Saturday, 30th September 2023

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A surprise appearance of a safe room master + a returned genius + a different international student… Young blood is boiling, and the future of KIA is on the line.

For the second year in a row, the fall baseball challenge is a thorny road.

After the collapse of the 5 percent winning percentage, the KIA Tigers’ steps are heavy. It’s been a while since they’ve tried to reorganize and change their roster amid a lack of foreign starters and closers, but a rebound is elusive. Adonis Medina (27) is practically on his way out, and closer Jung Hae-young still needs time. In the meantime, captain Kim Sun-bin (34) is out with an injury. Now down to eighth place, three games behind fourth-placed Lotte, KIA still has hope, but the chase for ninth-placed Hanwha, which is 2.5 games behind, is also threatening.안전놀이터

However, it hasn’t all been bad news for Kia lately. The team has been energized by its younger players.

◇Sports Chosun DB
The recent performance of catcher Shin Beom-soo (25) is noteworthy. When he was called up last month, the general consensus was that he would only be a backup to Han Seung-taek (29). However, armed with eagerness, he gradually increased his playing time and is now the de facto No. 1 catcher. He has been steadily improving his pitching and defense as time goes on, and he is also showing a bit of a workhorse attitude at the plate, hitting a single at every crucial moment. After free agent Park Dong-won left the team, the catcher position seemed to be KIA’s biggest weakness, but Shin Bum-soo is providing solace from that problem.

◇Sports Chosun DB
‘Genius’ Kim Do-young (20), who returned from injury, is also in a good rhythm. He recorded a multi-hit game against KT in Gwangju on the 23rd, his first game back in the first team, and continued his multi-hit streak with two doubles on the 24th. After fracturing his left metatarsal, it was unclear whether he would return in the first half of the season, but he made a quick recovery using his youth as a weapon, but it was expected that his performance in the first team would take time. There were also concerns that his struggles in the offense last year, his debut season, would reappear in his injury absence. However, Kim has shown quick adaptability not only in attack but also in defense, making the KIA bench smile.

◇Sports Chosun DB
Left-hander Choi Ji-min (20) has also continued his evolution into a must-win pitcher. After raising expectations with his stellar performance in last year’s exhibition games and then collapsing with pitching anxiety after the start of the season, Choi regained his confidence through the Hampyeong Pitching School and the Australian Baseball League (ABL) Geelong Korea during the offseason and has been playing a pivotal role in the first-team bullpen this season. A series of blowouts in early June raised some eyebrows, but he has regained his composure recently. On June 24 against KT, he came in with the tying run in scoring position and struck out the “national bullpen” Park Byung-ho.

KIA has always had a strong image as a team led by veterans. Yang Hyun-jong (35) on the mound and Choi Hyung-woo (40) and Na Sung-beom (34) in the batting order are still the centerpieces. However, the younger players have recently injected a lot of energy that the veterans can’t provide. The future is bright for KIA, even in the midst of a difficult and challenging season.

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