played 106 games with a batting average of .292, 12 home runs, 67 RBIs, and an OPS of .835. Koh Hyung-wook, general manager, revealed the reason for Russell’s recruitment, saying, “Russell played in the Mexican league, and the results are astounding as you can see.
Russell’s performance is spectacular, but that’s likely due to the nature of the Mexican League. The Mexican League aims for a batting-oriented game, and some stadiums are located on high ground, which is advantageous for hitters. He was a tremendous ride and two-runner in 2022 with a league average of .304 on-base percentage and .380 slugging percentage of .488.
Lee Hyeong-jong, who was recruited as a Futures League free agent, is also a candidate for the fourth hitter. Lee Hyeong-jong uses Jamsil Baseball Stadium as his home in 2020 and has a good reputation for long hitting enough to hit 17 home runs in 81 games. His highs have certainly been proven, but in the last two years, wRC + 104.8, 80.5 have shown a clear decline. Born in 1989, it would not be strange if the aging curve came at any time. 메이저놀이터
Without a clear No. 4 hitter, Lee Jung-hoo may relive the nightmare of Lee Dae-ho in 2007. In 2007, the Lotte team batting line was called Lee Dae-ho and the Eight Dwarfs. Except for Lee Dae-ho, there was no hitter who could intimidate the opponent. This came back with 25 intentional pitches. Lee Dae-ho alone won 73.5% of the Lotte team’s 34 intentional walks. Of the eight teams, five teams, LG, SK, Doosan, Hanwha, and KIA, had fewer intentional walks than Lee Dae-ho. Lee Jung-hoo can also become a good hitter if he skips.
After the 2023 season, Lee Jung-hoo announced his entry into the MLB through the posting system. For Lee Jung-hoo, this year is more important than anything else in order to advance overseas. This is the time when a good number 4 hitter is needed for both Lee Jung-hoo and Kiwoom.