Ahead of last season, Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan, the home ground of the Lotte Giants, underwent a major change. As the home plate was pulled toward the headquarters, the distance between the home plate and the outfield fence increased. Here, the height of the outfield fence, which was 4.8m, was raised to 6m.
As much as it has been transformed into a more favorable stadium for pitchers, it has become a difficult field for hitters to produce home runs. This was evident in the record. According to Statties, a site specializing in KBO league records, Lotte’s number of home runs has drastically decreased from 72 in 2021 (second most) to 44 last year (minimum third).
You can feel the change in the stadium just by looking at the number of home runs in the last two seasons of Park Se-woong, the “core of the starting lineup” (10 home runs in 76⅓ innings in 2021 → 3 home runs in 81⅔ innings in 2022). However, Lotte’s final ranking was 8th, still far from fall baseball.
Change is half-success, task remains at the same time
. It was not enough to hit fewer home runs. Lotte’s home game slugging percentage was still high, with 0.422 (lowest) in 2021 → 0.405 (9th) last year. Lotte is the only team with a slugging average of 0.4 or higher in both recent seasons. 헤라카지노
Two main causes can be found. The first is the increase in long hits other than home runs. Following last year (130), he gave up the most doubles (141) in the league, and the number of triples, an exact double increase from the previous year, was 14 (2nd most).
It can be seen that the ball that is supposed to be a home run hits the fence directly and leads to a double or triple hit, or you have to think about the situation in the outfield that was not stable. During the season, a foreign hitter was replaced by Jack Rex from DJ Peters, and it was a season that gave many opportunities to new faces such as Seongbin Hwang and Seungmin Ko. In the case of Hwang Seong-bin, he committed 7 errors in 691⅔ innings, and the adaptation period to the first team was somewhat difficult.
The second is the pitcher’s fault for not taking advantage of the change in pitch. Compared to the club’s efforts, it failed to produce noticeable results. 272 walks (fourth most), 45 balls hit (second most), 1.56 on-base percentage per inning (worst), 0.363 on-base percentage (worst), everything was bad.
Ironically, Lotte Mound’s performance was better on the road. Most of the home runs (40, at least 1st), ERA (3.73, 4th), on-base percentage (0.327, 4th), and slugging percentage (0.362, 4th) were mostly in compliance.
Lotte’s number of victories, which wanted to make up for its shortcomings, could work? In October of last year, pitcher Park Se-woong (a total of 9 billion won over 5 years) started aggressive investment with a non-FA multi-year contract. After that, he had outside FA (free agent) catcher Yoo Gang-nam (4 years total of 8 billion won), infielder Roh Jin-hyuk (4 years total of 5 billion won), and pitcher Han Hyun-hee (3+1 year maximum of 4 billion won) in turn.
Prior to Lotte, there were three cases in which all three outside free agents were recruited: Hanwha Eagles (Kwon Hyuk, Song Eun-beom, Bae Young-soo) and kt Wiz (Park Kyung-soo, Park Ki-hyuk, Kim Sa-yul) in 2015, and Hanwha (Chae Eun-seong, Lee Tae-yang, Oh Seon-jin) this year. . However, in terms of the total amount alone, Lotte (17 billion won) is more than the previous case, and if Park Se-woong’s contract is included, the amount Lotte has poured in this winter alone reaches 26 billion won.
After Kang Min-ho (Samsung Lions), who was active as the main catcher, left the team as a free agent, Lotte suffered from a ‘catcher crisis’ for a while. It is expected that Yoo Kang-nam’s true value will be displayed not only in offense but also in defense such as high-level framing. The addition of Noh Jin-hyeok, who can play the left infield (third base, shortstop) in defense, was a great help to Lotte, who wanted to strengthen the defense.
Lotte’s idea is that the addition of Han Hyun-hee, who remains a question mark, will serve as an opportunity to inspire the player and the existing pitchers. Since the 4th and 5th starters have not yet been decided, pitchers excluding Park Se-woong will have to compete fiercely in the spring camp that will be held from next month.
In addition to free agents, six players were recruited, and Ahn Kwon-soo, who played as an outfielder for the Doosan Bears, wore a Lotte uniform. At this point, the club has done everything they can. The environment of the stadium was changed according to the characteristics of the team, and even recruited to compensate for the shortcomings. Now is the time to bring that to fruition. It is time for players to show their results.