‘Lee Jong-beom’s successor’ Kim Do-young, will his potential explode in the second year?

Ahead of the opening of the 2023 KBO League regular season, the outlook for last year’s 5th place KIA Tigers is not so bright. The main catcher Park Dong-won, 메이저놀이터who obtained FA qualification last winter, transferred to the LG Twins for a total of 6.5 billion won over four years. KIA still remains a weakness as it did not fill the home vacancy by recruiting an outside FA catcher. 

Moreover, KIA has a high proportion of veteran beasts. If they get a year older and show the ‘aging curve’, KIA Yasu-jin becomes even weaker. In order for KIA to advance into the postseason for the second year in a row, it is very important whether or not young beasts grow.

The beast with high expectations in this year’s KIA is infielder Kim Do-young, who is in his second year as a pro. Last year, Kim Do-young graduated from Dongseong High School in Gwangju and received the first nomination from the KIA and joined the team with a down payment of 400 million won. KIA made headlines by choosing Kim Do-young instead of giving up the nomination of right-handed fireballer Moon Dong-ju from Jinheung High School. Expectations were raised that Kim Do-young would become the successor to Lee Jong-beom, a legend whose back number 7 had been permanently removed.

Kim Do-young participated in 12 exhibition games and had a batting average of 0.432, 2 homers, 5 RBIs, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 1.068, and was called a ‘super rookie’ and was mentioned as a strong candidate for the rookie king. In the KIA, Park Chan-ho is the starting shortstop, so Kim Do-young is in charge of the third baseman. 

However, Kim Do-young hit the high wall of the pro for the first time as he failed to get on base with a total of 9 hits and 3 strikeouts even after starting in the opening two games. During the month of April, Kim Do-young was extremely sluggish with a batting average of 0.179, 4 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.445 without a home run. 

In the demonstration game, opposing pitchers easily challenged Kim Do-young with a fastball, but as the regular season began, the proportion of manned pitchers increased. Kim Do-young could not properly cope with a breaking ball that was qualitatively different from the level he experienced in high school. KIA’s hot corner owner changed from Kim Do-young to Ryu Ji-hyeok. Kim Do-young’s position in the team has changed due to backup factors such as large runners and large defense.

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