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f you were to choose the most fearsome hitter in the KT Wiz right now, you would probably choose Jang Seong-woo, Bae Jeong-dae, and Moon Sang-cheol.
The most notable person among them is catcher Jang Seong-woo. First of all, the batting order stands out. He's a catcher and he bats number five. He is a central batsman. KT coach Lee Kang-cheol announced the starting lineup during the first game of the playoffs against NC Dinos and said, "I was worried about putting Jang Seong-woo at number 3, but he is a catcher, so considering his physical strength, I placed him at number 5." Jang Seong-woo was most often placed in the 5th batting order in this year's regular league. The reason is because his contact ability is good and he is good at making balls in play. He has a good ability to produce results even when given chances. This season, he posted a batting average of .208, 8 ERA, 11 home runs, and 65 RBIs. He also has a good OPS of 0.773. His slugging percentage is not high because his legs are not fast and he does not have many long hits such as doubles, but he hit decently.
That contact ability is on display in his postseason. Jang Seong-woo, who performed well in the playoffs with a batting average of .333 (6 hits in 18 at-bats), 1 home run, and 2 RBIs, is continuing his good batting skills in the Korean Series. He has 3 hits in 7 at-bats (batting average of 0.429), 1 double, and 3 RBI in the first and second games. He hit a tying hit to right-center in the top of the 4th inning when the team was down 1-2 in Game 1, and in Game 2, he hit a 2-RBI double to left with 1 out and bases loaded in the top of the 1st inning.
When asked about the secret to good batting, Jang Seong-woo said, "Rather than having a good batting feel, I think I'm getting good results because I think a lot about connecting with my friends like (Moon) Sang-cheol and (Bae) Jeong-dae who are doing well in the lower batting lineup." .
During the regular season, his steal-blocking rate was 14.6%, which was the lowest among catchers who played in more than 100 games. He recorded a 100% stealing-blocking rate by catching both steal attempts, once in the playoffs and once in the Korean Series. It's in progress. He caught Kim Joo-won's stolen second base, who had 15 stolen bases in Game 3 of the playoffs, and cleanly stole Shin Min-jae's second base, who ranked second with 32 stolen bases in Game 2 of the Korean Series.
When asked Jang Seong-woo's secret, he said, "Actually, the opponent can't play comfortably compared to the regular season. Because it's a really big game, I thought I couldn't play easily because one baserunner is so big. Even when our team won the championship two years ago, “It was, and still is, what I talk to the pitchers about is, ‘When did we do a good job of blocking runners, stealing bases, winning games, and getting good results? We feel more at ease and say, if we are in a situation where we have to give, let’s give the ball and catch the batter. All we have to do is catch the batter,’” he said.
Coach Lee Kang-cheol directly said, “We have prepared something,” and Jang Seong-woo also said, “We made signs about the opponent running and maneuvering a lot, but that is a problem for later. First, we should do what we do, not worry about runners and catch the batters we are good at. “It’s about playing baseball,” he said. Rather, the secret was not to pay too much attention.
As a catcher, Reed is also receiving rave reviews. After winning the first game, Manager Lee Kang-cheol praised Jang Seong-woo, saying, "When Park Hae-min was at bat with 2 outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd base in the bottom of the 4th inning, Jang Seong-woo's ball combination helped us overcome the crisis." At that time, Go Young-pyo threw the first pitch, a change-up, to Park Hae-min and then threw six straight fastballs. Two strikes in a row from 3 balls for a full count. Park Hae-min swung the bat at consecutive fastballs, but all fouls. And on the 8th pitch, he finally threw a change-up and struck out on a missed swing. It was a victory of bold ball combination.
The ball combination was also nothing special for him. Jang Seong-woo said, “There is no right answer to the ball combination, and rather than preparing in advance, I checked the condition and reactions of the batters during the game, and I think the results were good because what I thought matched well.”
As a result, the reason why both offense and defense are performing well in the postseason is because they are doing 'the same thing' as they did in the regular league. Rather, Jang Seong-woo is not nervous and is showing off his skills in big games, which is leading to good results.
Friday, November 10, 2023