The first home run of the ‘Outfielder King’ turned out to be a ‘Future Monster’ with an OPS of over 11 [1mm in the field by Yoo Yoo-hyung].

On the 14th, LG’s Hong Chang-ki unleashed a masquerade of home runs.

Although he was ranked among the top hitters in all categories this season with a .331 average of 123 hits, 49 RBI, 81 runs scored, 16 doubles, 64 walks, a .450 on-base percentage, a .427 OPS, and a .877 wRC+ of 168.6, he was the only hitter in the lineup without a home run. When he hit his first home run of the season after 97 games, his teammates excluded him from the ceremonial celebration.토토사이트

However, it’s probably more accurate to say that Hong’s homeruns were more of an anomaly than a fluke. He was once a hitter in the Futures League with a mid-six figures on-base percentage and an OPS over 11. That was back in 2017 with the National Police Agency.

Hong Chang-ki was a pitcher at Ansan Public High School, but he suddenly switched to hitting in his senior year of high school when Ipsus came along. He batted .425 in his senior year, which wasn’t bad, but because Ansan Gongo was an underdog team, he rarely played in national tournaments and didn’t have many opportunities to show scouts his skills. As a result, he went undrafted in the 2011 rookie draft and enrolled at Konkuk University. As a result of his dedication to hitting in college, he posted a .339 career batting average in college, earning LG’s second third-round pick in the 2016 rookie draft.

Hong Chang-ki, who is also good at surprise bunts. Photo by Yoo Eun-hyung

Hong is ranked seventh in stolen bases with 16. Photo by Yoo Eugyeong-hyung

From his first year in the organization, the 2016 season, Hong showed promise. He batted in the triple digits in the Futures League and had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of over 1, demonstrating his talent as a leadoff hitter. However, LG’s outfield was already saturated and there was no place for him on the first team. After graduating from college, Hong joined the National Police Baseball Organization the following year to deal with his military commitments.

He began to make his presence known by bombing the Futures League. In 92 games in 2017, he batted .401 with 109 hits, 82 RBIs, 73 runs scored, and a .510 OPS. He hit 13 home runs and slugged .654, especially after joining the organization, as his power increased. In 2018, he showed his potential as a big hitter with nine home runs and a 0.496 on-base percentage.

LG had a lot of questions about Hong Chang-ki after he returned from the military. The question was whether to develop him into a mid-to-long-range hitter like Kim Hyun-soo or a big bat like Park Byung-ho. After much deliberation, the players and coaches chose Hong’s eye for the ball, which has a high strikeout rate, and he changed his batting mechanics to hit for accuracy instead of home runs.

Hong leads the team in doubles with 29. Photo by Yoo Eun-hyung

The selection was perfect. Hong’s foresight in picking the ball was astonishing. Most of the time, the bat didn’t come up on pitches that weren’t strikes. He made the opposing pitcher work harder by throwing more pitches, and swung at pitches in his own strike zone for hits. It was the best leadoff style with a high strikeout rate. 

This season has been no different. He’s on pace to be even better than the season he won the Golden Glove in 2021. At this rate, he’s on pace to break all the personal records he set in 2021.

The right choices and focus after his stint with the National Police Baseball Organization have made him one of the best leadoff hitters in the league.

[1] Hong Chang-ki, the best leadoff hitter in the league, is having a career-high season. Photo by Eugene Hyung

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