The South Korean baseball team is on top of the world at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.
It was the team’s fourth consecutive victory in the tournament and a welcome respite from the shock of being eliminated from the World Baseball Classic (WBC) qualifiers in March, but it was also a reminder of the current state of the game in Korea.
In the main round of the Hangzhou Asian Games, South Korea defeated Japan 2-0 in a game that featured players from a social league.
While Japan’s social league is considered high quality, it is far from the top of the professional game.
At the last WBC, Korea went 4-13 against Japan’s top players, including Shohei Ohtani, from both Major League Baseball (MLB) and Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), confirming the gap.
It’s not easy to claim the title of “Asia’s No. 2” after Japan. At the Hangzhou tournament, Korea faced Chinese Taipei twice, including the final, and went 1-1.
The victory in the final on July 7 ended a three-game losing streak against Chinese Taipei at international level. At the 2018 Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang qualifiers, Korea lost 1-2 to Chinese Taipei. In the 2019 Premier 12, they were thrashed 0-7.
The batting lineup is still a concern.
In Hangzhou, South Korea scored a combined two runs against Taiwan in the two games. They went scoreless in the preliminary round and scored two runs in the final.
There is an absolute lack of young right-handers.
The team selection process has been criticized for its left-handed bias. It’s not that they don’t have any righties.
After the limit of 24 years of age and less than four years of professional experience, there was no one to choose from.
If you look at the top 20 right-handed hitters in the KBO in terms of OPS in regulation at-bats, only three Korean players are in their 20s: Noh Si-hwan, Park Chan-ho, and Seo Ho-cheol.
Noh is the only one under the age of 24, as he batted fourth in Hangzhou.
Yoon Dong-hee (Lotte) was a “last-minute pick” to provide some left-handed options.
The absence of Kim Do-young, who has been on fire in the league, was also disappointing.
But other than that, it’s hard to find any other right-handed hitters worthy of the national team. 안전토토사이트
“There are (too many) right-handed hitters in the KBO,” said Ryu Jung-il, the national team’s head coach, after the team’s loss to Chinese Taipei in the second round.
This is in response to a question about the lack of right-handed hitters.
The rise of right-handed hitting in the KBO is not a recent phenomenon.
Many student-athletes who were born right-handed are trying to transform themselves into lefties.
They think it will give them an advantage in the pros. The result is a shortage of right-handed hitters.
The left-handed Hangzhou team was unable to take advantage of their opponent’s starter, Lin Yeou-min, in the first two games against Taiwan. In the final, they managed to cope somewhat, scoring two runs, but it was still far from a cool attack.
In July, the KBO Secretariat announced the KBO League-Team Korea Level Up Project.
In the wake of the WBC shock, there have been many calls to improve the international competitiveness of Korean baseball.
The KBO explained that a task force was formed and after in-depth discussions, a long-term strategic direction for Korean baseball was set.
The plan is to join international trends led by the United States, such as the introduction of pitch clocks, revitalize international exchanges, foster prospects and leaders, and expand the baseball community.
It remains to be seen how long it will take for the project to pay off.
However, it is clear that the work to address the rise of right-handed hitting and the scarcity of right-handed bats will have to go hand in hand.