Park Chan-ho, 28, has been a key infielder for the KIA Tigers for five seasons now, from 2019, when he started playing full-time after leaving the military, to this year. In 2019, he made his first full-time start at third base, and since the 2020 season, he has been playing shortstop, depending on the team’s needs.
Shortstop is the most defensively demanding position in the infield. Park’s lack of first-team experience certainly limited his ability to perform consistently at shortstop. His batting average in 2020 (0.223) was down significantly from 2019 (0.260), but he still managed to get through his first full season as a starting shortstop, playing 141 games in 2020. While his offense left something to be desired, his defense showed promise despite his inexperience, earning him a spot as KIA’s new starting shortstop. 먹튀검증
In 2021, his second season at shortstop, Park hit .246 with 59 RBI and 51 runs scored in 131 games. His batting average was once again in the mid-teens, but it wasn’t a dramatic change. To make matters worse, the team failed to make the postseason in consecutive seasons, which didn’t help Park’s reputation.
Park has been forced to prove himself year after year. Heading into the 2022 season, he was joined by Kim Do-young (20), an infielder who had been touted as a top rookie, and the competition became even more intense.
In the 2022 season, however, Park Chan-ho was still the star shortstop for KIA. In 131 games, he hit a career-high .272 with 45 RBIs, 81 runs scored, and 42 stolen bases. The shortstop put up solid numbers and led the team to fall baseball.
Park has improved every year, and he’s on pace to repeat his career high again this year. In the first 76 games of the season, he batted .272 with 28 RBI, 33 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases. In the last 10 games of the first half, he was especially hot, batting .343 (12-for-35) with one home run, six RBI, six runs scored, and four doubles.
If he can match his career highs from last year, he could put an end to his five-year battle to prove himself. In the second half of the season, which is expected to see some good-natured competition from Kim Do-young and other shortstop candidates, it will be interesting to see if Park’s steady rise can lead to a satisfactory performance for both the team and the individual.