Kim Do-young and Kim Seok-hwan had a bitter taste. This time, it’s Byun Woo-hyuk’s turn.
Byun Woo-hyeok (23, KIA), a ‘transfer student’, was proudly included in the opening entry announced on the 31st. He had a hard-hitting streak from spring camps in Tucson and Okinawa, and was fine in exhibition games. In 13 games, 10 hits in 36 at-bats, batting average 0.278, 1 home run, 5 RBIs, 3 runs, OPS 0.755.
Byun Woo-hyuk was recognized as a geopo prospect enough to join Hanwha as the 1st nomination in 2019. However, he had a difficult day due to injuries and inability to adapt to the first team. The reason KIA gave up longtime fireball prospect Han Seung-hyeok and received it was because it judged that the potential for growth was infinite. Although he resigned in disgrace, Jang Jeong-seok’s view of Byun Woo-hyeok has been correct so far.
At first, Byun Woo-hyuk seemed to crack the third base of the Ryu Ji-hyeok-Kim Do-young competition system, but he took over the first base guarded by Hwang Dae-in먹튀검증. While Hwang Dae-in was slightly sluggish in the demonstration game, he actually stepped out more as a first baseman. Looking at his progress until the exhibition game, there is a high possibility that Byun Woo-hyuk will be the starting first baseman in the opening match against SSG on the 1st of next month.
The biggest question is whether Byun Woo-hyuk will be able to break the wall of the first team and fully settle down. Even at this time in 2022, KIA dreamed of a rosy future with two batters. The main characters are Kim Do-young, a rookie, and Kim Seok-hwan, a promising left-handed gunner. At the time, Kim Do-young created a sensation by becoming the batting champion and the most hit champion in the demonstration game, and Kim Seok-hwan ranked second in RBIs.
However, Kim Do-young and Kim Seok-hwan could not overcome the wall of the first team right after the opening. As the main third baseman and the main left fielder, he was given full opportunities for a month, but he drank a bitter cup. Kim Do-young had a batting average of 0.179, 4 RBIs, 11 points and 1 stolen base in 22 games last April, and Kim Seok-hwan had a batting average of 0.173, 1 home run, 3 RBIs and 10 points in 19 games last April.
Kim Do-young recalled the demonstration game during the 2022 season and said, “At that time, the seniors just gave it to me to play.” In the exhibition game and the regular season, pitchers’ pitching and pitching patterns are completely different. Based on microscopic analysis, the match is thoroughly based on probability. It was difficult for Kim Do-young and Kim Seok-hwan, who had little experience in the first team, to overcome easily. The way to manage physical strength in long-term races was also inevitable.
Byun Woo-hyeok is also a 23-year-old prospect who has played only 50 games in the first team. He may or may not repeat the cases of Kim Do-young and Kim Seok-hwan in April last year in the coming April. In any case, in the case of Kim Do-young, he is poised to put his pain of last year behind him and establish himself as the main player this year. Whatever the result, it is expected to be a very important experience and time in Byun Woo-hyuk’s baseball life.
For KIA, the sooner Byun Woo-hyuk settles into the first team, the better. He must ultimately become a ‘one man’s man’. And KIA is also in the mood to wait long enough. At the end of the exhibition game, he made an absurd mistake and a noticeable loss in the Busan expedition. It is a natural phenomenon that can be seen in the process of growing up.