It’s been a crazy 58 games.
The Kia Tigers’ YouTube channel, GATIVI, released a video of the players participating in their final training session in Gwangju on May 5. The players, who are not from Okinawa, focused mainly on weight training instead of skill training. Rehabilitators and veterans are the main focus. Na Sung-bum was also seen.
Na injured his calf in March while preparing for the World Baseball Classic. He was unable to participate in the WBC and skipped domestic exhibition games. His first game of the season was on June 23 against KT in Gwangju, but on September 19, he injured his hamstring while running the bases against LG Electronics in Gwangju, ending his season.
The 144-game pennant race is more than six months long. Na Sung-beom only played for three months. He actually played only 58 games. But the impact of those 58 games was huge. 222 at-bats, 81 hits, .365, 18 home runs, 57 RBI, 51 runs scored, 0.671 slugging percentage, 0.427 OPS, 1.098 OPS, 0.348 on-base percentage.
That’s almost 20 home runs in just three months of play, and that’s a lot of power. He was also a star in the clutch. The power of the KIA center field lineup with Na Sung-bum was much different from what it had been in the past. If you hit it, it was at least a double. His name always echoed around the stadium when it mattered, and he wore his hair in a chic way.
The magnitude of those 58 games is realized when you look at the secondary stats. His Adjusted Runs Saved was a whopping 208.2 according to Baseball-Reference. The top player in the league this year is Si-Hwan Noh (Hanwha Eagles) at 159.3. Because it’s a ratio stat, it doesn’t include Na Sung-beom, who didn’t get a regular at-bat. However, he was more explosive in certain areas than the top hitter this year. 무지개토토 도메인
If Na had played a full 144 games, he would have maintained a wRC+ of over 200. The only other hitter in recent memory to have a wRC+ of over 200 according to Statistiz was Eric Theismann (NC Dinos) in 2016. That year, Thames hit .381 with 47 home runs, 140 RBI, 130 runs scored, and 40 stolen bases in 142 games. It was a legendary 40-40 season.
No one knows the outcome of the road less traveled. But if Na maintains the same production he had this year on a full-time basis next year, it will be exciting. Na’s highest adjusted OPS season was 198.8 in 2019, when he was in the NC.
His only other seasons above 1.000 OPS were 2017 (1.000) and 2019 (1.089), which makes those 58 games all the more disappointing. Hypothetically speaking, this season could have been different if Na had played 100 games.