Kim Jae-hwan (35‧ Doosan) is a home run hitter who represents the league. As of the 12th, he is recording 228 home runs in the KBO League career, thanks to the tremendous power that comes from his imposing body and the swing mechanism that sometimes takes his breath away. In 2018, when the ball flew well, he hit 44 home runs. He even gave the illusion that if he was hit, he would pass.
Although he struggled in 2019, he maintained his pride as a “home run hitter” by hitting 30 home runs in 2020 and 27 home runs in 2021. The treatment in the free agent (FA) market, where geopo resources are so precious, was certain. Doosan, which was worried about the successive free agent departures of its key players, could not miss Kim Jae-hwan, and ahead of the 2022 season, it proposed a large sum of money of 11.5 billion won over four years and pressed Jae-hwan Kim down. It was judged that there was no alternative to this giant gun.
All players lose strength as they age. It’s a battle of how little you fall. The huge offer of 11.5 billion won was impossible without confidence in Kim Jae-hwan. Since Doosan has been watching Jaehwan Kim from the side for a long time, the anticipation for that confidence was high. Even if it loses a little bit of power, it is still top-notch in the league, and the mechanism that has been established for a long time is not expected to break down easily.
There are two types of hitters who hit home runs very simply. There is a player who splits the ball with great power. Even if the power is a little lacking, there are players who make the trajectory of the ball well and send it far away. Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop, who holds the record for the most home runs in the KBO league, asserts that Kim Jae-hwan “has both”. Otherwise he is certain that there would be no record now.
Director Lee said, “He is a very good player,” but “However, I don’t think that a player who has hit more than 200 in his career has only hit with strength. Of course, he is technically excellent, so I think he hit more than 200 while using Jamsil.” Then, it is normal that the aging of the home run graph should be less. However, Kim Jae-hwan’s home run power dropped sharply this year.
He hit 23 homers in 128 games and 517 at-bats last year, which he said was sluggish. The home run rate is 4.45%, which is not much different from 2020 (4.89%) or 2021 (4.77%), just before the FA season. But this year, that percentage has dropped to his personal career low of 2.11%. He stayed with a batting average of 0.241 in 53 games of the season, but what is more painful is the collapse of his slugging percentage (.377).
If so, did the rapid deterioration of power come? Director Lee shakes his head saying that it is not so. I still think that Jaehwan Kim has enough strength. Since he was a home run hitter during his active career, his eyes are more accurate than anyone else.
Even in his records, it is possible to find evidence that “the power did not drop much”. This is the average batting speed on the ‘Trackman’ radar, which provides tracking data to 9 KBO league teams. Kim Jae-hwan’s average batting speed is at the top of the league every year. The batted ball counted last year also recorded an average exit velocity of 144.1 km. This year, when batters say in unison, “The ball doesn’t fly well.
This record is 5th overall in the league following Lee Jeong-hoo (Kiwoom), Choi Jeong (SSG), Noh Si-hwan (Hanwha), and Yang Eui-ji (Doosan). However, while the previous four players are showing league-top offensive productivity, Kim Jae-hwan is not. Exit velocity is the total product of power and skill. so it’s a mystery
Jaehwan Kim’s miss rate is 20.4%, the lowest since 2017, and the contact rate is also 73.2%, the best since 2018. If you look at your records, you should definitely be getting better grades than you are now, but that’s not the case. This gives a hint that things will get better in the future, but at the same time it also presents a negative prospect that Kim Jae-hwan is not using his power and good conditions well.
It is an internal analysis that the left knee injury was decisive. Kim Jae-hwan, who met coach Lee, maintained a sense of hitting at its peak even during this year’s spring camp and demonstration games. Even at the beginning of the season, he had good batting average and slugging percentage. In his first 15 games, he had a batting average of .304 and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.972.
However, his knee was constantly sore, and it is a diagnosis that the lower body and striking mechanism were completely collapsed here. The point at which Kim Jae-hwan’s average batted ball speed fell almost coincided with the time when ‘knee problem’ surfaced outside of him.안전놀이터
Here, even if it is the same floating ball, the number of batted balls that do not go far and fall powerlessly with a high launch angle has increased. Kim Jae-hwan was a line-drive hitter who did not have a high launch angle among home run hitters, and his pop-fly rate in the infield was one of the lowest in the league. However, this year, the percentage of infield fly balls has soared, and the average launch angle has also increased to the point where it is hard to believe that it was Kim Jae-hwan’s.
there is power In the end, the priority is to find the mechanism that was disturbed by the knee injury. Director Lee is showing firm faith. Director Lee emphasized, “We have to go back to the old Kim Jae-hwan,” and said, “It’s a process that we’re making now, and we’re training while talking to Coach Goto every day. I believe it will get better.”
In fact, in the three-game series against KIA last weekend, the quality of the ball improved and the number of balls heading to the outfield increased, regardless of the result. There were no ground balls, no infield fly balls. The exit velocity was like a bullet. This is the reason why we can believe in director Lee’s words that he will gradually come to life. The picture of Doosan’s batting line cannot be completed without Kim Jae-hwan. Attention is focusing on whether he will be able to show that breathtaking swing again.