Through 24 days, LG’s team OPS (team slugging percentage + team on-base percentage) for the season stands at .781. That’s a huge gap from the league average (.692), and a huge gap from second-place NC (.722) and third-place KIA (.678). Right now, LG’s offense is producing some of the best runs in the history of the KBO, not just in 2023.
However, there’s something strange about their stats. It’s the performance of Kim Hyun-soo (35), one of the team’s key hitters and one of the best hitters in the KBO. Through 24 days, his season OPS is 0.775. That’s actually below the team average. Given Kim’s reputation, Kim’s skill, and Kim’s importance to the team, this shouldn’t be happening, but it is.
He got off to a great start in April, batting .400 with a 1.023 OPS in 23 games and leading a revitalized team offense. He was one of the few players to escape the World Baseball Classic (WBC) aftereffects, but in May, the momentum was completely lost. The graphs dug in.
Kim’s hitless streaks have been uncharacteristically long, and his bat hasn’t rebounded as strongly once he’s out of them. Through 15 games in May, Kim is batting just .169, and his OPS is dead last at .428. He doesn’t have a single home run. He’s batting .169 with a .186 on-base percentage. Kim’s reputation as one of the best middle-of-the-order hitters in the league is nowhere to be seen, at least not on his May report card.
A 4-5 game slump can happen to any superstar. But for a superstar of Hyun-Soo Kim’s stature to struggle throughout May is hard to understand. It’s true that he’s not feeling well, but it’s not like he can’t play. The fact that he continues to start is proof of that. It”s all a matter of timing. The hitting machine is faulty
LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop said of Kim Hyun-soo’s batting before the Incheon SSG game on May 25, “At the worst time, his head is chasing. If your head moves, you can’t make an in-out swing. When I can’t swing in and out, I hit the bat down, so I get a lot of ground balls. The line (of the bat trajectory) doesn’t come out,” he said, diagnosing his current condition. “Even Kim Hyun-soo knows the quality of his batting when he’s not feeling well.”
The only thing that keeps him out of the starting lineup is that he knows it, not that he doesn’t. If you know what’s wrong with your swing and your hitting balance, you can keep working on it and eventually find your swing. It’s not like a player who doesn’t know what the problem is. It’s also a sign of trust in Kim.
“He knows exactly when he’s not doing well, so his slumps will get shorter and shorter. If you don’t know, you have to keep looking for what’s wrong, and he knows exactly what’s wrong.”
Kim Hyun-soo also started the game on the 25th, but he didn’t have a clue. He went 0-for-4 on the day. Aside from a walk in his first at-bat, he didn’t get on base. He had two ground balls and two hard-hit fly balls. He hadn’t found his swing yet, and it showed in the quality and direction of his at-bats. The sooner Kim Hyun-soo gets back on track, the sooner LG can continue its explosive offense. Everyone is waiting for that point to come sooner rather than later. 스포츠토토