Kim Do-young (19), a second-year infielder for the KIA Tigers, was dubbed the “next Lee Jong-bum” in high school. He was recognized for his potential in all areas of the game, but his ability to run the bases stood out the most.안전놀이터
Kim, who had been rehabbing from a right pinky toe injury, returned to the field against the KT Wiz on March 23 and stole a base in his first at-bat in the bottom of the first inning. He added two more stolen bases in the next three games to energize the team’s offense.
KIA has built a “trio of athletes. Park Chan-ho (28), who led the league in stolen bases (42) last season (2022), and Choi Won-joon (26), who recorded 40 stolen bases in 2021, returned from military service on March 13. Add to that Kim Do-young. Together, they have the baserunning ability to combine for 100 stolen bases in a single season.
KIA head coach Kim Jong-kook deployed the three side-by-side against the Kiwoom Heroes at home (Gwangju) on April 27-28. Kim Do-young and Choi Won-joon were the table-setters (batting 1-2) and Park Chan-ho was the No. 9 hitter.
With quick runners on base, it’s hard for the opposing batter to focus on the batters. Pitching out to prevent stolen bases puts them at a disadvantage in the pitch count battle.
KIA Athletics showed their true colors in the bottom of the seventh inning of the second game of the Kiwoom on April 28, when they shook up the opposing battery. Leadoff hitter Park Chan-ho drew a walk from pitcher Won Jong-hyun and then tried to steal second base on the first pitch of Kim Do-young’s at-bat, but was thrown out at the plate by Kim Dong-heon, the Kiwoom catcher. However, in the next at-bat, Kim Do-young, who had singled, tried to steal second base on the first pitch. Won Jong-hyun gave up a single to Choi Won-joon.
Only one of the three players would reach base and advance to scoring position. The KIA center field lineup of Na Sung-beom, Choi Hyung-woo, and Socrates Brito is one of the best in the league. On the bench is tactical specialist Kim Jong-kook. He is a coach who can fully utilize the baserunning abilities of Park Chan-ho, Kim Do-young, and Choi Won-joon.
After leading the league in batting average (.381) in May, Chan-ho Park has struggled in June, hitting in the low double digits. Choi Won-jun, who was hot upon his return, has also cooled off. If both players’ batting cycles pick up, KIA’s “mobility baseball” will be more active.