Pitcher Reed transforms young pitchers, triple-digit batting average: ‘What would I have done if I didn’t sign him’
There’s a phrase called gahwa mansasung (家和萬事成). It means that when a family is harmonious, everything goes well.
Baseball is similar. The most difficult, demanding, and important position in baseball is catcher. The catcher, who is also known as the anbangmanim, must be stable for the game to go well. The catcher has to squat down and catch the pitcher’s ball for 27 outs. In a game, the catcher receives as few as 100 balls and as many as several hundred. And he has to get the manager or coach’s signature every time to tell the fielders what to do. That’s why catchers are called anbangmanim, which means a lady in charge of a house.
After losing Park Dong-won to free agency last winter, KIA has been plagued with catcher issues all season. Han Seung-taek and Joo Hyo-sang have not lived up to expectations and have been holes in the batting order. There was even talk of a resting batting order for opponents.
On July 5, KIA traded Ryu Ji-hyuk to Samsung in a one-for-one deal to acquire Kim Tae-gun. Kim Tae-gun is one of the best defensive catchers in the league, with a lot of experience and a good pitcher’s lead. He makes pitchers feel comfortable and is reliable enough for younger pitchers to trust, especially in the field.
The impact of Kim was immediate. KIA’s pitching staff began to stabilize after Kim’s arrival, and after nine days, the team’s 3.92 ERA ranks third overall. That’s not too far off from first-place LG (3.65). As expected from a catcher with a reputation for good catcher leadership, he quickly stabilized the KIA mound.
But that wasn’t the only effect Kim Tae-gun had, as he also had a stellar offensive performance. After batting .352 (19-for-54) with 11 RBIs in the month of August, he has continued his hot bat in September with a .333 (5-for-15) average. Truly, he’s become a keystone catcher for KIA and has transformed the team in just two months.
Kia shows a clear difference when Kim Tae-gun wears a catcher’s mask and when he doesn’t. Just look at the game against the LG Twins in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Kia Champions Field in Gwangju on Aug. 8. Kim Tae-gun was given the day off and did not play, while Han Jun-soo wore a catcher’s mask. KIA’s young pitchers shot themselves in the foot by allowing seven walks. It was reminiscent of KIA’s game earlier in the season. The team never really got going and went 2-12.
On the other hand, KIA tried to win 10 games in a row for the first time in 14 years on the 7th, but the bats went silent. As the saying goes, ‘beware of the streak after the streak is broken,’ and they lost two straight at home to LG on the 8th. This weekend’s series is a four-game series against top-ranked LG, including the first doubleheader of the season. Against LG’s bats, which boast one of the best offenses in the league, Kim Tae-gun’s lead will be more important than ever. 토토사이트
KIA should remember the Dusan in July, when they suffered from “streak hangover,” losing 5 of 12 after an 11-game winning streak was interrupted. This is a crucial moment for KIA, and this is where Kim’s seasoned leadership will come into play.