Through 24 days, LG’s team OPS (team on-base percentage + team slugging percentage) for the season stands at 0.781. That’s a huge gap from the league average (.692), and a huge gap from second-place NC (.722) and third-place KIA (.678). Right now, LG’s bats are producing some of the best runs in the history of the KBO, not just in 2023.
However, there’s something strange about their stats. It’s the performance of Kim Hyun-soo (35), one of the team’s key hitters and one of the best hitters in the KBO. Through 24 days, his season OPS is 0.775. That’s actually below the team average. Given Kim’s reputation, Kim’s skill, and Kim’s importance to the team, this shouldn’t be happening, but it is.
He got off to a great start in April, batting .400 with a 1.023 OPS in 23 games and leading a revitalised team batting order. He was one of the few players to escape the World Baseball Classic (WBC) aftereffects, but in May, the momentum was completely lost. The graphs dug in.
Kim’s hitless streak is uncharacteristically long, and his bat hasn’t rebounded as strongly since he broke out of it. After 15 games in May, Kim’s batting average is just 0.169, and his OPS is dead last at 0.428. He doesn’t have a single home run. He’s batting .169 with a .186 on-base percentage. Kim’s reputation as one of the league’s best middle-of-the-order hitters is nowhere to be found, at least not on his May report card.메이저놀이터
A four- or five-game slump can happen to any superstar. But for a superstar of Hyun-Soo Kim’s stature to struggle throughout May is hard to understand. It’s true that he’s not feeling well, but he’s not out of the game. The fact that he continues to start is proof of that. It”s all a matter of timing. The hitting machine is faulty
LG manager Yoon Kyung-yeop said of Kim Hyun-soo’s batting before the Incheon SSG game on the 25th: “At the worst time, his head is chasing. If your head moves, you can’t make an in-out swing. If you can’t swing in and out, you’ll hit it (the bat) down, so you’ll get a lot of ground balls. The line (of the bat trajectory) doesn’t come out,” he said, diagnosing his current condition. “Even Kim Hyun-soo knows the quality of his batting when he’s not feeling well.”
What keeps him in the starting lineup is not that he doesn’t know it, but that he does. If you know what’s wrong with your swing and your hitting balance, you can keep working on it and eventually find your swing. It’s not like a player who doesn’t know what the problem is. It’s also a sign of trust in Kim.
“He knows exactly when he’s not doing well, so his slumps will get shorter and shorter. If you don’t know, you have to keep looking for what’s wrong, and he knows exactly what’s wrong.”
Kim Hyun-soo also started on the 25th, but he didn’t have a clue. He went 0-for-4 on the day. He didn’t get on base except for a single in his first at-bat. He had two ground balls and two powerless fly balls. He hadn’t found his swing yet, and it showed in the “quality and direction” of his at-bats. The sooner Kim Hyun-soo gets back on track, the sooner LG will be able to continue its explosiveness. Everyone is waiting for that point to come sooner rather than later.
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