Veteran outfielder Son A-seop (35, NC Dinos) was eliminated from the final entry (30 players) of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) on the 4th. Currently digesting the club’s spring camp in Arizona, USA, he said in an interview with this magazine, “It’s a big regret. The national team is where I always want to go.”
Son A-seop was a regular member of the national team. He competed in four international competitions in a row from the 2013 WBC to the 2017 WBC. In the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games (AG), he also won AG gold medals for the second time in a row.
However, it has recently moved away from the Taegeuk mark. He dropped out of the final entry in three consecutive tournaments, including the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier 12, the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, and this WBC. “I don’t think he was chosen because he lacked skill,” he said flatly.
In 2022, expectations and regrets coexisted. Son Ah-seop, who has been active as a Lotte Giants franchise star since his debut in 2007, signed a FA (free agent) contract with NC in December 2021 for up to 6.4 billion won for 4 years (down payment 2.6 billion won, total annual salary 3 billion won, incentive 800 million won). . The interests of the player who wanted a new challenge and the NC club, who determined that reinforcement was necessary, coincided.
In the first season of the transfer, his batting average was 0.277 (152 hits in 548 at-bats) in 138 games, 4 home runs and 48 RBIs. He set the second ‘150 hits in 7 consecutive years’ gold medal in KBO League history, but most of his records fell from the previous year. In particular, his slugging percentage (0.493 → 0.397 → 0.367) has declined for three consecutive years. Son Ah-seop looked back, saying, “It seems that the numbers have fallen together as the hitting mechanism has changed without me knowing.”
We worked tirelessly to rectify the problem. After the season, he trained with Kang Jung-ho, who runs a baseball academy in Los Angeles, California, USA. Son Ah-seop said, “Last season’s batting was sluggish, so I left for the United States a little early to analyze the cause and make up for it. To find the cause of the broken hitting mechanism, I visited ‘Kang Jeong-ho Academy’ and based on the batting video of the last two years, I received feedback. “The change in the hitting mechanism over the past two years has been greater than expected. There was also a process of finding the cause and correcting it, but you will know (the result) only when you enter the season, but I was satisfied that I found the cause.” 스포츠토토
Son A-seop joined the Arizona club camp that started in February after missing the club’s New Year’s party in January. He filled most of his personal time offseason with ‘training’. He said, “It would have been nice if I had come and NC had gone to the postseason, but I don’t think I was able to help the team while suffering from a sluggish batting.” said.
NC failed to cross the threshold of fall baseball last season in 6th place. After the season, starting catcher Yang Eui-ji (Doosan Bears) and main infielder Noh Jin-hyuk (Lotte Giants) left the team as free agents. To make matters worse, even foreign ace Drew Luczynski (Oakland Athletics) returned to the United States. To fill the void, catcher Park Se-hyuk was recruited from the free agent market, and foreign players also brought in active big leaguers (Jason Martin, Eric Peddie, Taylor Widener) with high name values.