Will the slugger who exploded his potential with the title of home run king become a 40-home run hitter after meeting the ‘legendary home run coach’?
Hanwha Eagles suddenly fired coach Subero at the beginning of last season and announced the introduction of coach Choi Won-ho. He declared that rebuilding was over and he would play winning baseball. In the middle of the season, they performed well, even reaching the threshold of fall baseball. But in the end, the last place was 9th.
Still, that doesn’t mean there were no results at all. A new fourth hitter named Noh Si-hwan was developed. He recorded 31 home runs and 101 RBIs, winning the home run and RBI titles, which are symbols of the best hitter. He also won a gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games as the number four hitter. It was Hanwha’s 2023 season that erased concerns about who would be the main hitter for the next 10 years. If they select foreign hitters well, the cleanup trio along with Chae Eun-seong can not be outdone by any team.
Hanwha is now entering the era of coach Choi Won-ho in earnest. The first season is a rehearsal. It definitely gave me strength. SSG Landers hitting coach Jeong Kyung-bae, whom Coach Choi trusts, was hired as the new head coach.
Usually, the head coach is not deeply involved in coaching each part of the players. However, when Hanwha announced the hiring of Coach Jeong, it unusually announced that it would allow Coach Jeong to demonstrate his capabilities in batting. In order to hire him from SSG, he had to be promoted to head coach, but it was a shame to bury Coach Jeong’s batting instruction ability.
Coach Jeong is a leader who is well-versed in producing long shots for his team. He orders a clear ‘level swing’ from his players. While serving as the SK Wyverns hitting coach, the 2017 and 2018 seasons ranked first in team home runs for two consecutive years. With that formidable power, he won the Korean Series in the 2018 season. At that time, SK overcame a critical juncture with home runs at every crucial moment, from the playoffs against Nexen Heroes (now Kiwoom) to the Korean Series against Doosan Bears.
What I’m curious about is how much more Noh Si-hwan, who has just burst into bloom, can grow after meeting Coach Jeong. Usually, when a player is recognized as a promising slugger like Noh Si-hwan and shows great potential, his performance in the following season is said to be important. If he continues his upward trend, he can grow into a leading gunner in the league, and while trying to do something more, he often ends up at a crossroads where the results are worse than the previous season. For players like this, a leader is more important. Depending on the type of customized coaching provided, it can determine whether Noh Si-hwan can become a 40-home run hitter or not. Since Kim Jae-hwan (Doosan) in 2018, no domestic hitter has hit more than 40 home runs.스포츠토토
There is also interest in whether Coach Jeong can awaken the slugging power of not only Noh Si-hwan but also Hanwha’s batting lineup. For Hanwha, Lee Jin-young’s 10 home runs is the most after Noh Si-hwan and Chae Eun-seong (23 home runs). As such, the slugging power was lacking. Other than Noh Si-hwan, there is no Hanwha player in the 20s in slugging percentage. The pitcher may have been a problem, but in the end, we couldn’t win because we couldn’t hit.