“Sung-joo, don’t look at the numbers.”
LG outfielder Moon Seong-ju, 26, is trying to hit .300 for the second year in a row. He hit .303 last year, but this year’s triple will be even more significant. Last year’s triple was in 106 games, and this year’s is practically a full-time season.
Moon famously surprised manager Yoon Kyung-yeop and hitting coach Lee Ho-joon last winter. After struggling at the end of last year’s season, he announced that he was going to get stronger and improve his long ball, as he believed that relying solely on contact was not competitive.
Yeom and Lee worked hard to make him understand why he was wrong and correct him. Crucially, bulking up doesn’t necessarily equip you with long-hitting power. They convinced him that he needed to develop into a sharper changeup hitter first, and he agreed.
There’s definitely an edge to his arsenal. This season, he hit .349 in April, .295 in May, .286 in June, and .304 in July. However, he falters a bit later in the season. In August, he was 0.258, and in September, he was 0.235 until the 7th game against Suwon KT. Coach Yoon Kyung-yeop eventually diagnosed that his rhythm, which was good because he was conscious of the third-half, was shaky.
He hasn’t been able to hit 3-hole consistently for two to three years, in other words, he hasn’t been able to hit 3-hole but can’t be considered a true 3-hole hitter. Of course, he is a hitter with a very high chance of becoming a true third baseman, but it is fair to say that there are labor pains in the process.
Before the Gwangju KIA game on Aug. 8, manager Yoon Kyung-yeop said, “Sung-ju is batting third, and then you see the number (on the scoreboard). So I said, ‘Don’t look at the number. He said, ‘Don’t look at the number. Numbers are just numbers. If you get caught up in the numbers, you’re not going to hit .300.”
The moment you get caught up in the numbers, you’re in a hurry to hit, and your good form breaks down. “You can look at the numbers at the end of the season. If you just keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll hit 3s. Then, even if you hit 2.8 pounds, you’ve done your job. If you have that mindset, you have a good chance of going 3-for-3. It’s a mental battle. If you look at the numbers, you’ll chase the ball and slump. You have to hit it because it will go to the third.”안전놀이터
Yeom said he recently brought this up with Moon, and Moon understood. “If you chase the result, you will never succeed. You can only succeed if you stick to the process.” Moon didn’t get a hit in the eighth game, dropping his batting average to .299. Instead, he’s picking up two walks and holding his own. It’s a battle with himself.