“For the rest of the games, we will try to lower our goal rate.”
먹튀검증Hanwha head coach Choi Won-ho has announced a change in the way he picks his players. While his starting lineup has focused on scoring runs, he’s now prioritizing defense, a decision made in light of the team’s poor batting performance.
As of Sept. 29, after 107 games, Hanwha’s team batting average is 0.239, the lowest in the league. Their batting average with runners in scoring position (0.228) and OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage – 0.670) are also last. The slump in the batting order has pushed Hanwha to ninth in the league with a six-game losing streak.
While the hitting cycles of the fielders have dropped across the board, defensive errors have been holding Hanwha back lately. A case in point is the upset loss to Samsung Electronics in Daejeon on April 22. With a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth inning, Hanwha gave up four runs on errors by shortstop Ha Joo-seok and right fielder Nick Williams, and eventually lost 3-5.
Since taking the helm, Choi has emphasized the offense of his players. He has adopted a mercenary approach by playing his hitters first, even if it means risking a relatively weak defense. In the second half of the season, he finally changed his tactics when he saw red flags in both offense and defense.
Hanwha infielder Roh Si-hwan. Courtesy of Hanwha
Choi said, “Our batting pace has dropped a lot lately, and we’ve been making a lot of errors on defense. For the rest of the games, we’re going to try to lower our error rate instead of trying to score more runs.”
With the exception of some players, such as Noh Si-hwan and Chae Eun-sung, who are irreplaceable in the batting department, the plan is to prioritize players with good defense, even if their batting is a little behind.
“Recently, we’ve had a lot of tight games with our starting pitchers as our scoring has dropped, and there have been times when we’ve allowed ‘big innings’ due to defensive mistakes,” he said. “Now, we’re going to start players with good defense first, and then bring in players with good hitting later in the game.”
Under Choi’s new standards, Nick Williams’ spot in the lineup has narrowed even further. After going hitless in the previous three games, Williams was left out of the starting lineup against Gwangju KIA on April 27 and was not even used as a late-game substitute.
“Internally, we have a low opinion of his defensive ability, and his batting is not good,” Choi said. “If he recovers his batting, we will use him as a designated hitter or a late-game substitute.”