The game between SSG and LG at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on the 23rd attracted a lot of attention because it was a matchup of the top two teams. It’s still early in the season, but the symbolism of being number one cannot be ignored, and the history of the two teams, who battled to the end of last year’s regular season, added to the buzz.
The game ended with a 9-1 victory for LG. The game remained relatively close until the third inning, when LG’s bats took advantage of their opportunities and bombarded the SSG mound. Trailing 0-1 in the fourth inning, Kim Min-sung’s grand slam turned the game around, and the team then capitalized on the extra-base opportunities to end SSG’s hopes of a comeback. Both teams experimented with their backups in the closing stages of the game, and the pace of the game was one-sided in favor of LG.
Despite being the same number one team, the difference in offense was clear. SSG’s hitting hasn’t been bad this season, but LG’s has been too strong. LG’s bats have been dominant this year, with a huge gap between them and the second-place team. It is arguably the best in the league. It’s a combination of well-seen, well-picked, well-hit, and well-run baseball. With the last piece of the puzzle, the foreign bats, now in place, they have nothing to fear.
LG has a team batting average of .291 through 23 days. Hitters who hit close to .300 are usually classified as All-Star caliber, and LG is showing All-Star caliber hitting as a team. It’s more than two points above the second-place NC (.270) and nowhere near the league average (.256). They lead the league in both team slugging percentage (.378) and team on-base percentage (.402), and have a team OPS of 0.780. This is well above the league average OPS (.693).
Only 23 players in the entire league have an individual OPS of .780 or better this season. Noh Jin-hyuk (Lotte), the 23rd best player in the league, is at 0.781, higher than Heo Kyung-min (Doosan) and Son Ah-seop (NC), who have already gained some recognition for their hitting, and Kim Hyun-soo, the team’s leading hitter, is about average for LG. The team as a whole is delivering the offense we expect from free agents.
It’s hard to find a batting lineup like this in history. The LG offense has a 128.4 adjusted run production (wRC+) this year, according to Statiz. Only the 1987 Samsung team (135.1), which was also a powerhouse offense, had a better wRC+. In other words, it’s the best in the 21st century. If you’re feeling the power of the LG offense right now, you’re absolutely right.
They have high batting averages, but they also strike out well. Overall, the players have a high walk rate. In a relatively pitching-heavy season, the team has a team batting average of nearly 3% and a team walk rate of 11.5%. The only team in history to have a higher walk rate than this year’s LG lineup was Samsung in 2010 (11.8%). Conversely, strikeouts aren’t as prevalent as you might think. Their strikeout-to-walk ratio is also one of the highest in the 21st century.
Despite having a huge ballpark in Jamsil, their home run rate is not low. He’s already hit 24 home runs this year, which is right around league average. If you let your guard down, you get hit with something big. On the 23rd, SSG was really hit by that home run.
메이저놀이터 There are so many good players that one has to take a break, especially in the outfield. Even if you take out foreign hitter Austin Dean from the outfield, there are plenty of other players waiting for a chance to play, including Kim Hyun-soo, Park Hae-min, Hong Chang-ki, Moon Sung-joo, and Lee Jae-won. The infield is also full of starters and backups who can rotate once Son Ho-young returns. This suggests that the downturn may not be too long.
There is also an even balance of investment and development. Kim Hyun-soo, Park Hae-min, Park Dong-won, and Kim Min-sung were all acquired in the free agent (FA) market. However, LG’s batting lineup is not limited to them. Hong Chang-ki, Moon Bo-kyung, Moon Sung-joo, Lee Jae-won, and other young players who will lead the LG batting lineup in the future are often homegrown. The field has been patiently cultivated and watered for a long time, and the flowers are finally blooming.