On the afternoon of the 4th, KBO selected and announced a list of 30 players for the 2023 WBC at the KBO Hall in Dogok-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. A total of 5 outfielders were selected: Kim Hyun-soo, Park Hae-min (above LG), Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom), Park Gun-woo (NC), and Na Seong-beom (KIA).
It seems that the main left and right fielders will actually be left to Kim Hyeon-soo and Na Seong-beom. The problem is that three players are expected to compete for the center fielder position.
In terms of grades alone, Lee Jung-hoo is the most likely. Lee Jung-hoo played 142 games last season, recording 193 hits (23 home runs) in 553 at-bats, 113 RBIs, 85 runs, a batting average of 0.349, and an OPS of 0.996. In particular, he won 5 crowns, including batting average, hits, and RBI, and even became the league MVP.
The recent results of the national team left some regrets. At the Tokyo Olympics two years ago, he started all 7 games and was sluggish with 29 at-bats, 7 hits (1 home run), 3 RBIs, 3 runs, a batting average of 0.242 OPS and 0.729. However, he showed that he was strong on the international stage by wielding a strong blow at the 2019 Premier 12 and the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
Park Hae-min, who is called a master of defense, is also one of the candidates for center field. Park Hae-min played in all 144 games last season, recording 165 hits (3 home runs) in 570 at-bats, 49 RBIs, 97 runs, a batting average of 0.289, and an OPS of 0.715. He also showed quick feet by stealing 20 or more bases for the ninth consecutive season with 24 stolen bases.
Hitting 토토 is important in international competitions, but defense is also important. Park Hae-min’s WAA (defensive win contribution) last season was 1.858, which was the second best after Choi Ji-hoon (SSG, 1.909). He was responsible for nearly 2 wins only on defense.
The recent performance of the national team was also not bad. At the Tokyo Olympics two years ago, he came out as a built-in leadoff in all 7 games, hitting 11 hits in 25 at-bats, 5 RBIs, 7 runs batting average of 0.440 and an OPS of 1.083. Along with Kim Hyun-soo, he was in the best lineup for each position at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Interchange hitter Park Geon-woo is also one of the candidates for the center fielder. Park Kun-woo is originally a right fielder, but he is also a capable hitter in center field. In fact, he was the main center fielder in NC last season.
Park Kun-woo played 111 games last season with 137 hits in 408 at-bats (10 homers), 61 RBIs, 52 runs, a batting average of 0.336 OPS and 0.867, and although he failed to fill the required at-bats, he recorded a batting average of 30% for eight consecutive years. However, on the national team stage, there is no experience as a starting player. He didn’t have a record at the Tokyo Olympics two years ago, and he only had 1 hit in 5 at-bats at the 2019 WBC.
All three players have their own strengths. The choice is up to coach Lee Kang-cheol, the commanding tower. Attention is focusing on who will be the main center fielder in this WBC.