Byun Woo-hyuk (KIA Tigers), who received attention as a promising slugger, joined the Hanwha Eagles with the first nomination in 2019, and he is expected to become a batter representing the team and the league in the future. He is also a motivation for Noh to join the team.
However, his performance was not good enough. In his first year as a member of the Korean delegation, Byun was sluggish with a batting average of 0.226 with one homer, two RBIs and seven runs scored with an OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of 0.630 in 29 games, and in 2022, his first season since his discharge from the military’s military athletic unit, he had 16 hits with a batting average of 0.262 with three homers and eight RBIs in 21 games, falling short of expectations with an OPS of 0.721.
Such a change was made to Noh in November 2022. As Hanwha and KIA carried out a two-to-one trade, pitchers Han Seung-hyuk and Jang Ji-soo moved to Hanwha and Byun Woo-hyuk moved to KIA. Hanwha focused on strengthening the mound, while KIA pinned its hopes on Byun Woo-hyuk’s talent.
When I met him at Nabunda Ballpark in Canberra, Australia on Thursday, Byun recalled the situation at the time of the trade. “From the moment I came to the KIA, I thought, ‘I want to do well here even if I do well,’ and ‘I want to end here even if I retire later.’ I don’t know if it’s because of that, but I think I should be a player who succeeds (Choi) Hyung-woo or (B) Seong-beom, and the club and fans will think the same,” he said.
Compared to before the transfer, Byun had relatively many chances. He played 83 games and 200 times at bat last year, recording 45 hits, 0.225 with seven homers and 24 RBIs with an OPS of 0.664. He did not stay in the first division all season, but he still saw hope.헤라카지노
“I played a lot of games in the first team for the first time last year, and I think I’ve hit a lot of limits. Then, I was impatient and there was a lack of strength,” Byun said. “On the other hand, I think the feeling of defense has improved a lot compared to last year, including hitting now during training.” “I was confident in myself because I knew that I was going upward every year anyway, and I think last season was a turning point in a way.”
“Actually, there was a technicality, but I realized a lot that ‘a season is a long one’. (Park) Chan-ho told me a lot of things like that, and (B) Seong-beom and others said so. He advised me that I have a lot of seasons left, so I can start over. I think it’ll be okay if I don’t rush and get chased,” he added.
So far, the preparation is going smoothly. “I think I moved well during defense practice because I built my body well. As for batting, I used to do it indoors in the winter, but after exercising for about three days, I feel better right away, so I try to maintain it,” Byun said. “I think climate is a big factor. When I was in Hanwha, I think cold weather was a big factor when I hurt my back. There is a big difference between performing warm-up activities in a sufficient state and not doing so, so I am satisfied (with the weather in Australia).”
In particular, Byun said, “This is my sixth year, and I think I prepared the hardest (than the past five years) and I have built my body well. I took a lot of exercise and tried my best. I think it helped me a lot to keep what I learned from the coaches from the closing camp.”
This year, Kia’s first baseman is facing a fiercer competition than ever before, as it is no exaggeration to say that it is a “silent battlefield.” Even outfielder Lee Woo-sung challenged himself, which intensified the mood. “I don’t think it’s right to get a chance when I’m not good at it. Competition is good for each other, and synergy effect creates motivation for each other, which can improve your skills,” Byun said. “That will be a plus for the team.”
“At the end of last season, I felt a sense of stability in the defense,” he said. “I think it will change a lot depending on how I fight in the batter’s box. Honestly, because I have a weakness in breaking balls, everyone (opponents) will try to throw breaking balls, and I just have to hold that in and hit the ball that comes into the middle, so I try to think about it easily.”
Byun’s goal for the season was not clear, but he is aiming for his first double-digit home run since his debut. “My goal is to have no regrets when I get a chance given, but I want to finish that by last year,” he said. From this year on, I set my goal by quantifying the number. My goal is to hit a batting average of 250% or more and hit 15 or more home runs. That way, I will try to reach my goal.”
He didn’t forget to mention his fans’ interest. “I was very happy with the results, but I received a lot of love from fans, including gifts and coffee cars, even though it was not a satisfactory season,” Byun said. “I was very happy for the past year and I want to be even happier because I was contacted by many social networking sites. I think being happy is what makes the fans happy.”