KIA’s upward trend is remarkable. KIA’s advance began coinciding with the return of central hitter Na Seong-beom (34). Since Na Seong-beom’s return, KIA is running at a winning percentage of .605.
Na Seong-beom hit a timely hit in the 3rd and 7th inning against Munhak SSG on the 1st, followed by a three-run home run that put a wedge in the game in the 9th inning. He led KIA to a 10-2 victory by going 4-for-4 with 3 hits, 5 RBIs, and 1 walk. 안전놀이터
KIA has been on a six-game winning streak since the Suwon KT match on the 24th of last month. This season, they tied the record for the most by the team, and had their first 6 consecutive wins from the Munhak SSG game on July 5th to the Gwangju Samsung game on July 12th. Both six-game winning streaks came after Na Seong-beom’s return.
After attending the World Baseball Classic (WBC) before the season, Na Seong-beom was diagnosed with damage to his left calf muscle and was diagnosed with up to eight weeks of rehabilitation. He also visited Iijima Rehabilitation Center in Yokohama, Japan, along with Kim Do-young, who injured his toe, but it took longer than expected to return.
Na Seong-beom, who played three games in the Futures League and developed his practical sense, was drafted into the first team against Gwangju KT on June 23. 83 days had passed since the season opened, and 43.1% of the entire schedule had been completed. Although he started very late, he made up for it faster than anyone else.
Na Seong-beom, who reported a home run from the first day of his return, played a big role in 44 games this season through the 1st with a batting average of .3499 (60 hits in 172 at-bats), 13 home runs, 42 RBI, 20 walks, 26 strikeouts, an on-base percentage of .411, a slugging percentage of .645, and an OPS of 1.056. I’m doing it. Among 142 batters with more than 100 plate appearances, his percentage record is overwhelming, ranking 1st in slugging percentage and OPS, 2nd in batting average, and 5th in on-base percentage. According to KBO’s official record company, Sports2I, WAR has already reached 3.29. He ranks 15th among all fielders on the team, following Choi Hyeong-woo (4.12).
Starting with Na Seong-beom’s joining, KIA’s performance is also showing a clear upward curve. Before Na Seong-beom’s return, they struggled to rank 8th with 28 wins, 33 losses, and 1 draw (.459), but since Na Seong-beom’s return, they have achieved a winning percentage of 60% with 26 wins, 17 losses, and 1 draw (.605). During this period, they are in 3rd place, following 1st place KT (34 wins, 14 losses, .708) and 2nd place LG (26 wins, 16 losses, .619).
KIA, who has achieved 54 wins, 50 losses, 2 draws (.519) for the entire season, and a win-loss margin of +4, is in 5th place. They widened the gap with 6th place Doosan by 2 games, catching up with 4th place NC by 1 game, and 3rd place SSG by 3.5 games. We have come up to a position where we can see above the 5th river. It’s a futile assumption, but if Na Seong-beom had been with him from the start of the season, the league landscape might have changed.
That’s how great the Na Seong-beom effect is. Since Na Seong-beom came in, KIA has boasted the best firepower in the league with team batting average (.291) and OPS (.783). He is pounding the opponent’s mound, scoring an average of 6 points per game. Na Seong-beom took center stage in the 3rd and 4th batting order, dispersing the control that had previously been placed on Choi Hyeong-woo and Socrates Brito.
Second-year third baseman Kim Do-young, who returned from injury on the same day as Na Seong-beom, is preparing a generous meal with shortstop Park Chan-ho as the first and second table setters. Kim Do-young, who spent about three months in rehabilitation with Na Seong-beom, grew bigger while following strength training and also gained strength in hitting the ball. Since returning from his injury, he is batting .300 (54-for-180) with 2 home runs and 22 RBIs and an OPS of .807. It could be called the Na Seong-beom effect.
Na Seong-beom wore the uniform of his hometown team in December 2021 with a huge six-year free agent contract with KIA worth a total of 15 billion won. At the time, it was the highest free agent fee in the KBO League’s history, and there were concerns about ‘overpayment’, but he played in all 144 games last year and performed as an exemplary free agent with a batting average of .302 (180 hits in 563 at-bats), 21 home runs, 97 RBI, and an OPS of .910. He also won the Outfield Golden Glove Award. He missed nearly half of the season this year due to injury, but upon his return, he caused a huge storm for the team and proved his worth of 15 billion won.