Pitcher Pedi, hitter Noh Si-hwan…LG’s shining star, Hong Chang-gi, winner of the championship.

Pitcher Pedi, hitter Noh Si-hwan…LG’s shining star, Hong Chang-gi, winner of the championship.

Eric Pedroia (NC) on the mound, Si-Hwan Noh (Hanwha) at the plate, and Chang-Ki Hong and Austin Dean, who led LG to victory. Who were the shining stars of this season’s KBO regular season?

The 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League regular season came to a close after 17 games. It was a season to remember, with LG winning its first title in 29 years and a fierce battle for the top spot going down to the final day.

As a team, LG came out on top, but it’s a different story when you narrow it down to individual players. NC’s “Super Ace” Pedi, who finished fourth in the regular season, is the most prominent.

In 30 games and 180⅓ innings pitched this season, Peddie went 20-6 with a 2.00 ERA and 209 strikeouts. He achieved the “triple crown” of pitching: wins, ERA, and strikeouts.

Most notably, Peddy became just the fifth player to record 20 wins and 200 strikeouts in a single season. It had been 37 years since Seon Dong-yeol did it in 1986.

In his final outing, he attempted a sub-one ERA, but fell one strikeout short and finished the season with a 2.00 ERA.토토사이트

NC, which lost its star catcher Yang Yang-ji (Doosan) to free agency before the season, benefited from the “ace effect” by finishing better than last season (6th place).

Among the hitters, Noh Si-hwan shined. The third-year pro batted .298 with 31 home runs and 101 RBIs this season, leading the league in home runs and RBIs.

He was a “waiting in the wings” until last year, but this season he broke out of his shell and established himself as one of the league’s leading sluggers. His value is even higher because he is the first right-handed slugger since Park Byung-ho (KT).

Hanwha had to settle for ninth place again this season, avoiding the bottom of the standings for the fourth year in a row, but it was a huge accomplishment to develop Noh Si-hwan, who will be in charge for the next decade.

We can’t forget about LG’s championship hero Hong Chang-ki. Despite not having the quickest feet, Hong was a dominant force in the leadoff spot for LG, with one of the league’s best leadoff hits and second base production.

Finishing in the top half of the league in every major category, including batting average (.332) (4th), runs scored (109) (1st), hits (174) (3rd), doubles (35) (3rd), and slugging percentage (.444) (1st), Hong was an integral part of LG’s success this season.

LG also had Austin, a “pot-bellied outfielder,” who led the batting lineup alongside Hong with a .313 batting average, 23 home runs (3rd), 95 RBIs (3rd), and a .517 on-base percentage (3rd). LG, which has been plagued by poor performance or injuries to its outfielders every year, was thrilled with Austin’s performance.

Pedi, Noh Si-hwan, Hong Chang-ki, and Austin are among the favorites for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in the regular season. Pedi, with his dominant record, has the upper hand, while Noh Si-hwan forms a “two-way tie,” with Hong Chang-ki and Austin following close behind.

On the other hand, Kiwoom’s Lee Jung-hoo and Ahn Woo-jin, who had a “family fight” for MVP last year, had their seasons end prematurely due to injuries. With Lee going overseas next year and Ahn Woo-jin having to deal with a lengthy rehabilitation and military service, we won’t be seeing much of them for a while.

Aside from the MVP candidates, there were plenty of other standouts in the regular season, especially from the younger pitchers.

Moon Dong-ju (8-8, 3.72 ERA), who became the most promising pitcher in the league beyond Hanwha in just his second season, Kwak Bin (12-7, 2.90 ERA), who established himself as Doosan’s “homegrown number one starter,” Park Young-hyun (3-3, 4 saves, 32 holds, 2.75 ERA), who led KT’s “iron wall bullpen” and won the hold king, and Choi Ji-min (6-3, 3 saves, 12 holds, 2.12 ERA), who became Kia’s left-handed bullpen hopeful, were all prominent faces.

All three were named to the Korean baseball team for the Hangzhou Asian Games in September. After winning gold medals and resolving their military service issues, the “Young Guns” have a solid future ahead of them.

Among the young hitters, Kia’s Kim Do-young, Lotte’s Yoon Dong-hee, and NC’s Kim Joo-won stood out, raising expectations for their performance next year and beyond.

In addition, Seo Jin-yong, who has become the guardian of SSG, had his best year yet with a career-high 42 saves, and Yang Yang-ji, who returned to Doosan for a record-breaking total of 15.2 billion won a season ago, got his money’s worth with a 3-for-17, home run, and 68 RBI performance, leading the team’s return to fall baseball.

Son As-seop, whose ‘aging curve’ raised concerns last season, showed off his ‘class’ by winning two titles, including batting average (.342) and most hits (187).


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