Pittsburgh Pirates Bae Ji-hwan (24) had a May that was the opposite of April. In April, he stole a whopping 11 bases in 21 games, but struggled at the plate, batting just 2-for-5 with a .652 OPS in 80 at-bats.
In May, however, he stole four bases in 24 games, but was also caught four times. He was criticized for recklessly stealing bases to break up the flow, but his bat was noticeably better, going 3-for-4 with a .751 OPS in 69 at-bats. On the season, his batting average has risen to 2-for-71 (149-for-41) with an OPS of .698.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a local publication in Pittsburgh, USA, also highlighted Bae’s transformation on May 2, citing six things that characterized the Pirates’ month of May.
“Bae was running wild in the outfield in May, and not in a good way. He was caught four times in eight stolen base attempts and made several other reckless advances. It shouldn’t have happened,” he said, pointing out the inefficient baserunning.
However, the media went on to say, “At the same time, you have to give Bae credit. No one else in Pittsburgh had a higher batting average (.304) in May, and only Andrew McCutchen (.390) had a higher on-base percentage than Bae (.360),” and that “if Bae can improve his judgment at the plate, Pittsburgh could be really good.
MLB.com also covered the reasons for Bae’s improved hitting over the past day. Bae used to hit with a high leg kick, where his right leg is raised high. There was enough movement to get his right foot over his left knee, but in May, he shortened his stride and simplified his form, keeping his foot almost on the ground. He went from two home runs in April to none in May, but his accuracy improved.안전놀이터
In mid-April, Pittsburgh hitting coach Andy Haines asked him, “Are you using your leg kick to add power?” and that’s when he made the change. With Haines’ guidance, Bae stood a little farther away from the plate and stood up straight instead of crouching, giving him more room to move, and in May, the results began to show.
“It feels different, but I’m learning every day,” Bae said. “My coaches told me to put my legs down and relax instead of putting more power into my leg kicks,” he said, “because it feels different, but I’m learning every day. I’m really grateful to the coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to play every day.”