‘Main player’ Bae Ji-hwan becomes a backup, but directly mentions the bench… “It started to be a problem with the PIT”

Bae Ji-hwan (24, Pittsburgh Pirates), the ‘main second baseman’, is shaking. A red light came on in the competition for the starting lineup in the future as a result of recent base run mistakes and competitor Rodolfo Castro’s (24) performance.

On the 25th (Korean time),스포츠토토 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a leading media in the Pittsburgh region, directly mentioned Bae Ji-hwan’s bench trip, saying, “Pittsburgh has come up with five scenarios that can make changes in preparation for a troublesome May.”

The Pirates’ momentum, which commanded the National League with a record of 19 wins and 9 losses in the month of April, has gone nowhere with 5 wins and 15 losses in May. In a situation where change is needed, it is significant that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette brought out the first of the five things that needed to be changed: ‘Start Castro-Candidate Bae Ji-hwan’.

After the opening, Pittsburgh’s starting second baseman was Bae Ji-hwan. Initially, he started as a backup infielder, but on the 11th of last month, he took the opportunity when shortstop O’Neal Cruz (25) was listed on the injured list. After that, he succeeded in 11 out of 12 stolen base attempts during the month of April, and secured a starting position as he became a symbolic figure of the ‘Running Pirates’.

However, in May, as mistakes became frequent in Juru, his momentum waned. Out of 7 stolen base attempts, only 3 were successful, and the base stealing success rate for the season fell below the efficiency margin of 75%, which began to adversely affect the team’s performance. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said, “Considering Bae’s batting average of 0.286 in May, he has never been a bad hitter.

The example match was against the Texas Rangers on the 24th. In the game, which Pittsburgh lost 1-6, Bae Ji-hwan went 2-for-3, but made two fatal running errors. In the 3rd inning, he was checked out on 1st base safely, and in the 8th inning, with 2nd out and 1st base, he misjudged the batted ball when Andrew McCutchen hit and was out in the process of returning to second base, ending the inning. Regarding this, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette pointed out, “If Bae Ji-hwan does not use his main power effectively, that advantage will inevitably lose its meaning.”

The problem is that if Bae Ji-hwan’s quick feet are no longer a weapon, he has no distinct strengths compared to his competitor Castro. Bae Ji-hwan can play various positions such as second baseman, shortstop, and center fielder, but he is below the major league average in various defensive indicators. Bae Ji-hwan had a batting average of 0.264, 2 home runs, OPS 0.666, wRC+ (adjusted scoring production) of 84 in 45 games, and Castro had a batting average of 0.263, 5 home runs, OPS 0.805, and wRC+ 123 in 44 games, showing inferiority in productivity.

The regret against right-handed pitchers is also the reason why Castro’s selection is more likely than Bae Ji-hwan’s. Although Bae Ji-hwan is a left-handed hitter, he has a batting average of 0.239 against right-handed pitchers and 0.324 against left-handed pitchers. On the other hand, Castro, a switch hitter, has a 0.326 batting average, 0.418 on-base percentage, and 0.717 slugging percentage against right-handed pitchers.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said, “Irregular appearances are starting to affect Castro’s hitting. He has a .229 batting average in May as he starts less at second base.” If you start a lot, it means Bae Ji-hwan will have to go to the bench.”

“Bae Ji-hwan and Castro are equal defenders compared to each other. The unfortunate reality for Castro is that Bae Ji-hwan is guaranteed most of the playing time and at-bats while platooning,” he said. If Bae Ji-hwan shows recklessness, Pittsburgh coach Derek Selton needs to reevaluate how to manage second base.”

In effect, it is a story to guarantee Castro a bat. Right now, Castro is starting as a shortstop and Bae Ji-hwan as a second baseman, but when Cruise returns in August, one of them has to go to the bench.

Bae Ji-hwan showed his will to improve in an interview after the game with Texas, saying, “The biggest task for me right now is to read the game situation well and distinguish when to use my feet and when not to use them.” Attention is focusing on whether he will be able to keep his starting position until the end of the season with his changed attitude.

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