“Bae is a black hole at the plate,” “He’s virtually a negative player.”
The harsh words were directed at Bae, 24, Pittsburgh Pirates, after a hot start to the season. His biggest weapon, his quick feet, were taken away and he reflected, “My biggest challenge is to know when to use my feet and when not to use my feet.”메이저놀이터
Ironically, Bae’s batting stats for the month of May make you wonder if the criticism is even warranted.
Bae started at second base in the eighth spot in the lineup against the Seattle Mariners on May 27 at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Washington, USA, and went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored, and a strikeout.
Pittsburgh Bae Ji-hwan.
A batting black hole? Bae’s bat is hot in May
His ninth multi-hit game of the season raised his batting average from 0.264 to 0.271. In May alone, his batting average reached a whopping 0.302 (16 for 53).
The public’s reaction to Bae’s performance last month was overwhelming. His quick feet allowed him to steal 11 bases with only one failure, and he impressed on defense with a super catch. At the plate, he hit a game-winning home run, and some people were starting to see him as the future of Pittsburgh.
In mid-March, local outlet Pittsburgh Baseball Now criticized Bae, calling him a “black hole in the middle third of the order” and saying that while he made up for his lack of power with his base running, his stolen base rate had dropped since May.
The next day, Bae responded with a three-hit, four-strikeout game to lead his team to victory. The next day, Bae continued to produce hits, including a 150-kilometer sinker to left field and a 161-kilometer bullet to second base in the top of the seventh inning. A high bat speed indicates power and accuracy, which means that if these metrics continue, there is a greater chance of a hit. Bae’s blast gave Pittsburgh an 11-6 victory and pulled them within half a game of the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers.
Bae Ji-Hwan (left). /AFPBBNews=News1
Troubled baserunning and defense, but the future is still bright
But it’s May, the month of stolen bases and bad defense. Unlike April, May saw four thrown out while adding three steals. He also made a few unnecessary baserunning plays.
The rebound at the plate is a welcome one. Again, he used his quick feet to steal second base on what could have been a single. When Bae has a hit that isn’t a walk, he’s much more likely to advance a base than other players. That’s because he has quick feet, ranking in the top 3% in the majors this season according to Statcast.
Manager Derek Selton also defended his protégé, saying, “If it’s wrong, you teach it and it doesn’t happen again,” adding, “It’s our job to teach him what’s a good opportunity and what’s not.”
Bae Ji-hwan attempted three stolen bases in May but failed to catch four.
Bae left a lot to be desired in the field.
There is also the matter of defense. On the 22nd, the Pittsburgh Prospect pointed out the team’s thin defense and said, “You have to go all the way down to the 88th position to find Bae Ji-hwan (in the defensive metrics rankings),” and “If you look at his overall performance, Bae Ji-hwan is actually a negative player in three positions.”
However, it’s important to note that Bae is a utility player. Bae has played a total of 325⅔ innings on defense this season. He’s played the most innings at second base (173), but he’s also played 128 in center field. 24 innings at shortstop. If Bae had perfect defense, it’s likely he would have settled into one position. On the other hand, there are no clear-cut players in that position, which is why Bae has played multiple positions depending on the team’s needs.
It’s unreasonable to expect a utility player to be so complete. However, players like Bae stand out because they give coaches more options. That’s why Bae was able to start 46 of the team’s 50 games.
This is Bae’s first time playing full-time in the big leagues. Naturally, there will be many failures. There’s no denying Bae’s talent in the field or on the bases. However, some have pointed out his lack of judgment and experience. This is something that can be improved with practice and experience. That”s why it”s important to look at the upward trend in his batting rather than his defense and fielding.