“Geumgang Bulguk, strong body” Na Sung-bum? Kim Do-young? Kia’s 40-year-old batting coach is still a ‘crazy presence’
“He’s a golden bullet, and his body is strong.”
It’s true that the KIA batting lineup has been more productive since Na Sung-beom and Kim Do-young joined the team in late June. With the two anchoring the top two spots in the batting order, the connection between the bottom of the order and the top of the order, and the top of the order and the cleanup trio, has become smoother and more synergistic.
In addition, the lower batting lineup has been strengthened by the return of Kim Sun-bin and the addition of Kim Tae-gun. Against NC on the 25th and 26th, even the leadoff hitter Choi Won-jun, who had been struggling, hit well. Kim Do-young, who suffered an ankle contusion in the 25th game, also showed his health.
However, Lee Woo-sung hasn’t looked good in July, and Kim hasn’t been able to find his groove after shaking off a thumb injury. Socrates Brito has been good overall, but he’s also been prone to leaving runners on base in crucial situations, so the power of the center field lineup isn’t maximized.
This leads to the conclusion that Choi Hyung-woo is needed. Choi hasn’t been great in July. Through the 25th, he was 9-for-38 with a .237 batting average, two home runs, five RBIs, and eight runs scored, his slowest pace since the start of the season. However, on the 26th, he showed his best form in a long time, hitting a crucial three-run shot against Song Myung-ki in his first at-bat.
What’s more, Choi pushed a poorly pitched forked ball from Song Myung-ki to left field without forcing the pull. He still has natural power and can clear the fence if he gets a good hit. In the second inning, Choi calmly pressured his opponent by picking off a grounder.
Choi is a seasoned veteran, and he has a manual for handling situations. He knows how to contribute to the team when he’s not hitting well. He never forces himself to take a full swing. In the 25th game, he even played left field for the first time in a long time, giving the juniors a break.
Coach Kim Jong-kook said, “Hyung-woo is a golden boy. His body is strong. His skill is the same. He is an example for the younger players.” In fact, since 2008, when Choi made the jump to the main roster, he has played fewer than 120 games per year only three times (113 in 2009, 113 in 2014, and 104 in 2021).
This season, he’s played in 78 of the team’s 79 games. He’s poised to play more than 140 games. Of course, Kim said, “The weather is getting hotter, so we have to give him a break from time to time,” but there are only so many days he can give him a break in the midst of a fierce late-season top-five battle. He’s a veteran who does his job when he’s on the field, so while fitness is important, he still has a big role to play on the field.온라인바카라
For Choi, it’s still the hardest for the team to lose. “It’s frustrating to lose when you know you can win if you do a little more. It’s most important for the center fielder to hit steadily,” he said. Choi laughs and says, “I don’t have any aches and pains. If you can’t play even if you have a sore spot, you should quit.”