“Supersonic” that received harsh criticism… U.S. media said, “I don’t know which position it fits.”

“Supersonic” that received harsh criticism… U.S. media said, “I don’t know which position it fits.”

“I honestly don’t know where Bae Ji-Hwan (24) fits in.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in the United States responded to the fans’ comments on March 3 (KST), and reporter Jason McKay responded. The topic of Bae came up, but McKay was blunt in his assessment. 

This season, Bae had a successful full-time season. After joining the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international amateur free agent in 2018, Bae made his major league debut on September 23 last year against the Chicago Cubs, batting ninth and starting at second base. 굿모닝토토

In 10 games in 2022, he showed promise, batting .333 (11-for-33) with six RBIs, five runs scored and six stolen bases, earning a full-time invite to the 2023 season. He received steady at-bats in spring training and played 19 games in exhibition ball, splitting time between the infield and outfield. 

Bae made the Opening Day roster for the first time in his career. In April, he hit two home runs, including his first career grand slam. With the game on the line, he turned the tide with a surprise bunt single and turned an ordinary grounder into an infield hit. 

He played in 76 games before going down with a sprained ankle in June. Since returning from his injury after the All-Star break, Bae has continued to hit the ground running. He finished the season on May 1 against the Miami Marlins. 

In 111 games, he batted .231 (77-for-334) with two home runs, 32 RBIs, 54 runs scored, a .296 on-base percentage, a .311 slugging percentage, and a .607 OPS. He also stole 24 bases and used his speed to his advantage. Not bad considering it was his first full-time season. 

“It’s good that I’ve been in the major leagues for so long. It’s hard for a rookie to do that, but I think that’s the only thing I can be satisfied with.” He added, “I think it’s a big challenge for me to be consistent like a big league player.”

Despite Bae’s satisfaction and his good season for a rookie, there are concerns about him in Korea. One fan wrote, “Where does Bae fit in the future? I find it difficult to find a suitable position considering the saturation of second basemen and his hitting ability.” 

“I feel the same way,” McKay said, “I honestly don’t see where he fits in.” ”I’m with you,” he said, “I honestly don’t know where he fits in. 

“It’s still undecided, but we’ll have to find out,” he said. “Bae has a career OPS of 0.628. He made a lot of errors at second base and went through a period where he was thrown out too many times in the middle infield.” 

In fact, this season, Bae has made seven errors in 64 games at second base and two errors in 62 games in center field. Bae’s DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) at second base was -6, with -1 DRS in center field and -1 DRS at shortstop, for a total of -8 DRS. 

It wasn’t all negative. McKay wrote, “Bae has obvious talent and upside. I’m not giving up on him just yet,” and left a message of support for Bae. 

As Bae prepares for the new season, he will need to work on his defense and batting to show improvement. Will he be able to turn the tide and turn public opinion in a positive direction next season?

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