Bae Ji-hwan (24‧ Pittsburgh) admitted that he needed to strengthen his strength in a meeting with ‘Spot TV News’ ahead of spring training in February. It is to make a better quality batting ball and add power to the body. But even so, he said confidently, “I am confident in running.”
Bae Ji-hwan, who would have raised the question of “Who is this player?” to fans of other teams until the start of the season, has now risen to the ranks of players that the league pays attention to in just one month of April. His fast feet, which he was confident of himself, are the driving force. He showed that at least in terms of running ability, including stealing, he has an ability that no other player envy. It is also well proven why Pittsburgh chose Bae Ji-hwan for their opening roster.
Bae Ji-hwan added 1 hit and 1 stolen base in the game against Washington on the 1st (Korean time) and finished the schedule for April. Bae Ji-hwan played 27 games in March and April and recorded a batting average of 0.250, 2 home runs, 9 RBIs, 11 stolen bases, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.652. His batting average or OPS wasn’t high, but there were still some impressive long hits. His defensive ability to digest both the infield and outfield was also praised. Above all, his ‘feet’ surprised everyone. 안전놀이터
Bae Ji-hwan succeeded in stealing 11 bases until the 1st. It is tied for second in the major leagues after Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta 13). It was also impressive that while he stole bases 11 times, he only failed once. Even if he has a large number of stolen bases, it is a world that does not mean much if the success rate is low, but he passed the reference point generously. ‘Pitch Clock’
In Pittsburgh history, he proudly placed his name at the top of the leaderboard. Until last year, there were only three players in Pittsburgh club history who succeeded in stealing double digits in the March and April schedules. Lee Lance set the record for most with 13 in 1983. Omar Moreno made the list three times: in 1978 (11), 1979 (11) and 1982 (10). The last case was Andrew McCutchen (10) in 2010, ‘in the prime of his youth’.
With 11, Bae Ji-hwan became the fourth Pittsburgh player to make the list, as well as tied for second all-time. Bae Ji-hwan is the first player since Lancie in 1983 to successfully steal 11 or more bases in the March/April schedule. This is a record after 40 years. Pittsburgh is running without hesitation enough to rank first in the league in stolen bases at the beginning of this season, but only Bae Ji-hwan broke the double-digit threshold. It is no exaggeration to say that he is the pioneer of baseball in Pittsburgh.
Bae Ji-hwan is naturally quick and explosive. According to ‘Statcast’, Bae Ji-hwan’s sprint speed (speed at the peak) was 29.3 feet per second, ranking 14th overall in the major leagues. The time to reach first base from home is 4.07, second in the league, and the 90-foot (approximately 27m) running time is 3.76 seconds, second in the league. On top of that, he has good baserunning sense and sliding ability. He has no choice but to have a lot of stolen bases.
Bae Ji-hwan, who has proven his usefulness, is now free from the burden of being relegated to the minor leagues. He showed that he could do a single hit as well. Bae Ji-hwan’s major league career is expected to continue if he can show a little more consistency in hitting and defense.