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Will the era of 40 home runs re-open?
Mel Rojas Jr. of the KT Wiz hit his last homerun in his 40s in 2020. Since then, Choi Jung of SSG Landers has become the home run king with 35 in 2021, and Park Byung-ho of KT has become the home run king with 35 in 2022. Last year, Noh Si-hwan of the Hanwha Eagles won the home run king, which was the lowest number of home runs since Park Byung-ho (31) in 2012.
Foreign hitters have also declined. In 2020, when Rojas became the home run king, Roberto Ramos of the LG Twins hit 38 pitches, while Preston Tucker of the KIA Tigers and Jamie Romak of the SK Wyverns hit 32. Aaron Alter of the NC Dinos also hit 31 pitches, bringing the number of foreign hitters to five. Alter hit just 31 pitches alone in 2021, and Jose Pirella of the Samsung Lions hit 28 pitches in 2022, ranking second in home runs. Last year, LG Austin Dean had 23 pitches, ranking third overall, and No. 1 in foreign hitters.
The recent trend of foreign batters puts more weight on accuracy than on big guns. This is because there are very few cases where a big gun is brought in and successfully signed. Ramos also succeeded in renewing his contract in 2020 but was eventually forced out in 2021 due to sluggishness and injury. Recently, he prefers batters with good accuracy such as Pirellana Austin and Kia's Socrates Brito. The ability to defend is also important.
For the Doosan Bears, Jose Rojas, who played last year, hit 19 home runs in the second half, but tried to select an outfielder with good defense and eventually chose Henry Ramos.
Mel Rojas Jr., who returned to KT, is by far the most prominent foreign hitter this season.
After receiving the MVP award in 2020, KT has confirmed that although he has not displayed stellar performance in Japan and virtually rested last year, he is in good physical condition and bat speed in the winter league. Even if he fails to show off his performance in 2020, he expects that he will be able to overwhelm his opponent more than Anthony Ralford, who played last year.
Infielder David McKinnon, who came to Samsung, also has high expectations for home runs. He hit 15 home runs for the Seibu Lions. As Daegu Samsung Lions Park is a stadium where many home runs occur, I am curious about the number of McKinnon's home runs.
NC also recruited Matt Davidson. NC brought in Jason Martin, who hit 32 home runs in Triple-A last year due to lack of power among Korean hitters, but Martin only hit 17. This time again, the team focused on powerhouse pitching and brought in Davidson. The team recorded 54 home runs in 311 games in the Major League, including 26 in 2017 and 20 in 2018, and 226 in total in the Minor League.
Korean home runners should also look forward to it. The growth of Noh Si-hwan, who became the home run king, is drawing keen attention, and we are also curious about the home run parade of SSG Choi Jeong, which will rank No. 1 overall in home runs by Lee Seung-yeop during the season. The synergy of home runs between Rojas and Park Byung-ho is also drawing keen attention.
The revival of Doosan Bears' Kim Jae-hwan, who had only 10 homers last year, also raises questions. He made us expect to see his change after learning at Kang`s school in the U.S.
Home run king competition between old home run king and new hitters. Will the era of 40 home runs open again
Sunday, January 28, 2024