Hwang Dae-in, shaking off the risk, regains his starting first baseman position

Will we get our starting first baseman back?

KIA Tigers infielder Hwang Dae-in underwent surgery to remove a bone fragment on his right side after the season. He cleared the risk to prepare for next season. His rehabilitation will take about 3 months. There are five months until next year’s opening, so preparations will not be a problem. However, he is expected to participate late in the competition starting from spring camp.

Daein Hwang had a failing grade in the 2023 season. He only had 199 plate appearances in 60 games. He had a batting average of .201, 3 innings, 5 home runs, 26 RBIs, and an OPS (slugging percentage + on-base percentage) of just 0.618. His scoring average was also .259. He struck out 50 batters. He has one out of four at-bats. He was sent down to the second team

Compared to his career-high performance in the 2022 season, it was a sharp decline. At that time, he emerged as a built-in first baseman from the opening game and played 524 at-bats. He had a batting average of .200, 9 ERA, 14 home runs, 91 RBI, and an OPS of 0.716. Cleanup trio Na Seong-beom and Choi Hyeong-woo took advantage of the chances created by Socrates and scored 91 RBIs. If the batting average had been increased, 100 RBIs would have been possible.

It was the emergence of a valuable right-handed hitter amidst the abundance of left-handed hitters. As he prepares for the 2023 season, his hopes and goals have grown. He was expected to hit over 20 home runs and 100 RBIs. There were competitors such as Byun Woo-hyuk and Kim Seok-hwan, but it seemed like Hwang Dae-in would solidify his position. However, it was silent from the beginning. The hit in April and May was only in the low 20% range. As there was no sign of recover
until May, the team was readjusted to the second group for a month.

He seemed to inject strength into the batting lineup upon his return at the end of June, but he was sidelined for another month due to a hamstring injury in early July. He has since had one absence and has been out of the first team since 24 September. He finished the season as is. From June until the end of the season, he only had 27 at-bats in 10 games. It ended up being a very unresolved season.

As Hwang Dae-in could not keep his position, the first baseman was Muju Gongsan. Following transfer student Byun Woo-hyuk, Choi Won-jun, who was discharged from the military, played first base. At the end of the season, Oh Seon-woo played as first baseman. Seven people, including Hwang Dae-in, wore first baseman’s mitts. There was no starting first baseman with solid results. It was an accident position and one of the reasons for being eliminated in the semifinals. It is also a reinforcement position for next season.

Hwang Dae-in, who completed the surgery comfortably, faces next season on the edge again. Competition becomes more intense. Byun Woo-hyuk is aiming to become the starting first baseman based on his longest time in the first team (157 days) since his debut this season. He is the biggest competitor. Left-handed hitters Oh Seon-woo and Kim Seok-hwan are also in the race. Next year, Hwang Dae-in will celebrate his 10th anniversary as a member. He has nowhere to retreat anymore.

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