Doosan’s Kim Jae-hwan (35) is in a late-season slump. The commander still trusts him. When can he repay the faith?
Doosan won 5-3 against the Samsung Lions in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Aug. 8.
Despite the victory, there was one player who wasn’t smiling. That would be Kim Jae-hwan. He was silent on the day, going hitless alongside Kang Seung-ho.
Starting in the sixth spot in left field, Kim went hitless in four at-bats. His season batting average dropped to .224.
Kim Jae-hwan has hit 30 home runs four times while calling Jamsil Stadium, the largest stadium in Korea, home. In 2018, he hit 44 home runs to become the third-best Jamsil home run hitter of all time.
This year, however, he has struggled. After batting .240 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs in the first half of the year, he is batting just .125 with one home run and four RBIs in the second half.
It’s time for him to really step up. Center fielder Yang Ji Hyun has been removed from the first team roster with a side injury.
Losing Yang is a big deal. He’s half of the team’s power, and his absence will affect the team’s batting lineup. Other players will have to step up to the plate to fill his void. One of them is Kim Jae-hwan.
“He’s been training every day with coach Koji Goto. He works really hard. I don’t want to see it as an aging curve.”
He cited a drop in confidence as the reason for his recent slump. “Right now, I’ve lost some confidence. So if he has one good at-bat, he can rebound,” Lee said.
In Yang’s absence, Kim Jae-hwan’s role has become even more crucial, a fact that coach Lee Seung-yeop pointed out.
“With (Yang) out for a while, I think Jae-hwan is in a very important position. I think it would be good for him to take responsibility. First of all, he has to show a dignified appearance at the plate, regardless of whether he hits well or not. He can’t just walk in, so I want him to make a swing that will give him a sense of authority.”
There is no alternative for Kim. “From the other team’s point of view, it will be different with him and without him. It will be harder if he’s not here. It’s my choice to trust the player,” he emphasized. “In batting, you can have a surge overnight, or you can have a slump all of a sudden. For now, I’m hoping that Kim Jae-hwan will get better,” he said.스포츠토토
However, Kim Jae-hwan was also silent in the game. He swung hard, which is what Lee wanted, but didn’t get any hits. He grounded out to second base in the second inning, flied out to second base in the fourth and fifth innings, and flied out to left field in the eighth inning.
The team won the game thanks to the performances of other players, but Lee is desperately hoping that Kim Jae-hwan will come back to life soon.