The best defenders are two, but the position is one. The Korean national team chose experience.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced the final 30-man list for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) on the 4th.

Among the selected members, a total of 5 outfielders boarded the outfield, including Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom Heroes) Kim Hyun-soo, Park Hae-min (above LG Twins) Na Seong-beom (KIA Tigers) and Park Gun-woo (NC Dinos).

The outfield is where the best hitters in the KBO League last season gathered. Outfielders occupied all of the first to fourth places among fielders in WAR (contribution to victory over substitute players), a player’s overall performance indicator. Lee Jeong-hoo, who won 5 double hitting crowns, regular season MVP (most valuable player), and outfielder Golden Glove winner, and Na Seong-beom, who also won the Golden Glove, respectively, ranked 1st (8.53) and 3rd (6.74, based on Sports To I) respectively. did. Here, veteran Kim Hyeon-soo, who has been participating as a national team member since 2008, will join the two on the international stage.

Park Geon-woo, who is expected to be the fourth outfielder, also excels at batting. Last year, when he signed a contract with NC as a free agent (free agent) for 6 years and 10 billion won, he only participated in 111 games due to an injury, but his batting average was 0.331, ranking 3rd overall and living up to his name. All the other outfielders are left-handed hitters, so they can play their part as right-handed hitters. 스포츠토토

If four people were selected based on the role of ‘batter’, only one person was expected to play in defense and running and made the national team. Park Hae-min had a batting average of 0.289 last year with 3 homers, far behind the other four players in batting average. Instead, he has a total of 342 stolen bases, and his outfield defense, which is evaluated as the best in the league, is different.

In a phone call with Ilgan Sports, Technical Committee Chairman Beom-Hyeon Cho said, “The outfield of the national team is made up of the best hitters in the league.” I think I saw that he would play the role of a substitute runner and pinch hitter,” he explained.

However, there is one player who is disappointing to board. This is Choi Ji-hoon, who was active as the main outfielder for SSG Landers last year. Choi Ji-hoon recorded a batting average of 0.302, 10 home runs, and 31 stolen bases, leaving a good record of WAR 5.48 (fourth overall fielder). In particular, in defense, Park Hae-min and Gyeon-ju showed top-notch defense while playing left, middle, and right. After the season, he won various awards for defense, including the Real Glove Award for two consecutive years.

It is not that the national team did not consider selecting Choi Ji-hoon. Technical Committee Chairman Beom-Hyun Cho said, “Choi Ji-Hoon is also the candidate that the technical committee and coaching staff have been thinking about until the end. However, the coaching staff evaluated that Haemin was slightly better than Jihoon in terms of experience. He said, “Hae-min probably has the experience of going to the national team first.”

As Chairman Cho said, Park Hae-min has two national team experiences. He also went through the same period as Choi Ji-hoon and got on the national team. Having been a first-team outfielder since 2014, he only wore the Taegeuk mark for the first time at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. Even after being recognized for his quick feet and defense, its value was recognized belatedly. Although he was not a main player in the 2018 Asian Games, he played more than his role with a batting average of 0.429 (3 hits in 7 at-bats) in 6 games, followed by a batting average of 0.440 in 7 games (11 hits in 25 at-bats) at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, proving his ‘national constitution’.

I had to swallow my regrets, but Choi Ji-hoon’s own competitiveness was confirmed as he was mentioned as a final candidate. If he continues his performance last year, it is only a matter of time before he, in his 20s, is recognized as the best “defensive specialist” in the KBO League.

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