In 2010, Shin-Soo Choo stole 22 bases. In 2023, Bae Ji-hwan (Pittsburgh Pirates) stole 19 bases in the first two months of the season. He’s on track to make major league history.
Bae Ji-hwan started at second base in the No. 7 spot in the lineup and went 1-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2023 Major League Baseball home game against the New York Mets at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, on Wednesday (Nov. 12). He hadn’t stolen a base in two straight games since Oct. 10 against the New York Mets.
Corbin Carroll (Arizona Diamondbacks) added one stolen base on the road against the Detroit Tigers. Bae and Carroll are now tied for second in the National League in stolen bases with 19. They are one steal behind Starling Marte (New York Mets, 18).메이저놀이터
The gap to National League stolen base leader Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves, 28) is huge. It’s hard to close a nine-steal gap all of a sudden. While Bae’s on-base production is impressive in his first year in the big leagues, the production of Acuna and Carroll is simply too good. Acuna is the favorite to win the National League MVP, and Carroll is in the lead in the National League Rookie of the Year race.
Still, Bae is on pace to surpass Choo Shin-Soo as the all-time Korean major league stolen base leader. The previous record for stolen bases in a season by a Korean major leaguer was 22 by Shin-Soo Choo (Cleveland Indians) in 2010. Bae is on pace to surpass Choo and reach 30 or 40 stolen bases for a Korean major leaguer.
Even more surprising is that Shin-Soo Choo was tied for 22nd in the American League in stolen bases in 2010. In 2009 and 2012, when he had 21 steals, he was 20th and 13th in the American League, respectively. When he stole 20 bases in 2013, while still with the Cincinnati Reds, he was 16th in the National League.
Even if Bae doesn’t win the National League stolen base title, the fact that he’s still in second place two months into the season is a huge accomplishment. While it’s true that Major League Baseball has changed this year to encourage running the bases by introducing pitch clocks, banning defensive shifts, and increasing base sizes, Bae is still tied for fifth overall in stolen bases.
Bae stole two bases in March, nine in April, four in May, and four in June. June’s pace is steeper than May’s. Temperatures are rising, and fitness is key. At this point, it’s only a matter of time before he surpasses Shin-Soo Choo and changes the history of stolen bases by a Korean major leaguer. If he stays injury-free and his batting average doesn’t drop dramatically, 2023 could be the season that Bae Bae-hwan truly proves what he can do with his feet.