Home runs are the flower of baseball. When a ball goes over the outfield fence at a crucial moment, the entire atmosphere of the stadium changes. That’s why home run hitters are favored.
In a survey of 10 commentators conducted by Sports Donga for its opening special, the strongest candidates for the home run title this season were Park Byung-ho (KT Wiz), last season’s home run king (35), Choi Jung (SSG Landers), and Kang Baek-ho (KT). However, only Choi Jung is among the top five hitters in the home run category this season. Of the top five, Choi is also the only one with a previous home run title.
It’s a race between veterans and newcomers. With 14 homers, Choi is tied for the lead with Park Dong-won (LG Twins). After hitting 13 homers through May, Park paused with one in June, but Choi broke the monopoly with six arches in June alone. This is her fourth attempt at the home run crown after 2016, 2017, and 2021, so there’s no reason to feel overwhelmed by the competition. Park Dong-won’s decline in home runs after a frightening start to the year is also related to the nature of the catcher position, which becomes more physically demanding as the weather heats up.안전놀이터
Behind them are Choi Joo-hwan (SSG – 12 home runs), Noh Si-hwan (Hanwha Eagles – 11 home runs), Jose Rojas (Doosan Bears) and Chae Eun-sung (Hanwha – 10 home runs). They are also new faces in the home run race. Aside from Rojas and Choi, who are new to the KBO, none of them have ever cracked the top 10 in home runs. However, Park Dong-won hit 22 home runs in 2021, Choi Joo-hwan hit 26 in 2018, Noh Si-hwan hit 18 in 2022, and Chae Eun-sung hit 25 in 2018, all of which are “career highs. At the very least, it’s clear that these hitters have a knack for home runs.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that the race could change. Park Byung-ho, who is stuck at six home runs, and Kim Jae-hwan (Doosan), the 2018 home run king, are great at driving in runs. In fact, in 2019, Park Byung-ho had 16 home runs through June, trailing the reigning champion Choi Jeong (20), but he exploded for 11 home runs in August alone to take the title. That’s why it’s worth keeping an eye on the home run race until the end.