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"Lee Young Min's batting award",

The "Lee Young-min batting award," which selects the best hitter in high school, has a long history of 66 years from 1958 to this year. It is given to players who have the "best batting average" among batters who have played 15 games and 60 or more at the high school baseball weekend league and national high school baseball tournament hosted by the Korea Baseball Softball Association.

Among the winners of the Lee Young-min batting award, the most successful hitters in the league are Choi Jeong (2004, SSG Landers), Kim Hyun-soo (2005, LG Twins), Park Min-woo (2011, NC Dinos), and Kim Hye-sung (2016, Kiwoom Heroes). Following his amateur performances, he continued to live up to his authority in the professional league.

The 2023 Lee Young-min batting award went to Park Ji-wan, a third grader at Dogae High School. Park played in 15 high school baseball games this season and recorded a batting average of 0.545 (30 hits in 55 at-bats). He displayed a good batting average of 0.619 (13 hits in 21 at-bats) in six games in the first half of the high school baseball weekend league, and 0.545 (12 hits in 22 at-bats) in six games in the same region in the second half.

However, Park did not receive a nomination from a professional team. Due to injury, he failed to play in many games during his freshman year and sophomore year, and displayed good batting performance during his junior year, but it was too late to attract the attention of professional teams. Ironically, Park received the highest authority award but failed to be nominated to a pro team.

Only one player has won the award in the past five years. Except for Kim Min-seok (Hwimungo), who wore a uniform for the Lotte Giants last year, all failed to win the award. He is the best hitter in high school who failed to win the nomination. The result certainly does not go well with the most prestigious batter award. There was a curse that Lee Young-min did not succeed in the professional league, but it is a big crisis that he failed to win the nomination. His authority is declining that much.

Why don't we change the criteria for Lee Young-min's batting average? This award is given to hitters who recorded the highest batting average, but since the award is made based on simple batting average, it is also more advantageous for a player who has many infield hits based on contact or fast runners. In addition, due to the nature of the high school leagues by region, the number of games in different regions is not taken into consideration. Another problem is that the number of games per year is too small to judge the "best hitter."

Unlike in the past, when batting average was the best virtue for batters, batting indicators are now more specialized and subdivided than before. OPS, which combines on-base percentage and slugging percentage, has become a familiar indicator for baseball fans, and "adjusted scoring productivity (wRC+)" that takes into account the league's scoring environment can also be easily accessed. Amid various Saber Matrix indicators, some point out that it is somewhat narrow-minded to give the best hitter award by using batting average as the best indicator.

Authority is important as it is a merchant that boasts a long history. In order to maintain authority, it is necessary to select a suitable winner. We are not ignoring the performance of the winners, but it is true that the move is regrettable. As times have changed, stricter and detailed standards are needed. Only then will the expected authority be revived.
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Tuesday, December 19, 2023
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