“The years are going backwards.”
SBS Sports commentator Lee Soon-cheol said this while broadcasting the Lotte-KIA game in Busan on the 3rd. MBC Sports Plus commentator Jung Min-cheol also said, “It’s like he’s not getting any younger.” That’s how good Choi Hyung-woo (40, KIA) has been in 2023.
In 46 games, he batted .321 with 52 hits in 162 at-bats, five home runs, 28 RBIs, 25 runs scored, a .425 on-base percentage, a .494 slugging percentage and a .919 OPS. He led the league in batting average during a three-game series against Lotte from Feb. 2-4. Sixth in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, and 10th in RBI.
Choi has shown signs of extreme aging over the past two years, but this year he’s been hitting fast, hard, and consistently since spring training in Tucson, completely erasing two years of age. His bat speed has increased, and his hitting point has moved forward. How this turnaround is possible defies common sense.
When Choi Hyung-woo hit a forked ball off Lotte ace Na Kyun-ahn’s main weapon in the second inning of Game 3, commentator Lee Soon-cheol said, “It’s like the years are going backwards. He was a poor hitter for two years, and suddenly he’s back to his prime. I think it would have been a shame not to go over.”
Commissioner Lee Soon-cheol also said, “He is showing great hitting. It’s like, when did he fall into a slump? I don’t know how many more years he has left, but he hit it perfectly in front of his right foot. There is no better hitting point.”
Choi has now reached base in 43 consecutive games, from April 8 against Doosan in Gwangju to April 4 against Lotte in Busan. After two bad years, snow baseball is alive and well, and this season, with the return of production, there is no room for error. He’s still a long way off KBS N Sports commentator Kim Tae-gyun’s KBO record of 86 games, but if his recent form is any indication, he’s not out of the running.
Doosan’s Lee Seung-yeop is close to overtaking him. He already has 474 career doubles, 10 more than Lee (464). He also has 1,489 RBIs, nine shy of Lee’s 1,498. If his recent pace doesn’t slow down, he could easily pass Lee in the next week or two. He’s already surpassed Lee twice this year.
Choi’s 11 doubles and 28 RBIs this season have been key to the KIA offense this season. Temperatures are starting to rise. For Choi, staying in shape is the most important thing. If he can stay strong through this month, Na Sung-bum will come in in July. Won-jun Choi will return in the middle of the month and Kim Do-young at the end of the month. If Choi Hyung-woo is able to take the pressure off, he might even be able to hit better.먹튀검증
Meanwhile, Lee Seung-yeop’s career number one is slowly becoming history. After doubles and RBIs, he is about to be overtaken in home runs and runs scored. SSG slugger Choi Jeong-jeong has 440 home runs and 1319 runs scored through the 4th against the Incheon Kiwoom. She trails Lee, who has 467 homers and 1355 runs, by 27 homers and 36 runs. If she keeps up her pace, she could surpass Lee for the top spot in both home runs and runs scored within the season.