Reporter Kim Hee-jun = Can Doosan Bears veteran outfielder Kim Jae-hwan, 35, help the team rebound in the second half of the season?

Doosan Bears manager Lee Seung-yeop named Kim Jae-hwan as one of his key players during his inauguration ceremony last October.

After hitting 44 home runs in 2018 to become the third-best Jamsil home run hitter in history and win the regular season Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, Jae-hwan slowed down a bit in 2019 with just 15 home runs, but he came alive in 2020 and 2021.

In 2020, he hit 30 home runs and drove in 113 RBI, and in 2021, he hit 27 home runs and collected 102 RBI.

After becoming a free agent after the 2021 season, Kim signed a four-year, $11.5 billion contract, but he didn’t perform as well as expected last year. He hit 23 home runs in 128 games, but his accuracy dropped significantly as he batted just .248.

Lee hoped for a resurgence, so much so that he personally sought out Kim Jae-hwan to talk to him after taking over as manager last year. Lee, who was a left-handed slugger like Kim in his playing days, said, “I need a No. 4 hitter to revitalize the batting order. He needs to hit more than 30 home runs so that the batting lineup can be synergized as a whole.”

However, contrary to Lee’s wishes, Kim Jae-hwan did not meet expectations in the first half. In 77 games, he batted .240 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs and an OPS of .726.

This was even worse than the first half of last year, when he hit .240 with 15 home runs and 47 RBIs in 80 games.

During the nine-game winning streak, Doosan’s team batting average reached .299, but Kim Jae-hwan was hitting just .152 (5-for-33) with one home run and three RBIs.

Lee is hoping for a resurgence in the second half.

“I hope he can send pitches that can intimidate opponents and show more energy,” Lee told reporters before the end of the first half. “I hope he can hit a home run like the one he hit in extra innings against the Samsung Lions on the fourth.”

“We don’t know if Kim Jae-hwan, who struggled last year, will be able to perform like an MVP in 2018. I hope he can come up and do well, but I will wait patiently,” he said, emphasizing that the hitting coaches will work to help him create a swing that will give him confidence at the plate and intimidate opponents.”

With Kim Jae-hwan back in the lineup, the Doosan batting lineup will definitely be more potent. Yang Ji and Yang Suk-hwan are all right-handed hitters, and while foreigner Jose Rojas, a left-handed hitter, is gradually improving his batting, Kim Jae-hwan’s return to the lineup will give the center field a more cohesive look.토토사이트

Lee said, “The batting order has become more cohesive. Kang Seung-ho and Kim Jae-ho have improved, and Jung Soo-bin, Yang Yang-ji, and Yang Suk-hwan have been consistent. With Rojas getting better, the last puzzle is Kim Jae-hwan.” “Without Kim Jae-hwan, the Doosan batting lineup doesn’t mean much. If Kim Jae-hwan improves, you can expect Doosan in the second half of the season,” he said.

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