“I can’t keep my goal of ‘Let’s stay at the top’ and it will be different this year.” … Choi Hyung-woo, who looked back for seven years, was confident of a rebound

This is the report card that the Kia Tigers have accepted over the past seven seasons. The team achieved the dream of winning the championship that everyone wanted once, but remained in the middle and lower ranks since then. The team failed to make it to the semi-playoff due to bitter losses in 2018 and 2022, when it ranked fifth in the wild card game.

While some players silently performed their roles, others failed to meet expectations. Choi Hyung-woo, a “veteran outfielder,” was close to the former. Choi’s overall performance from 2017 to 2023 was 1,014 hits in 3,278 times at bat in 918 games, 0.309 with 139 homers and 631 RBIs in the OPS 0.913.

Choi Hyung-woo, who has only played for one team of the Samsung Lions since his professional debut, signed a four-year contract worth 10 billion won with KIA ahead of the 2017 season. Kia, which has not made any significant achievement since winning the Korean Series in 2009, has set a solid tone for its return to the top spot in eight years with solid reinforcements.헤라카지노

Choi and Kia, who opened the era of “10 billion free agents,” were continuously criticized as “overpaying,” but Choi proved the result in just one season. After recording 176 hits from 514 times at bat in 142 games in 2017, he had a batting average of 0.342 with 26 homers and 120 RBIs (on-base plus slugging) of 1.026, and four hits from 17 times at bat in the Korean Series against the Doosan Bears in the same year, he had a batting average of 0.235 and contributed significantly to his team’s victory in the Korean Series. Kia’s “hot investment” has paid off.

Choi Hyung-woo drew an upward curve with 179 hits from 143 games to 528 at-bats in 2018 with a batting average of 0.339 25 home runs and 103 RBIs OPS of 0.963, and showed his team’s core batting style in 2019 and 2020 with a batting average of more than 300. Although he was sluggish with 87 hits from 104 games in 2021 with a batting average of 0.233 12 home runs and 55 RBIs OPS of 0.729, 120 hits from 132 games to 454 the following year with a batting average of 0.264 14 home runs and 71 RBIs OPS of 0.787, he succeeded in rebounding with a batting average of 130 from 431 games last year with a batting average of 0.302 17 home runs and 81 RBIs OPS of 0.887.

Recognized for his value, Choi signed a multi-year contract worth 2.2 billion won (2.2 million U.S. dollars) for one plus one year ahead of this season, and once again joined hands with KIA. “Choi not only showed outstanding performance but also made efforts to show respect to his fellow players as a leader of the clubhouse, as he was always an example to his fellow players. I hope he will continue to exert a good influence on his fellow players and play as a player representing the KBO League,” said Kia Tigers general manager Shim Jae-hak.

“I’m so grateful to the club. It’s not something I can do because I’m not an FA. I thought I should work hard next year after signing a one-year contract,” Choi said. “But I’m thankful that I can sign a contract like this because you paid attention to the multi-year contract.”

Feeling a sense of responsibility, Choi said, “I’ve been talking about this for a long time. Rather than discussing ‘winning’ like other players, I always wanted to be at the top of the list. Frankly, I have aimed to keep only the top rankings because winning is up to the heaven, and it is not up to us. I regret a lot because that was not observed.” It was Choi’s cool-headed assessment of the seven-year period.

That’s why Choi thinks the 2024 season is more important than ever. “I have one thing for sure. I think our team will do well from this year onwards. Unlike before, expectations are high this year,” Choi said. “My juniors used to not be refined, but now they have accumulated for about two to four years and have grown a lot. Korean players are impeccable. It’s okay. Previously (the goal) was to make it to the semi-finals, but from this year on, players should suffer fewer injuries.”

KIA was one of the teams without any significant outside recruitment this winter, but it is considered a rival to the LG Twins, the defending champion. As Choi Hyung-woo said, it is expected that if he is careful of injuries, he will be able to achieve more than the fifth round.

However, it is unclear whether Kim Do-young, who suffered a finger injury during the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) in November last year, will play in the opening game, and recruitment of foreign pitchers has yet to be completed. The task to be solved is clear.

“I told (the team leader) not to worry. I told him not to worry. As long as he recruits foreign pitchers well, he can win,” Choi said. “As long as he is good at foreign pitchers, he can aim for a very high place. Korean players are okay as long as they get injured, so if they recruit foreign pitchers well, they will be able to do something this year.”

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