Bubbles take a long time to grow. They don’t just come out of nowhere. It’s not just the KBO. It’s the same in Major League Baseball and Japan, so once you develop them well, you have a lot of relative advantages.
In fact, many of the big hitters in the KBO took quite a long time to develop. Players like Park Byung-ho (KT), Kim Jae-hwan (Doosan), and Han Yoo-seom (SSG) had a long adjustment period in the first team. However, since their explosion, they’ve shown great value. Noh Si-hwan (Hanwha), who won the league’s home run title this year, also had his ups and downs, but his breakout came sooner than most. That’s why every team can’t give up on developing big hitters. The same goes for KIA.굿모닝토토
KIA doesn’t have many big hitters. Choi Hyung-woo and Na Seong-beom, the team’s best mid- to long-range hitters, were signed as free agents (FAs) from outside the organization. Recognizing this problem, KIA has pinned its hopes on players with “long ball talent” within the team. However, in 2023, there were no spectacular results. In fact, it only reaffirmed the “big guns take time” mantra.
Byun Woo-hyuk (23), who was acquired in a trade ahead of the 2023 season, and Kim Seok-hwan (24), who the team has been eyeing for a long time as a left-handed batting option. Both players are highly anticipated as the next generation to lead the KIA center field lineup. However, their performances in the first team this year have been far from explosive.
Byun Woo-hyuk was considered a candidate for the starting first base job, but his performance was a bit uneven. In 83 games, he hit .225 with seven home runs, 24 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.664. Kim was limited to 12 games in the first team this year. In the second team, he hit .307 with 18 homers and 73 RBIs in 79 games, but this prospect’s eyes are set on the first team, not the second.
But the appeal is clear. KIA hitting coach Lee Bum-ho also emphasizes patience and gradual development for both players. Lee, who later went on to hit 329 home runs in the KBO’s first team, also remembers struggling in his early years. It’s harder to develop a big bat now than it was then. Knowing this, he doesn’t want to be impatient.
“Right-handers take a little longer than left-handers,” he said of Byun Woo-hyuk. “A lot of people think, ‘He’s a promising player, so of course he’s going to be good,’ but even players like Park Byung-ho took five or six years to develop. You have to put in a lot of time. I think his skills will improve little by little from the time he has an unwavering mindset in this batting position.
The coach’s diagnosis and expectation is that he is gradually building that mindset. He said, “All