Hanwha Eagles rookie Moon Hyun-bin, 19, has been on the first team roster since the start of spring training. Moving between second base and center field, Hanwha is giving him experience. In 40 games, Moon is 2-for-23 (104 at-bats) with 11 RBI, two doubles, and a .549 OPS. It’s nothing to write home about, but the fact that an inexperienced rookie is surviving on the first team roster in a season of two-game hitters speaks volumes about the expectations for Moon.
Moon’s position isn’t set in stone right now. His primary position is second base, but regular starter Jung Eun-won is holding down the fort. Therefore, the team is using both Jung and Moon at the same time and asking Moon to play center field to utilize his strengths.
Hanwha coach Choi Won-ho said, “At second base, Moon Hyun-bin is better than Jeong Eun-won in terms of fielding range and throwing ability. However, we can’t ignore experience. Eun-won is better at pivoting and other parts at second base. Eun-won is better at hitting right now,” he said.
However, he added, “Moon Hyun-bin has more power and range. I also asked him about his outfield defense, and he said that he adapted quite quickly for a player who has never played the outfield. So if he keeps going, I think he’ll be back on track soon,” he said, praising Moon’s senses.
He continued, “It’s not like we can’t use the batting anyway, and it’s not like we can take Jung Eun-won out, so we’re going to play her at second base and Moon Hyun-bin in center field.” He added, “Seeing the ball and making choices are good for their age. These players need to play consistently,” explaining that they are worth developing.
Above all, he has shown many flashing scenes. On the 27th of this month, with the score at 1-0 against the Changwon NC, he hit a two-run double to center field with runners on second and third base, leading the team to a 5-0 victory. Moon’s hit played a crucial role in setting the tone for the game.
It was a big hit for Moon. He is batting just 1-for-6 (4-for-25) with runners in scoring position this year. He has struck out six times. It was the advice of Chae Eun-sung, who signed a six-year, 9 billion won free agent contract this year, that changed Moon’s tendencies. “I used to pick and choose a lot of pitches to hit only good pitches when I had a chance, and in the process, I struck out a lot. “But then Chae Eun-sung called me up and said, ‘If it’s in the strike zone, turn the bat, because if you just hit it, runners will come in anyway,’ so I turned the bat when I was in that situation, and I think it turned out well again,” he explained. 안전놀이터
Listening to his seniors’ advice has helped him mature. “They tell me right away if I’m making a play that doesn’t fit the situation, so I think that helps,” he said, “and I think that’s why I’m making plays with more thought so that I don’t make mistakes.”
“The first team is so much fun. I want to stay in the first team for a long time, and this experience is really valuable,” said Moon Hyun-bin. The future of Hanwha is directly tied to the growth of Moon Hyun-bin, who is favored by both the club and the seniors who have moved to free agency.