There was a reason why Hanwha paid a large amount of money to capture catcher Choi Jae-hoon (34). Choi Jae-hoon was reborn as a model student in the second year of a 5-year, 5.4 billion won free agent contract. Despite his catcher position, he ranks 4th overall in the league in on-base percentage and is fiercely ranked 2nd in stealing percentage.카지노
Choi Jae-hoon signed a FA contract with Hanwha in November 2021. On the second day of the FA opening, Hanwha put a full bet on Choi Jae-hoon. There was also an evaluation of ‘overpay’ by some, but it was a considerable burden for Choi Jae-hoon. Last year, the first year of his free agency contract, his batting average was 2.2, 2.3, 5 homers, and 30 RBIs in 114 games, and OPS .641 fell short of expectations.
Choi Jae-hoon, whom I met during spring camp in Arizona, USA in February, said, “Since he signed a good free agent contract, I had a strong thought that I should do really well from his first year. He felt like an arrow was coming towards me as the team was not working out in the beginning. He ran looking straight ahead, focusing only on mine. He seems to have made a mistake,” he looked back and promised to rebound this season.
That commitment is yielding results. Until the last 5 days, the batting average of 64 games for the season is 25% (46 hits in 179 at bats), 23 RBIs, and OPS of .699, so the batting is not bad. In particular, with 32 walks and 13 hit balls, his on-base percentage reaches 40% (.403). On the 5th, against Lotte in Daejeon, he filled the required at-bats and rose to 4th place in the entire league in this category. After LG Hong Chang-ki (.447), Doosan Yang Eui-ji (.428), and LG Moon Seong-ju (.405), he ranked first within the Hanwha team.
Choi Jae-hoon said, “The most important thing is to harass the pitcher at the plate. It is good to hit, but the goal is to get on base,” he said. “Today (5th) was also out against Na Gyun-an (Lotte) in the second at-bat in the 4th inning, but I thought I won because I threw a lot of balls.” Choi Jae-hoon, who made a first run in the second inning with a 7-pitch game in the first at-bat, with an RBI in left-center, was grounded out on 3rd base in the 4th inning, but made 4 consecutive foul cuts and harassed Na Kyun-an with a 10-pitch game. The number of pitches per at-bat this season is 4.2, ranking 3rd among 53 hitters in legal at-bats.
The decisive one came out in the 8th inning. In the top of the 8th inning, Kang Jae-min hit a two-run homer to Jack Rex, making the score 3-3, and the game seemed to be turning to Lotte. However, after 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th inning, Nick Williams and Kwon Kwang-min’s consecutive hits and stolen bases led to 2 outs and 2nd and 3rd base chances in front of Choi Jae-hoon. Choi Jae-hoon attacked the outer curve of Lotte Pilseungman Choi Jun-yong’s 5th pitch and decorated it with two RBIs and a timely hit. The final stroke led to a 5-3 victory for Hanwha.
Choi Jae-hoon said, “Although the first base was empty, it was not a situation where the opposing team would skip me. (Chae) I filter out players like Eunseong, but I concentrated on thinking that a match would come to me. (Fourth pitch) I thought that the moment the fastball became a ball, a breaking ball would come, but the number of goals matched well.” In the match, the number of veteran-like goals was hit. Hanwha coach Choi Won-ho also raised his voice, saying, “I want to praise Choi Jae-hoon, who showed his concentration and scored the final blow in a situation where the atmosphere could have subsided.”
Choi Jae-hoon’s influence is great not only in hitting, but also in pitching lead and defense. Choi Jae-hoon, who contributed to raising Hanwha’s team ERA to 4th place (3.92), said, “Our pitchers are really good. Rather than striking out, he believes in the defenders behind him and tells them to play aggressively. He finishes in three pitches and says he will sleep. Even if the first ball hits, it is one ball thrown. The hitter hits quickly and leads so that the result can come out.” “Since the starters threw well, the bullpen pitchers gained strength. All the pitchers throw well, so I gain strength as a catcher.”
The stolen base rate (37.0%) is also the second highest after Yang Eui-ji (60.9%) among 12 catchers who have played more than 200 innings. Choi Jae-hoon laughed, saying, “I was higher, but I fell.” There will be a time when the will type will also fall someday. At that moment, I will catch up. If you do it with that mindset, there will be good results.” It means that you will not be satisfied with your current grades.
Not only individuals but also teams are looking higher. The gap with NC and Lotte, tied for 4th place, was also narrowed to 3 games. Choi Jae-hoon said, “The young players are doing very well. During the 8-game winning streak, the pitcher and fielder trusted and relied on each other and continued to win. In the future, if you win one win after another, you can climb higher and play fall baseball. I won twice at Doosan, and I played baseball once in the fall of 2018 after coming to Hanwha. I know what that feels like. Young players will grow even more if they play fall baseball.”