“Thorough yet flexible” Son Ah-seop approaches ‘first’ in the KBO League

Veteran Son Ah-seop (35, NC Dinos) is counting down the days to become the first player in KBO League history to reach 150 hits for eight consecutive years.메이저사이트

Son Ah-seop had 144 hits this season (as of the 4th). Considering that the average number of hits per game is 1.35, it is expected that a record will be set in the six-game home series against Kiwoom Heroes and Lotte Giants this week. Son Ah-seop recorded 150 hits for seven consecutive years from 2016 to last year, and was tied for first place in this category along with Park Yong-taek (former LG Twins, 2012-2018).

All of the top hitters, including Choi Hyung-woo (KIA Tigers, 6 years in a row) and Lee Dae-ho (formerly Lotte Giants, 4 years in a row), failed to achieve this record. Lee Jeong-hoo (Kiwoom Heroes), who achieved 150 hits for six consecutive years until last year, was also out for the season due to an ankle injury last July and his record was halted. In order to achieve ‘150 hits for 8 consecutive years’, not only must you have excellent batting ability and consistency, but you must also be healthy.

Song Ji-man, NC batting coach, said, “Son Ah-seop is a player who strictly follows a routine. However, he is not confined to himself and has the attitude of responding flexibly according to the situation.” He added, “He is always thinking about baseball and only baseball is on the field.” “I just focus on that. I think those things come together to create consistency (at bats),” he said. Coach Song Ji-man was a slugger who hit 311 home runs during his career. Although he has achieved triple-digit hits 13 times, he has had only one 150-hit season (2000, Hanwha Eagles). I know better than anyone that getting 150 hits for 8 consecutive years is difficult.

Son Ah-seop is recognized by everyone as a ‘hitting machine’ in the KBO League. Based on at least 3,000 at-bats, he ranks 4th in all-time batting (0.322). But last year, his batting average fell to 0.277 (152 hits in 548 at-bats). He wore the NC uniform with great expectations as a free agent (FA), but his first season performance was not satisfactory. Because of his considerable age in his mid-30s, there were also concerns about the aging curve (a phenomenon in which athletic ability declines at a certain age, leading to a decline in skill).

Son Ah-seop got into shape early this winter. He listened to the advice of Jeong-ho Kang (former Pittsburgh Pirates), who runs a baseball academy, to analyze the cause of the broken hitting mechanism and supplement it. Coach Song Ji-man said, “I think (last year’s poor performance) was due to a big psychological change. Since I joined NC as a free agent and the environment was different, I think there was confusion from the build-up process (to prepare for the season). In this year’s camp, I was able to psychologically improve myself. “I created an environment where I could do well,” he said, adding, “I think trying to lead by example to my juniors while serving as captain also led to good results. Meeting Kang Jeong-ho and talking about batting and improving it were also effective.”

Son Ah-seop has strong tenacity. When his first half batting average finished at 0.331 (75 games), he drew the line, saying, “I’m not satisfied. I want to hit better.” He laced up his sneakers even more, maintaining a higher batting average (0.352) in the second half than in the first half of each season. Son Ah-seop’s record feast does not stop at ‘150 hits for 8 consecutive years’. He also came close to the record for the most hits in his personal career held by Park Yong-taek (2,504) by 131 hits.

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