One decisive force in the 2023 season: the Park Dong-won butterfly effect

Last winter, the catcher market in the Korean Baseball Organization’s offseason was centered around Yang Ji Hyun, who switched from NC to Doosan for a record-breaking $15.2 billion over 4+2 years. In the aftermath of Yang’s move, free agent Park Se-hyuk, Doosan’s starting catcher, donned an NC uniform.

With Yang Ji’s arrival, Doosan gained momentum in developing young pitchers and created a new centerpiece in the batting order. NC has also exceeded expectations in the new season with Park Se-hyuk at the plate.

With the 2023 season in full swing, there is one offseason move that now seems to be more prominent than the Yang Ji transfer. The move of catcher Park Dong-won, who became a free agent from KIA. This year’s regular season has been characterized as the “Park Dong-won butterfly effect.

Park was traded to KIA in April of last year while playing for Kiwoom, a team with a huge need for catchers, but he defied expectations and chose to move to LG in the offseason. It was later revealed that he had an unofficial falling out with the club’s manager during the transfer process.

Park’s move would ultimately have a significant impact on the new season. At the time, LG realized that the negotiations between KIA and Park Dong-won were not going well, so they pushed aside the ‘Yoo Kang-nam retention negotiations’ and prioritized the ‘Park Dong-won signing’. And they succeeded in signing Park Dong-won.

Park Dong-won’s departure changes LG’s starting catcher. Yoo Kang-nam’s departure also changed Lotte’s starting catcher. Park Dong-won’s offseason move also changed KIA’s starting catcher during the season. Samsung, which had three catchers to spare, sent one of them, Kim Tae-gun, to KIA last week to acquire infielder Ryu Ji-hyuk.

The “Park Dong-won butterfly effect” is ongoing. LG’s addition of home run-hitting catcher Park Dong-won has elevated an offense that was already top-tier. As of the eighth day, LG’s team OPS is 0.772. That’s well above the league average of 0.703. Of these, Park Dong-won leads the team with a season OPS of 0.895. LG is scheduled to end the first half of the regular season with the lead, but without the firepower of Park Dong-won, who has been able to hit decisive long balls at key junctures, the race would not have been as easy.메이저놀이터

After trying to quench their catcher thirst by signing Park Dong-won, but only getting more thirsty since the offseason, KIA is entering the midsummer race with a new catcher, Kim Tae-gun, after a series of twists and turns. For now, the positive signs are coming in strong.

From the first five days of Kim’s arrival to the last eight days, KIA has won four straight games. The team ERA in the four games is also stable at 2.00. After “resetting” two of their pitchers and making major adjustments to their battery, KIA has set the tone for a big rebound. With four games between them and third-place Doosan, they are not far behind.

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