Moving to the team after the 2020 season as a free agent compensation for Choi Joo-hwan (SSG Landers), Kang Seung-ho hasn’t been able to impress since moving to the team. After hitting .239 with 72 doubles, seven home runs, and 37 RBIs in 113 games in 2021, he fell short of expectations last year with a .264 batting average with 117 doubles, 10 home runs, and 62 RBIs in 134 games in 444 at-bats. Despite reaching career highs with his first 100 hits and double-digit home runs, last season left something to be desired.메이저사이트
What’s surprising is that Kang is on the top of the list for the 2022 season. The team had to accept a disastrous result, falling to ninth place in the standings, and many of its main players failed to capitalize on their individual performances. In the middle of it all, Kang Seung-ho, the lone star, was not able to shine.
This season has been another bumpy ride. After batting .274 with one home run and seven RBIs in 84 at-bats in the month of April, Seung-ho struggled mightily in May, going 2-for-20 with a .100 batting average and two RBIs in 12 games. He returned in early June after being designated for assignment on May 22 and showed signs of rebounding, but never fully picked up the pace. Last month, he struggled again, going 14-for-73 with a .192 batting average and eight RBIs.
This month has been a completely different story. Through 11 games in September, he is batting .424 with 33 hits, 14 doubles, one home run, and eight RBIs. He’s had three multi-hit games in the past week alone, and on Sept. 15 against the Gwangju KIA Tigers, he recorded his first career cycling hit and the 30th in KBO history. The reverse natural cycling hit – a home run, followed by a double, followed by a triple, followed by a walk – is the first in KBO history.
After the 14th game of the season against KIA was canceled due to rain on the 16th, Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop said, “It has only been recorded 30 times in the 40-year history. It’s amazing,” and then added, “He hit a good pitch from the first at-bat, and I think he’s getting better. He’s a good enough player, so I hope he’ll hit better from the 15th game onwards. Yesterday (the 15th), I felt good,” he said.
Kang Seung-ho was as frustrated as his manager as the early season slump continued. “We had a lot of slumps in the beginning. I didn’t do my part in the offense and defense, so I was often left out, and I even went to the second team. In fact, I was No. 1 on the salary list last year, but that wasn’t the picture I envisioned from the camp. It was hard for Kang Seung-ho because he was struggling, but it was also hard for the coaching staff to organize the batting order. “It was hard for each other,” he recalled.
Kang Seung-ho, who was a source of frustration for the coaching staff, has now become a trusted hitter. In the bottom of the ninth inning against SSG Landers in Jamsil on the 14th, when the team was down 0-2, Lee Yoo-chan came to bat for Kim Jae-hwan and laid down a bunt, and Seo Jin-yong followed with a grounder to shortstop that brought home Kim Tae-geun, the third baseman. This meant that the team had more faith in Kang Seung-ho than Kim Jae-hwan, who had been producing long balls for years, based on his current form alone.
The coaching staff hopes that the current upswing is not a temporary phenomenon. “At the end of the season, when it’s important for the team, I think Kang Seung-ho’s good performance like the game on the 15th led to our victory,” said Lee Seung-yeop. “If he continues to perform like this in the future, I expect other players to be encouraged in the batting lineup,” he added.