The ‘boy wonder’ Choi Jeong (36-SSG) is challenging the ‘up-and-comer’.온라인카지노
Hanwha’s Noh Si-hwan (23) hit his 19th home run of the season against Lotte at home on June 6. His six homers in his last six games have quickly moved him into a tie for first place with the best in the league.
Noh’s upswing is not limited to home runs. As of July 7, he is second in RBIs (56) behind Choi (58), and his on-base percentage (.564) is right behind Choi’s (.577). His OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.961 is also behind Choi (0.973).
Choi, who was drafted by SK (now SSG) in the first round in 2005, won his first individual home run title with 40 in 2016 and has won the home run title three times in 2017 (35) and 2021 (35).
This season, in his 19th year in the league, Choi is on track to win the title once again as he continues to build his home run total. At his current pace, he could win multiple awards in other categories as well.
Enter Noh Si-hwan, who is in his fifth year in the game. After graduating from Gyeongnam High School, Noh was drafted by Hanwha in the second round of the 2019 draft with the third overall pick, and has been touted as a potentially huge prospect since his debut. After hitting double-digit home runs (12) for the first time in 2020 and 18 in 2021 before slowing to six last year, Noh exploded this season, reaching career highs before the All-Star break.
The matchup between the two big hitters at third base is also a welcome one for the league as a whole.
In recent years, the league has seen a dearth of young home run hitters. Last year’s home run leader was 1986-born KT Park Byung-ho with 35, followed by Choi in 2021 and Mel Rojas (formerly of KT) in 2020 with 47. This category is dominated by experienced veteran hitters and foreign players.
The “Beijing Kids,” such as Lotte’s Han Dong-hee and KT’s Kang Baek-ho, have made their mark at the plate, but they haven’t hit long enough to compete for the home run title. Noh Si-hwan was one of the big bat prospects that teams and the league as a whole were hoping to see grow, but this year he is coming out of his “egg”.
The summer will be a watershed moment in the home run battle between the new and old big hitters, as their bodies will be in full swing. Choi Jeong-jeong’s seasoned experience and Noh Si-hwan’s fearsome ambition will clash head-on in the heat of the summer.