Starting from last year, he has grown into a top-class player in all karate runs. Early on, the shortstop’s defense and running base play were rated as the best, and he added a blow to this. This is the story of LG Golden Glove shortstop Oh Ji-hwan (33).
There is no injury gap. From the second game after joining the roster, he hit a triple at the right time, and in his first start, he went 4 at bats, 3 hits and 3 RBIs, including 3 doubles. Last year at bat, he played an active role with 25 homers and an OPS of 0.827, continuing the momentum of winning the Golden Gloves. It was a bit late, but Oh Ji-hwan now is the No. 1 shortstop who cannot be disputed.
And this is also the blueprint drawn by the LG scout team 15 years ago. Director Yeom Gyeong-yeop, who was a scout when deciding on Oh Ji-hwan’s first nomination in 2008, paid attention to Oh Ji-hwan’s infinite potential. Manager Yeom said, “At that time, Oh Ji-hwan was a pitcher, but when he played shortstop, he saw him as a more talented player. It was natural from the elasticity of his body. He looked back and said, “As a shortstop, I expected him to be a player who is good at running off and off and hitting home runs well.”
Next, coach Yeom said, “The first nomination must select a player who will become an S class when his potential explodes. At the time, our scouting team focused on a player who could become an S-level player, and that was Gyeonggigo Oh Ji-hwan. He was a pitcher, so it may take some time, but he decided that he was enough to become the shortstop responsible for LG’s future.”
Afterwards, manager Yeom wore various uniforms and worked with top-class shortstops. From 2010 to 2011, he worked directly with Oh Ji-hwan as a defensive coach for LG, and later took on the roles of Heroes Coach, Heroes Manager, SK General Manager, and SK Manager. After coaching Oh Ji-hwan, he is Yeom, who wears the same uniform as Kang Jung-ho, Kim Ha-seong, and Park Seong-han.스포츠토토
When I asked Director Yeom to compare them with Oh Ji-hwan now, Director Yeom first expressed regret. He said, “As I said before, Oh Ji-hwan’s potential is S-class. The S class is a player who can go to the major leagues,” he said. However, the development was a little late in hitting. It’s a pity,” he explained.
As manager Yeom said, Oh Ji-hwan’s hitting is divided into those in their 30s. From the mid-20s, the defense has risen to the top level, but it took time for the batting to be established. Until the 2019 29-year-old season, Oh Ji-hwan’s batting average was 0.261 OPS 0.757.
And from the 30-year-old season in 2020, he drew an unusual growth curve. 2020 season batting average 0.300 OPS 0.823. It seemed to struggle again with a batting average of 0.254 OPS 0.691 in the 2021 season, but rebounded with a batting average of 0.269 OPS 0.827 in the 2022 season. He is evolving into a hitter whose accuracy also improves as he has 20+ home runs and 20+ stolen bases.
So director Yeom looks forward to the future Oh Ji-hwan will unfold from now on. Director Yeom said, “From now on, batting talent is exploding. You know what your blow is. Here is not the end. I think he will get better and better,” he said. “He is a player who has a really natural body. You should thank your parents. It’s a personal prediction, but Jihwan can play shortstop until he’s 40 years old. That’s how good he is.”
It has already risen to the top by winning the Golden Globes last year. However, both Oh Ji-hwan and director Yeom cannot be satisfied at once. Even in 2023, the shortstop Golden Glove is the zero ranking. Just look at his performance before and after returning from injury. This season, Oh Ji-hwan is recording a batting average of 0.345 OPS and 1.010.