Kang Baek-ho, eager to restore his honor, will he show his true worth at the WBC?￼
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The Korean baseball team, ahead of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), changed its entry on the 6th. Major Leaguer Choi Ji-man, who was included in the 30-man roster, was unable to participate in the tournament due to opposition from his team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, due to a history of surgery. The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) reviewed the selection of Oh Jae-il (Samsung) or Chae Eun-seong (Hanwha) instead of Choi Ji-man, but eventually included Choi Ji-hoon (SSG) in the entry.
Choi Ji-hoon is a first baseman, but Choi Ji-hoon is an outfielder, not a first baseman. Due to Choi Ji-man’s departure, only Park Byung-ho and Kang Baek-ho (hereinafter referred to as kt) remain as first basemen in the national team, making their performance very important.
In particular, Kang Baek-ho was in a position where he could not guarantee whether or not he would be selected for the WBC national team. The entry for the WBC national team was very similar to the entry for the canceled MLB World Tour Team Korea, which was scheduled to be held in November last year. However, Kang Baek-ho was not included in Team Korea’s entry due to his extreme sluggish performance.
※ KT Kang Baek-ho’s career major records
In 2022, Kang Baek-ho recorded a batting average of 0.245, 6 homers, 29 RBIs, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.683. Since joining kt in 2018 and making his pro debut, his batting average, home runs, RBIs, and OPS all set career lows. It was also the first season in which he did not hit a double-digit home run. WAR (Based on KB Report), which represents the contribution to victory compared to substitute players, was -0.23, which was a negative number. It was a season in which Kang Baek-ho’s reputation as a ‘genius hitter’ was cracked.
Kang Baek-ho’s sluggish performance is analyzed as the biggest cause of injury. Due to a toe fracture right before the opening, he was not included in the opening roster and joined the first team only in early June. In early July, he suffered a thigh injury during a game and returned to the first team in mid-August.
Last year, the period of expungement from the first team entry reached 109 days, including the list of injured players. He only appeared in 62 games, less than half of his 144 regular season appearances. Due to Kang Baek-ho’s injury and sluggishness, kt, which was aiming for a second consecutive victory, was eliminated from the semi-playoffs after finishing the season in 4th place in the regular season.
Kang Baek-ho’s sluggish performance was in stark contrast to Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom), who was a professional one-year senior and was called another ‘genius hitter’ and formed a rivalry. Last year, Lee Jung-hoo won 5 batting crowns in the regular season and won the MVP, and also played a big role in the postseason, leading the team to runner-up in the Korean Series. Lee Jung-hoo continues to evolve every year, but Kang Baek-ho, on the other hand, found it difficult to avoid the cold gaze of walking in place. 먹튀검증
For Kang Baek-ho, the WBC is expected to be a stage for restoring his reputation. It is a good opportunity to shake off the sluggishness of last year’s KBO League as well as the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021. Kang Baek-ho took the heavy responsibility of batting 4 at the Tokyo Olympics and recorded a batting average of 0.308, but failed to prove his slugging power and solving ability with 4 RBIs and an OPS of 0.746 without a home run.
Kang Baek-ho is expected to lead Korean baseball in the future. Attention is focusing on whether Kang Baek-ho will take the lead in regaining the pride of Korean baseball by hitting a home run in the WBC to erase Choi Ji-man’s void.
The Korean baseball team, ahead of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), changed its entry on the 6th. Major Leaguer Choi Ji-man, who was included in the 30-man roster, was unable to participate in the tournament due to opposition from his team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, due to a history of surgery. The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) reviewed…