78% said they found a way to attack KIM DO YOUNG

The match against the LG Twins in Jamsil on April 28, 2024 was a game that made Kim Do-young (21, KIA Tigers) realize whether he was called the “second Lee Jong-beom” for nothing.

Kim struggled more than expected in three consecutive away games against LG held at Jamsil Baseball Stadium from April 26 to 28. Before meeting with LG, Kim had become the MVP of 21 games in April with a batting average of 0.388 (33 hits in 85 times at bat), 10 homers, 23 RBIs and 11 steals, and an on-base percentage of 0.438 with an on-base percentage of 0.824 OPS of 1.262. In the process, he became the first player to record 10 homers and 10 steals per month for the first time in the 42-year history of the KBO league.

However, he had two hits, two RBIs and two strikeouts from five times at bat on Wednesday, and had one hit and two stolen bases from five times at bat on Tuesday, showing poor performance than expected. In the first three at-bats on Saturday, he had no hit due to three strikeouts, a hit by a swing and a fly ball to a right fielder.

This is because LG has consistently played a game of breaking balls against Kim, regardless of left or right. Of the 67 pitches that Kim faced during the three consecutive games, only 15 were fastballs, accounting for 77.6 percent of breaking balls. It was an effective method for high school graduate right-handed hitters who have not experienced many outstanding breaking balls yet. In fact, Kim swung and missed 11 times before the top of the seventh inning of the three-game series against LG on Friday, 10 of which were against breaking balls.

Notably, LG starter Son Joo-young induced Kim Do-young to swing and miss in all three of their first showdowns in the top of the first inning. As the third batter Kim Do-young was blocked, the flow of Kia’s batters was also cut off. Even though Choi garnered the first run through a three-run shot in the top of the first inning, the game was reversed to 5-7.

In the top of the seventh inning with runners on the first and second bases with one out, LG’s Park Myung-geun also approached Kim Do-young with a breaking ball. The curveball at the first pitch was caught with a strike, and the curveball also entered the second pitch. At that moment, Kim changed his posture with a bunt, rolled the ball toward the third base, and ran towards the first base without looking back.

At that time, LG catcher Park Dong-won gave up the fast-footed Kim Do-young early on and chose to catch Kim Sun-bin rushing to the third base. However, as this choice led to a bad pitch, Kim Sun-bin went home, second baseman Kim Ho-ryeong went to the third base, and Kim Do-young went to the second base. Follow-up hitter Choi Hyung-woo easily grounded out to the third base, and Lee Woo-sung made a timely RBI single to the left, turning the game around 8-7, and KIA was able to avoid a sweep by winning 10-7. Kim’s sense of humor caught the opponent off guard led the team to victory.

LG’s strategy to attack Kim was not wrong. In fact, he had no hit in three times at bat on the day as well. However, LG’s strategy had to be backed by good control. In the top of the eighth inning, Lee also threw three sliders to Kim in a row, but was caught in an unfavorable ball count of 1S2B, and allowed a hit in the middle while throwing a fastball.

According to Statiz, a Korean baseball statistics site, Kim displayed strength in four-seam fastballs (0.500) and two-seam fastballs (0.444) and cutters (0.444) as of the end of the game on Friday. On the other hand, he showed weaknesses in breaking balls such as forks (0.167), sliders (0.208), curves (0.294) and changeups (0.300). Considering that he played at-bats in his third year as a professional player but in his second year as a full-time player due to frequent injuries, this figure is not bad either.

There is a high possibility that Kim will continue to suffer from intensive checks by his opponents. At the age of 20 years old, being the third batter of the top-ranked team is a sufficient presence for him. His actual performance is also among the top three in many batting indexes with a batting average of 0.333 (42 hits in 126 times at bat), 10 homers, 26 RBIs, 28 runs scored and 14 stolen bases, and a 0.377 slugging percentage of 0.643 OPS 1.020.

Kiwoom even skipped the game on the 24th by intentionally giving a pitch in the top of the ninth inning with two outs and a runner on the first base, when the team was losing 1-6. At this point, you might wonder if they have found a way to attack Kim, but the bat is not the only thing to keep in check. Kim was a player who received more attention earlier for his faster feet than long shots. Cho Jae-young, Kia’s first base running coach, compared Kim’s speed to Kim Hye-sung (25, Kiwoom Heroes), and highly evaluated Kim’s ability to steal 50 bases in a season.

Each of the leaders who passed by Kim also praised his baseball sense, as well as his physical ability. Kim Jae-deok, a coach at Dongseong High School in Gwangju, introduced Kim Do-young as the second Lee Jong-beom for the first time. “There are other tools that (Kim) Do-young should include in his being called a five-tool player,” Kim Jae-deok told Star News at the time of his nomination. “His character and sense of baseball.” Former KIA manager Cho Gye-hyun who picked Kim Do-young also said that Kim Do-young is a “thinking baseball” player, in addition to the five tools he has. The bunt hit that he showed on Friday showed that his praise was not empty.

Lee Jong-beom was evaluated as a player who could turn the game around with his strong batting power and excellent baseball sense as well as his quick feet during his active career. Kim Do-young is showing his side to fans who have not seen why Lee Jong-beom was an amazing player at the time.

BY: 스포츠토토핫

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