’15 billion’ free agent effect is huge, if KIA had Nasung-bum from the beginning…KBO game has also changed


Kia is on a roll. The return of center fielder Na Seong-beom (34) coincided with the start of KIA’s surge. Since his return, the team has gone 6-for-6 (.605).

After singles in the third and seventh innings against SSG in Munhak on April 1, Na exploded for a three-run homer in the ninth inning to drive in the winning run. He went 3-for-4 with five RBIs and one walk to lead KIA to a 10-2 victory.

KIA extended its winning streak to six games, dating back to last month’s win over Suwon KT on April 24. It is the team’s longest winning streak this season, having previously won its first six games in a row from July 5 against SSG in Munhak to July 12 against Samsung Electronics in Gwangju. Both six-game winning streaks came after the return of Na Sung-beom.

Na was diagnosed with a left calf muscle injury after traveling to the World Baseball Classic (WBC) before the season and was diagnosed with up to eight weeks of rehabilitation. He also traveled to the Ijima Rehabilitation Center in Yokohama, Japan, along with Kim Do-young, who injured his toe, but his return took longer than expected.

After playing three games in the Futures League to get a feel for the game, Na made his first-team debut on June 23 against Gwangju KT. It was 83 days into the season and 43.1% of the schedule had been played. Despite his late start, he made up for it quickly.

After hitting a home run on his first day back, Na is now batting .411 with 13 home runs, 42 RBI, 20 doubles, 26 walks, a .645 on-base percentage, and a 1.056 OPS in 44 games (172 at-bats) this season. Among the 142 hitters with at least 100 plate appearances, he ranks first in slugging percentage and OPS, second in batting average, and fifth in on-base percentage. His WAR is already up to 3.29, according to the KBO’s official recorder, Sport2eye. It’s 15th among all outfielders, behind only Choi Hyung-woo (4.12).

Since the addition of Na Sung-bum, KIA’s performance has been on a clear upward curve. Prior to his return, the team was struggling in eighth place with a 28-33-1 (.459) record, but since his return, the team has gone 26-17-1 (.605), which is a six-figure win percentage. They are third in the standings behind KT (34-14, .708) and LG (26-16, .619).

With a season-long record of 54 wins, 50 losses, and 2 draws (.519) and a +4 win-loss margin, KIA is now in fifth place. They are two games behind 6th place Doosan, one game behind 4th place NC and 3.5 games behind 3rd place SSG. They are in a position to look above the top five. It’s a far-fetched hypothetical, but if Na had been with us from the start of the season, it might have changed the game.

The effect of Na Sung-bum is huge. Since Na’s arrival, KIA has the best team batting average (.291) and OPS (.783) in the league. They’re scoring an average of six runs per game and pounding opposing mounds. Na has taken over the center of the batting order from Choi Hyung-woo and Socrates Brito, taking some of the pressure off of them.

Second-year third baseman Kim Do-young, who returned from injury on the same day as Na, is setting the table with shortstop Park Chan-ho as the 1-2 table setter. Kim, who spent about three months rehabbing with Na, grew stronger as he followed their strength training regimen and gained power in his batting. Since returning from injury, Kim is batting .807 (54-for-180) with two home runs and 22 RBIs. It’s the Na Sung-bum effect.메이저사이트

In December 2021, Na signed a six-year, $15 billion mega free agent contract with KIA to play for his hometown team. At the time, it was the highest free agent contract in KBO history, and there were concerns that he would be overpaid, but he played in all 144 games last year, batting .322 (180-for-563) with 21 home runs, 97 RBIs, and a .910 OPS. He also won an outfield Golden Glove. This year, he missed nearly half the season due to injury, but upon his return, he has taken the team by storm and is proving to be worth his 15 billion won.

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