This season was a meaningful year for ‘Baby Beast’ Choi Ji-hoon (25, SSG Landers). It was because he was reborn as an all-round outfielder equipped with ball, defense, and state, and experienced the fall baseball stage for the first time.
Choi Ji-hoon, who stepped on the professional stage in 2020, was not a striking player. He was evaluated as having strength in defense rather than hitting.
The nickname “baby beast” was given in the sense that he was the successor to team senior Kim Kang-min (40), who was called “the beast” by showing the best defense in the league with his strong dog and quick feet.
This year, Choi Ji-hoon played the best defense in the league. He was tied for first among outfielders in the KBO League with eight assists. He also had the ability to kick off hitting balls with his quick feet.
Following last year, Choi Ji-hoon also held the Best Outfielder Defense Award, which is chosen by players’ votes.
It wasn’t just the defense that Choi Ji-hoon shone this year. He also showed decent performance at batting.
He stayed with a batting average of 메이저놀이터 0.258 in 2020, an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.644, and a batting average of 0.262 OPS of 0.704 in 2021. It was a disappointing batting performance for his main player.
However, he played in all games (144 games) this year and hit hard with a batting average of 0.304, 10 home runs, 61 RBIs, 31 stolen bases, 93 points, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.789.
His batting average exceeded 300 for the first time since his debut, and he also hit a double-digit home run. As his on-base numbers increased, he also actively utilized his quick feet. Passed 30 stolen bases for the first time since his debut.
What was even more meaningful was that he was on the stage of fall baseball for the first time and even held the championship ring in his arms. Choi Ji-hoon contributed considerably to SSG winning the regular season championship for the first time in KBO League history with ‘Wire to Wire’ and even winning the Korean Series.
Choi Ji-hoon said, “I think this year has been a year where I can take off the label of being a player who is only good at defense. If I go down next year, I will hear that I have had a brilliant year, but I don’t like hearing that.” He did not hide his desire to pay.
He then emphasized, “The team also won the championship. Next year’s season will be an important season for me and the team.”
However, I don’t want to get caught up in the idea of ’verifying’. This is because these thoughts can act as a burden instead.
Choi Ji-hoon said, “If you try to do something, it can get worse. Rather than verifying or showing next year, I’m trying to prepare for next year’s season with the thought of doing a little better than last year.”
They say that the big stage experience is a big help to the growth of the players, but Choi Ji-hoon said he still doesn’t feel it.
He said, “The hyungs said that they would feel more comfortable when the season starts next year. It was the first Korean series and the first time to play a season after winning, so I guess I won’t know until next year.” told
I lost a lot of weight in midsummer this year as well. However, unlike his previous years, his batting performance did not deteriorate significantly. He rather drove his batting average to 0.357 for the month of August.
Choi Ji-hoon, who said, “I think it’s a part of my baseball now, maybe I won’t know if summer is gone,” said Choi Ji-hoon, “I still want to strengthen my stamina, so I’m going to focus more on weight training before going to the US spring camp next February.”
He’s hit even better this year, but he hasn’t set a personal goal yet.
Choi Ji-hoon expressed his determination, saying, “Since the team won this year, I will set the goal of winning again next year.”