AVG 35th, OPS 22nd, Taegeuk-mark…Let’s end the ‘Bonehead Black History’ of Kang Baek-ho, the man of fortune.

He’s 35th in batting average and 22nd in OPS. It’s not exactly a stellar performance to make the team, but the Hangzhou Asian Games Committee took a leap of faith in Kang Baek-ho (KT) and his five-year career.

The KBO Power Enhancement Committee and head coach Ryu Jung-il announced the final 24 players for the Asian Games on Sept. 9. Twenty-one were selected from players aged 25 or younger or in their fourth year in the league, and three wild cards were added. Of course, the wild cards are all in their 20s.

Because of this, it is not possible to select the best players in each position in the KBO, but the best players were selected within the set conditions. However, there are some players who might make you scratch your head when you look at the final roster. A prime example is Kang Baek-ho.

In 49 games this season, Kang is batting .276 with five home runs, 29 RBI, 27 runs scored, a .771 OPS, and a .359 slugging percentage. He ranks 35th in batting average and 22nd in OPS. 16th in home runs, 15th in RBI, 17th in runs scored. 24th in on-base percentage (.414) and 26th in slugging percentage (.357). Home runs, RBIs, and runs scored are the only categories in the top 20, let alone the top 10. In short, not league-leading production.

Kang struggled mightily in the 2022 season. In fact, his decline began in the second half of 2021. This season hasn’t been as bad as 2022, but it hasn’t been worthy of his name either. However, he has a lot of international experience, including the 2019 Premier12, 2021 Tokyo Olympics, and 2023 WBC. With the national team”s age group getting younger, this is something that can”t be ignored.

Furthermore, one of the biggest weaknesses of the current Korean baseball program is the lack of professional first basemen. There are 안전놀이터 no professional first basemen at the national level. Kang Baek-ho switched to the outfield this year, but he has played first base in recent years. If you look at the final roster, there is no other player who can play first base besides Kang Baek-ho. As a result, it’s likely that Kang will be the starting first baseman throughout the tournament. With all of this in mind, it makes sense to pick Kang Baek-ho.

It’s fair to say that Kang Baek-ho got a little lucky in his selection. If that”s the case, he”ll have to show it in Hangzhou in September and lead his team to gold. His international results are quite good. In five Premier 12 games, he batted .286 with three RBIs and one run scored, in seven games at the Tokyo Olympics, he batted .308 with seven RBIs and three runs scored, and in four games at the WBC, he batted .500 with two RBIs and three runs scored. In 16 international games, he is 17-for-47 with a .362 batting average, 12 RBI and seven runs scored. No home runs yet.

Despite this, Kang took a lot of flak at the Tokyo Olympics and WBC. He was caught on camera chewing gum loudly in the dugout during the bronze medal game at the Tokyo Olympics and, crucially, during the first round of the WBC against Australia, both his feet came off the base during the ceremony after hitting a double. A classic boneheaded play.

Kang Baek-ho has also been criticized by fans for his poor defense in the KBO this year, and he publicly apologized on social media. This is not the kind of behavior you want to see if you’re selected for the Asian Games or any other international competition. Hopefully, in Hangzhou, he can put the Boneheads’ black history behind him and lead South Korea to a gold medal. There’s a lot of pride on the line for Kang Baek-ho.

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