It is true that objective power has declined. The best catcher who led the combined championship in 2020 left, and a foreign ace also advanced to the major leagues (MLB). However, we are looking for answers through change and growth. We hope that the new main catcher will show his presence as the number 2 hitter and that young pitchers will play an active role in more important positions. NC coach Kang In-kwon revealed how he is envisioning the 2023 season.
On the 18th (Korean time), during the spring camp held at Annex Field in Tucson, Arizona, USA, Coach Kang told the batting order and pitching staff the key players he had in mind.
Manager Kang, who is ahead of his first season as a regular manager rather than an acting manager, said, “I am currently thinking about the second batting order. He first thought of (Son) Ah-seop, but Ah-seop wanted number 3 rather than number 2. So, he is currently looking at Park Se-hyeok for number 2. As a left-handed hitter, he has an advantage in hitting balls to the right and is a hitter who can also hit balls to the left. He may have a burden on the defense, but I will try Park Se-hyeok’s No. 2 card.”
Park Se-hyuk moved to NC as Yang Eui-ji signed a free agent (FA) contract with Doosan. He signed with NC for 4 years and up to 4.6 billion won and wore his second professional uniform. Last year, Park Se-hyuk recorded a batting average of 0.248 and an on-base percentage of 0.320. Park Min-woo and Park Se-hyuk are expected to serve as table setters, and Son A-seop, Park Kun-woo, and Jason Martin will be placed in the cleanup.
The infield was designed with first bas토토사이트eman Oh Young-soo, second baseman Park Min-woo, third baseman Park Seok-min, and shortstop Kim Joo-won. Coach Kang said, “Kim Joo-won has ambitions for the national team in the future, including the Asian Games. I expect that he will grow more and become a good season,” predicting Kim Joo-won’s steady growth. Switch hitter Kim Joo-won had a batting average of 0.227 last year, but he hit far and ran well with 10 homers and 10 stolen bases. With an OPS of .723, he had the third-highest OPS among all 10 starting shortstops.
He expects a leap of young blood even on the mound. Director Kang said of Lee Jun-ho, a rookie college graduate, “I really like it. Although he is a rookie, he has good control and position. He said that Lee Jun-ho is competing with Song Myeong-ki, Shin Min-hyuk, Choi Seong-young, Shin Young-woo, and Lee Jae-hak as starting pitchers. Lee Jun-ho, who was nominated in the 6th round of the 2023 rookie draft, was ranked next to Kim Yu-seong among college pitchers at the time. His main weapon is a fastball in the mid to late 140km range and a slider with a large angle. As Koo Chang-mo participated as a member of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team, candidates for the starting lineup are expected to continue to pitch during the demonstration game.
Due to the WBC, the finisher is also vacant during the exhibition match. Coach Kang expected Si-Hun Kim to be the closer after Yong-Chan Lee, and implied that Si-Hoon Kim could serve as the closer when Lee Yong-Chan was absent.
He said, “Usually pitchers want to start. Sihun also said he wanted to be selected,” he said. “But he saw that he was more competitive in the middle. I hope that Sihun will become an NC finisher in the future as he plays an active role from the setup man position.” Kim Si-hoon, who played both selection and relief last year, recorded an average ERA of 4.83 in starting and 2.26 in relief.