Hanwha slotted rookie Moon Hyun-bin into the fifth spot in the batting order from the start of the second half of the NC series against Daejeon on April 21-22. Speaking about Moon, who showed off his good hitting with a two-hit performance against top pitcher Eric Peddy in the first game on the 21st, Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho said, “He definitely has clutch ability. When we have a left-handed starter, (Choi) Jae-hoon will bat fifth, and I think he and Hyun-bin will do that for a while,” Choi said, adding, “Williams needs to hit well.”
It would be desirable to have a foreigner batting in the No. 5 spot, but given the current form of Nick Williams, 30, it may take time. Williams, who made his KBO debut as a substitute last month on April 27, has struggled mightily in 12 games through the NC on April 22, batting 1-for-7 (9-for-51) with one home run, four RBIs, a walk, 14 strikeouts, a .192 on-base percentage, a .294 slugging percentage and a .486 OPS.
It looked like he was adjusting quickly when he hit his first home run against Samsung Electronics in Daegu on March 30, his third game of his debut, but his weaknesses soon became apparent. Former Hanwha manager Kim In-sung, known as “the people’s manager,” praised the team’s eight-game winning streak earlier this month, their first in 18 years, but said of their top-five chances, “Williams is questionable. I don’t think she’s that good a hitter right now. She can hit some slow change, but she is weak against fast balls. I think it will be a factor in Hanwha’s top-five challenge.”
According to Kim, Williams was able to hit the changeup well, but her timing was off against the fastball. The coaching staff, including Choi Won-ho, ordered her to “hit the ball in front of the hitting point because it’s okay to strike out,” but she didn’t improve. The batting order, which started at No. 4, went from No. 2 for one game to No. 7 in the last four games.
Before the first match of the second half of the season against NC on the 21st, Choi Won-ho said, “Williams is copying someone, but she moves her center with a turn in place. When she hits, her body goes backwards and she can’t put weight on her front leg. If she plays her style and hits well, it doesn’t matter, but if she doesn’t, you can’t leave her alone. If it’s not good in this three-game series, I’m going to try to push a little harder in the hitting part,” he said, adding that the coaching staff might intervene over the batting form.
In the two games on Nov. 21-22, Williams went 1-for-4, but all of her at-bats went for extra bases. In the game on the 21st, she responded to the peddle the same way. Choi said, “It was good to see him responding to Pedi’s pitches,” but on the 22nd, he only hit two infield fly balls, which were untimely, and he didn’t show much in the way of cool, long balls.
It’s too early to tell, as he’s only 12 games and 52 at-bats in. “It’s still an adjustment process, and we need to see more,” Choi said. However, it’s concerning that he hasn’t drawn a walk in 52 at-bats, and the quality of his at-bats has been poor. It’s a small sample size, but he’s 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and 7-for-7 with seven strikeouts.
Brian O’Grady, whom Hanwha acquired by waiving Mike Tuckman after he performed adequately last year, has been a major disappointment. O’Grady was released after a 22-game stretch in which he batted 1-for-10 (80 at-bats) with no home runs, eight RBIs, five doubles, 40 walks, a .174 on-base percentage, a .163 slugging percentage, and a .337 OPS, one of the worst in KBO history. 메이저놀이터
There was talk that any player available would be better than O’Grady. Williams, who was acquired just three weeks after O’Grady’s release, is slightly better than O’Grady, but he’s also struggling to adjust as he’s been plagued by a 1-for-10 batting average. If Williams can’t rebound, Hanwha will fall out of the race for the top five.