“The pressure is on, I can’t play…” KIA’s 26-year-old outfielder confesses, looks forward to 2024 more than 2023

“It was a burden. I didn’t play my best.”

KIA’s Choi Won-jun (26), who moved from first base to the outfield, spoke candidly after the Gwangju LG game on the 10th. As he spoke, he reflected on the difficulties of joining the first team in the middle of the season. Choi Won-jun made his comeback on June 13 against Gochuk Kiwoom after leaving the team.

His performance did not meet expectations. In 60 games, he batted .248 with 54 hits in 218 at-bats, one home run, 22 RBIs, 33 runs scored, 12 doubles, a .326 on-base percentage, a .331 OPS, a .657 slugging percentage, and a .321 on-base percentage. In August, he was moved to the outfield because he kept making mistakes at first base. Choi said he felt more comfortable there. Even though he couldn’t start every game in the outfield, he still contributed to the team by stealing three bases in the LG Electronics League on the 10th. 

In fact, it was a kind gesture by coach Kim Jong-kook to keep him at first base. Unlike before Choi’s military service, KIA’s outfield depth is the strongest in the league. Na Seong-beom and Socrates Brito are new additions, and Lee Woo-sung has broken out as a star in waiting, but first base has been a bit of a struggle with Hwang Dae-in and Byun Woo-hyuk.

Moreover, Choi Won-jun’s preparation for the season was not smooth. “I didn’t have enough time to establish my batting,” he said in an interview after his return. Of course, he was facing unfamiliar pitchers after returning to the first team after a long time, but he said, “My power analysis is good these days.” It means that the cause is not the external environment, but himself. It’s definitely a style where I need to prepare well from the beginning to show my skills.

With the help of hitting coach Lee Bum-ho and the power analysis department, Choi continues to work on improving his hitting. Won-jun Choi also needs to finish the season well somehow. He puts in a lot of effort. “It takes a long time to adjust after military service,” he says, “and I didn’t adjust well because I tried to do too well. It was a lot of pressure and I didn’t play my best. But now I’m used to it. I’m more comfortable in the outfield than first base.” 스포츠토토

Instead, he said he thinks he can do better in 2024 than he did this year. Indeed, he should, and he’s a good enough hitter to do so. “I think I can do better next year than this year,” Choi said. I think it will be fun if I do well from spring training next year.”

The Hangzhou Asian Games team will convene on the 23rd. Choi Won-jun will also be wearing the Korean flag, but he said, “I won’t realize it until I’m there. There’s no pressure, and I’m more focused on the team than the national team right now.” He needs to improve his batting so that he can perform well for the national team.
Article courtesy of My Daily

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