2022 KBO League MVP Lee Jung-hoo (24) is a contact hitter. His 23 home runs and slugging percentage are as high as 0.575, but he cannot be considered a 메이저놀이터 power hitter.
Last year, he participated in 142 games and recorded a batting average of 0.349. There is something to note here. He only struck out 32 in 553 at-bats. This is equivalent to one strikeout in 17.2 at-bats. This is a record that is almost unheard of in the major leagues. Besides, he hit 23 home runs. It is proof that all pitchers in the KBO League can make contact.
Contact heaters have fewer strikeouts because they are literally good at making contacts. 1 MLB batting average in 2022 (0.326) New York Mets Jeff McNeil showed the essence of contact with 61 strikeouts.
The hitter with the fewest strikeouts in MLB history is San Diego Padres Tony Gwynn (short), known as the “hitting machine.” Gwynn played in 2440 games during his 20-year MLB career (1982-2001). He has 34 games with 2 strikeouts in a game. Three strikeouts in one game is just one game. The only time he struck out three was on April 14, 1986, by Los Angeles Dodgers fastball pitcher Bob Welch.
Gwynn, who won the batting title eight times, recorded 434 strikeouts in his career. 1 strikeout in 21.4 at bats. He was MLB’s certified hitter when it comes to contact ability.
Ichiro Suzuki, who moved from Japanese professional baseball to MLB, is also a representative contact hitter. After his debut, he established an MLB record of 200 hits for 10 consecutive years. However, Ichiro strikes out far more than Gwynn. He struck out 1080 in 9934 career at bats. He has one strikeout in 9.2 at-bats.
Lee Jung-hoo heads to LA next week with his father, coach Lee Jong-beom. Training for the 2023 season begins early in the United States. It can be said that it is part of the paving stone to advance to the MLB with a post after the 2023 season. Since Kiwoom starts spring training in Scottsdale, Arizona in February, it is convenient to move around.
When Lee Jung-hoo gets struck out by pitchers in the KBO League, it’s news, but it’s easy to see in MLB. As revealed in the case of seniors Choo Shin-soo, Choi Ji-man, and Kim Ha-seong, three strikeouts in a game is also a basic rule. It is not easy to make contact with a fast ball over 155km and a breaking ball with a large drop.
Occasionally you’ll see MLB hitters swing and miss a ridiculous one-bound ball. This is because the bat goes out on the breaking ball while expecting a fast ball. It is difficult to hit a fastball of 160km without ‘guess hitting’.
Ha-seong Kim of the San Diego Padres often says, “I hit in mid-time.” It means preparing for fastballs and breaking balls with medium timing. MLB hitters don’t understand this. MLB has to choose one of the two. The restraints of pitchers in the KBO League are such a preparation.
Kang Jung-ho and Kim Ha-seong, who entered the MLB through posting, also had a high batting average and power in Korea. He had excellent contact ability and had few strikeouts. However, the number of strikeouts naturally increased in MLB.
In the case of Kim Ha-seong, he debuted at Kiwoom in 2014 and recorded three-digit strikeouts only once in the 7 years. He hit 19 home runs in his first double digits in his 2015 debut while striking out 115. On the year, he was striking out 4.4 per at bat. Since then, he has not struck out in triple digits. In 2020, right before he made his way to MLB, he had 30 home runs and just 68 strikeouts.
It is 100 strikeouts in 517 at-bats in 2022, when the hit was recovered by advancing to the MLB. He also experienced three strikeouts twice in one game. In the 2021 season, he played fewer games, striking out 71 in 267 at-bats.
MLB hitters aren’t afraid to strike out. Pitchers love the ball so much that strikeouts are taken for granted. The important point is hitting in the clutch situation.