Director Kim Jong-guk’s pick of the best skills development, will the KIA infield shake up?
There are a total of five players from the KIA Tigers who participated as a member of Geelong Korea in the Australian Baseball League (ABL). Among them, Kim Jong-guk (50), coach of the KIA Tigers, ranked first in terms of skill development for infielder Kim Gyu-seong (26).
Earlier this year, coach Kim Jong-guk flew to Australia with general manager Jang Jeong-seok (50) to check the skills of KIA players. Coach Kim was the first to mention in a recent phone call with Star News, “All the players who went to Australia were good,” but “Especially (Kim) Kyu-seong has improved a lot more than expected.”
Kim Gyu-seong joined the KIA in the 2nd, 7th round of the 2016 rookie draft. Debuting in the first team in 2020 and being mainly used as an infield utility player, he played in 227 games in his career, with a batting average of 0.173 and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.487, and his batting was disappointing. 바카라
However, in Australia, it is showing a different picture than before. Although he has been stagnant lately, he has finished the game on the 20th and is above expectations with a batting average of 0.292, 3 homers, 13 RBIs, 7 stolen bases, and an OPS of 0.793 in 25 games. It is helpful for batters to experience various balls through many at-bats, but they have not had a chance in Korea. After his first-team debut, he played 227 games for the past three years, but only 275 at-bats, but in Geelong Korea, he scored 99 at-bats in 25 games, providing an opportunity to refine his hitting.
He’s been doing well in Australia, but his year has started the same as usual. Coach Kim noticed, “First of all, (Kim) Kyu-seong is an infield utility. He is a player who can be replaced when an injury comes out on the shortstop or second baseman side.”
The reason why Kim Kyu-seong has been consistently used in the first team despite disappointing batting is because he has a stable infield defense. As long as he doesn’t worry about defense enough to sometimes start against a team with a strong opponent record, if he only shows potential in his hitting, he can shake up the game at any time in the infield.
Coach Kim said, “(Kim) Kyu-seong has been very weak at batting, but he improved a lot after playing a lot in Geelong. Originally, he is a player with stable basic defense skills, so if he gains confidence in hitting, he will be much more useful during the season. I’m thinking of becoming a player,” he praised.
Last year, with the appointment of manager Kim and the appearance of super rookie Kim Do-yeong (20), the KIA infield team entered an infinite competition system. There were no dramatic changes, but shortstop Park Chan-ho achieved noticeable growth, and Kim Do-young also began to show improvement gradually from the second half. In addition, Kim Kyu-seong, who gained experience in Australia instead of Kim Do-young, Byeon Woo-hyuk (23), who joined by trade, and Kim Seok-hwan (24), who showed potential with a slugging average of 0.676 in Geelong Korea like Kim Kyu-seong, the KIA infield is also full of exciting elements this year.
Coach Kim said, “I definitely try to let young players try out various experiences before the season begins. There are many players to watch, such as Byun Woo-hyuk, Kim Seok-hwan, and Kim Do-young. I wonder if the outline of the infield will be revealed after the demonstration games are over.”