Teams that most baseball experts picked as candidates for the 5th round and teams classified as relatively weak competed for unity.
The 2023 professional baseball, which started its long journey with the opening series on the 1st and 2nd, is unusual. The teams that had recently won the championship or had thick mounds and were considered strong teams and the mid- and low-ranking teams broke expectations and fought bloody battles. The coaching staff and players in the dugout were sweating, but the spectators who visited the stadium were intrigued by the game.
SSG kt, which has recently tasted the championship and has a strong starting lineup, LG, which has the best bullpen, and Kiwoom, which ranks high every year with only An Woo-jin and Lee Jung-hoo, are strong teams that most experts consider advancing to the postseason without difficulty.
It was predicted that KIA and Samsung would compete for a spot in the remaining five, followed by Doosan Lotte NC Hanwha.
However, the performance revealed through the demonstration game and the opening two games developed into a worrying (?) aspect of how accurate the experts’ predictions would be.
This season, the prospect that the last team would be more difficult to predict than the winning team seemed valid. Last year, the lowest-ranked Hanhwa reinforced good rookies, and the improvement in power was remarkable, such as FA Chae Eun-seong, Lee Tae-yang, Oh Seon-jin, who returned to his parents’ home, and Noh Si-hwan, who is getting more and more popular. Although they suffered 2 consecutive defeats, it doesn’t seem easy to win against Hanwha this year.
Lotte also found it rewarding to open its wallet and recruit a large number of free agents. Yoo Kang-nam was placed in the weak homeroom, and Noh Jin-hyeok gave a sense of security to the shortstop position where there was no starting point. Ahn Kwon-soo, who flew wildly from the demonstration game, took center fielder. The texture of the other line has obviously been upgraded. However, the injuries and physical condition of Pil Seung-jo, including Choi Jun-yong and Kim Do-gyu, and the departure of Seo Jun-won from the long relief position are expected to be a big burden.
Teams in the quarterfinals are also worried.
For LG, it is their homework every year to select domestic players to support foreigners such as Kelly. Expectant left-hander Kim Yun-sik, who was even selected for the national team, was beaten without even filling 2 innings on the 2nd, and the bullpen was overloaded. Lee Min-ho, who has a lot of ups and downs, also does not give a sense of stability. Kim Hyeon-soo, Hong Chang-ki, Oh Ji-hwan, Park Dong-won, Park Hae-min, Moon Bo-gyeong, Moon Seong-joo, and Song Chan-eui’s batting line are powerful, but it is difficult to play a good game if the mound is shaky. With the revival of left-hander Ham Deok-joo, the bullpen is expected to improve.
SSG is worried about the weak bullpen compared to the solid selection.
Choo Shin-soo, Choi Jeong, Park Seong-han, Choi Ji-hoon, Hanyu Island, etc. are good. It is okay to start with Kim Kwang-hyun and Park Jong-hoon, but the finish and bullpen are somewhat unstable, so when it becomes a seesaw game, there is a lot of pressure.
KT, which is said to be the best pitching power in Korea, has strong hitters such as Kang Baek-ho, Alford Hwang Jae-kyun, and Park Byeong-ho, but many players have escaped from injuries. There are substitute players, but it seems important how to manage the team’s performance until they return.
Kiwoom gained strength as Lee Hyung-jong joined the starting lineup of An Woo-jin Yokishi, Lee Jung-hoo and Kim Hye-seong’s struggled batting line. Bullpens such as Kim Jae-woong and Kim Tae-hoon also have a sense of stability. 안전놀이터
KIA seems to be able to play in the top 5 with a solid mound and steady offense, but the gap seems large as infield resources such as Kim Seon-bin and Kim Do-young have been injured one after another. Samsung lost its one-two punch from foreigners in the opening two games, but it is expected to do well if the lineup that stands out in harmony between the old and the new is strong. However, it is uneasy that the skills of the backup players show a slight difference in a situation where the dependence on the starting player is high.
Doosan, which recruited head coach Lee Seung-yeop and brought Yang Eui-ji back from NC, showed a formidable performance with mercenary hitters Lohas, Kim Jae-hwan and Yang Eui-ji’s center batting line, and defensive and speedy players such as Sue-bin Heo Gyeong-min and Lee Yu-chan. For Doosan, which ranked ninth last year, it is worth expecting a rebound as the mounds of Alcantara Choi Won-jun, Jeong Cheol-won, and Park Chi-guk are solid.
NC’s power has weakened as Yang Eui-ji, Noh Jin-hyuk, and Won Jong-hyun moved to free agents, but surprisingly they are receiving good reviews in the field.