Will Kim Seok-hwan (24, KIA) be given a chance to return to the first team?
KIA left-handed slugging prospect Kim Seok-hwan has been struggling in the Futures League this year, unable to break through the first team barrier. Park Heung-sik, who now coaches hitters at Lotte, made headlines when he revealed that Kim’s swing was similar to Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop’s when he was in the KIA first and second teams.
Upon his arrival in the 2022 season, Kim Jong-kook set his sights on Kim Seok-hwan as he searched for a left fielder. As it turns out, Kim was just as highly touted as Kim Do-young at the time. His performance in the exhibition games raised expectations, and Kim consistently used him in left field for the first month of the season. He batted seventh or eighth.
However, he failed miserably and was never called up to the first team again. As a hitter who needs to hit to win, it’s not easy to survive in the first team if you can’t hit. It’s the same now. He’s only played four games for the first team this year. He was only in the first team for 12 days, including four days in early April and eight days between May 30 and June 6.
He went 1-for-14 with a .071 batting average, two RBIs, and one run scored. A 0-for-7, five-strikeout performance against the Busan Lotte on June 2-3 was the final straw, and Kim hasn’t been given another chance with the first team since. SBS Sports commentator Lee Soon-cheol, who broadcast the game, criticized Kim’s ability to hit changeups.
While Lee Woo-sung has established himself in left field, it doesn’t mean that Hwang Dae-in or Byun Woo-hyuk have established themselves at first base. Kim Seok-hwan missed a golden opportunity to establish himself in the first team. Today, KIA’s first base is manned by the returning Choi Won-jun, but in the long run, Choi should move to the outfield. In the long run, there is still no clear-cut first baseman for KIA.
Kim Seok-hwan has been quietly bombing in the Future League lately. In his last 10 games, he’s 16-for-32 with a .500 batting average, two home runs, 21 RBIs and eight runs scored. In 62 games this season, he’s 210-for-59 with a .281 batting average, 12 homers, 52 RBIs, 33 runs scored, a .510 on-base percentage, a .386 slugging percentage, and an OPS of .896.
He’s in the Futures League, but he has a cool swing that doesn’t strike out. He’s showing some of his natural ability. However, he’s not a great strikeout hitter, so even when he bombed the second base line, his OPS didn’t go over 0.9.
The second-team coaching staff must have made some sort of evaluation and reported to the first-team manager, Kim Jong-kook. A player should never be called up to the first team based on his numbers alone. The content is more important than the numbers. Any coach would love to have a good report from the second team.
It’s hard to know what the Kia second team thought of Kim. If he doesn’t make it past this stage, there’s a good chance he won’t make the first team. However, there is still a chance that he could appeal again for the September expansion draft. Furthermore, KIA has the variable of Choi Won-jun being sent to the Hangzhou Asian Games.안전놀이터
They will be without their starting first baseman at the end of the season, a crucial time for the standings. The competition between Hwang Dae-in and Byun Woo-hyuk, who is currently in the first team, will reignite. If Kim Seok-hwan continues to hit well in September, there’s no reason why he can’t make the first team at the end of the season and add to the competition for first base. Even if he doesn’t make the first team again this year, his development is still important for next year and the future. Whether you’re a lefty or righty, big bat prospects are valuable.