“Choi Jung-ho has been a home run king so many times…I think I’ll have to see the last one.”
Hanwha catcher Noh Si-hwan (23) is on a roll. Noh pulled a Tanner Tully fastball for his 28th solo shot of the season in the first inning against the Changwon NC on Friday. He has exploded with seven home runs in his last 10 games. That’s one home run every 13.7 at-bats this season. If he adds four more hits in each of the remaining 46 games, he could hit 41 home runs.
With 28 homers, Noh is the favorite to become the first Hanwha player to hit 40 homers in 24 years, following Dan Loyer (45) in 1999. He will also be the first Hanwha domestic hitter to hit 40 homers in 31 years since Jang Jong-hoon (41) in 1992. 바카라사이트 None of Hanwha’s native sluggers have hit 40 homers in the 21st century.
Choi, who hit just two homers in 19 games in the second half, still has 21. Park Dong-won (LG) and Yang Suk-hwan (Doosan) are tied for third with 17 homers. Based on the math alone, Noh’s chances of becoming the first player to win the home run title are quite high.
Here’s a look at Noh’s bat. It’s like he’s shooting a cannonball/MyDaily Photo DB
So what does MBC Sports Plus commentator Park Jae-hong, who boasts 300 home runs and 267 stolen bases in his career, think? He was asked by Kim Soo-hwan while broadcasting the Changwon NC game on the 15th. Park avoided giving a specific answer.
He predicted that reaching the 450-homer plateau would not be easy. “I’ve seen a lot of home run kings, so I think I’ll have to wait until the end,” he said. That said, Choi’s ability to drive in runs cannot be ignored. The seven-run gap is not small, but it is not insurmountable.
Confidence. Noh celebrates after hitting a home run/My Daily Photo DB
The biggest variable is the Hangzhou Asian Games, which will begin in late September. It will run concurrently with the KBO regular season, and Noh, who is virtually guaranteed to bat No. 4, will be away for about two weeks. Choi, on the other hand, will not be at the Asian Games. Expect a big counterattack from Choi during this time.
Regardless, Park Jae-hong praised Noh’s transformation this season. “Last year, he was hitting behind the plate. Even if he wanted to hit a lot of home runs, they didn’t come. But this year, he completely changed his form. I feel confident now,” he said.
An encouraging look from Noh Si-hwan. Now in full bloom/MyDaily Photo DB
In fact, Noh admitted that last year he was a passive, contact-oriented hitter who was conscious of striking out. He was stressed out because he still wanted a home run. This season, however, he moved his hitting point forward and made both contact and long balls. His cool follow-through pitches are what make him stand out.
No matter how Noh finishes this season, he’s likely to leave a big mark on the KBO and Hanwha. A 40 home run hitter in his 20s could be a huge asset to his future.