‘Top 10 in all seven categories’ sparkles… Hanwha is now the league’s only hitter
Big hitters who hit a lot of home runs tend to have lower batting averages and fewer hits. In order to go the distance, they have to sacrifice a lower batting average and more strikeouts. This makes it difficult for them to perform evenly across the board.
This year, however, there’s an outlier. A high batting average. That means a lot of hits. He also has a lot of walks. That means a high slugging percentage. Lots of home runs. It’s a way to affect your on-base percentage and RBIs, and it’s a way to score runs on your own. There is one player who ranks at the top of all seven of these categories. This year, Noh Si-hwan (23, Korea) has made a strong case for being the best third baseman in the league.
He’s always been a promising prospect, but it’s been a long road. Every year, his batting average increased, but last year, his long balls dropped. No one expects a .280 batting average and 10 home runs from Noh. He fell short of expectations in both batting average and power. But this year is different. He’s moved his batting point forward and is hitting for extra bases, and he’s producing a lot of runs, making him the team’s go-to guy.
Noh had a game that seemed to epitomize his season on April 21 against KIA at Daejeon Hanwha Life Eagles Park. On the day, Noh had two hits, including a wedge solo shot in the eighth inning to make it 6-3. He also drew two walks, including one for a high four. He added two runs scored and one RBI. His OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) is up to .928 this season.메이저사이트
Opponents were wary of Noh, but he didn’t let that stop him from continuing to swing and miss. In the fifth inning, with the bases loaded and Kim Yoo-shin’s changeup up the middle, Noh made precise contact and lined a single to left field. The sixth-inning grand slam was Noh’s second of the season.
Then, in the eighth inning, when he needed a run, he hit a game-winning home run off Yoon Jung-hyun. After calmly watching the outside pitch and picking out two pitches, Noh took a 140-kilometer-per-hour fastball in the zone and smashed it over the left-field fence. The home run was a combination of skill and power that showcased Noh’s recent surge in hitting. It was his second straight home run and third in his last four games.
Noh’s batting average and long balls have exploded this year ⓒKyun Hye-mi Reporter
Noh is expected to perform well at the Hangzhou Asian Games ⓒKyung Hye-mi Kim
The extent to which Noh is doing a great job, at least up to this point, is evident in the personal record leaderboard. With the exception of stolen bases, which is not his specialty, he is evenly distributed among the top seven in all seven categories. He’s literally approaching feats that even the league’s best hitters don’t accomplish, and that only Lee Dae-ho (Lotte), who won seven batting titles in 2010, can do.
As of the 21st, Noh ranks sixth in the league in batting average (.322), sixth in runs scored (41), tied for first in hits (83), third in home runs (13), sixth in RBIs (43), third in on-base percentage (.527), and fifth in slugging percentage (.401). He’s the only player in the league to rank in the “top 10” in all seven hitting categories. Noh’s pace this season is more than we realize.
Sure, he could have a good month or two. But to be performing as well as he is halfway through the season is no fluke, especially when he’s ranked in the top 10 in all seven hitting categories. In April, it was all about batting average and run production; in May, it was all about batting average and long ball production; and in June, it’s all about both.
Noh has been named to the roster for the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, and his participation in the tournament will allow him to make up for the one-day shortfall in 2020. If he performs well at the Games and leads his team to a gold medal, he could literally pave the way. At the same time as Hanhwa is excited by the long-awaited roar of the big guns, Noh’s baseball career is about to take off.