‘Career-low’ a reality? Shortstop ‘batting .121′ after returning from injury…’5 billion’ shortstop sees no way out

The direction of the investment was clear. However, no one expected it to be this bad. Noh Jin-hyuk (Lotte Giants) has been in a long slump.

Prior to this season, Lotte had been the “big dog” in the free agent market. Lotte, which has spent the last few years reducing the size of its roster and nurturing prospects, had finally turned the corner. The direction and goal of the investment were clear. They wanted to fill the hole that could not be filled with prospect development alone with money.

After the departure of Kang Min-ho (Samsung), Lotte’s first priority was to find a catcher who hadn’t been found for years, and they signed Yoo Kang-nam for a total of 8 billion won over four years. The second move was Noh Jin-hyuk. The process of acquiring Noh took some effort. After the free agency market opened, Sung Min-kyu made a quick move, and after a courtship, he won Noh’s heart for a total of 5 billion won over four years.

Noh’s advantages were obvious. He has a chronic back problem that makes it difficult for him to play full-time, but the team felt that he could help the team if he played under management. The most notable aspect of Noh’s signing was his offence, especially his ability to hit double-digit home runs.

Looking back at recent years, Noh has always been a slow starter in April, but in April this year, Noh hit .257 with 18 doubles, one home run, 15 RBIs, 12 runs scored, and a .715 OPS, helping Lotte get off to a strong start. And as the month progressed, he started to come alive.

In 21 games in May, Noh hit .318 with two home runs, seven RBIs, 12 runs scored and a .892 OPS. What the stats don’t tell you is that he’s come up big when it matters most, and he’s led Lotte to victory on more than one occasion. He’s lived up to the ‘5 billion won’ investment.

But the joy was short-lived. In mid-June, Noh suffered a side injury during batting practice ahead of the Sajik Hanwha Eagles game. At the time, Lotte thought he might have suffered a major injury, but tests showed that he hadn’t ruptured or torn his side muscle. Both the club and Noh worked tirelessly on his recovery.

Noh travelled to the Ijima Osteopathic Centre in Yokohama, Japan, to receive treatment in order to speed up his recovery. However, Noh’s injury turned out to be longer than originally expected, and the aftermath was significant. After more than a month on the sidelines, Noh returned to the field in July, but struggled to a .109 batting average (5-for-46) with a .327 OPS for the month, and his poor form continued into August. In a three-game series against the NC Dinos-SSG Landers, he was held to one hit.

Noh Jin-hyuk’s rebound was ‘signalled’ on the 8th. Against the Kiwoom Heroes at the Gocheok Sky Dome, he delivered his first multi-hit game in a long time with some well-timed at-bats. “He definitely made some good pitches and got two hits,” said head coach Larry Sutton before the game. He’s got a lot more confidence,” Sutton said before the game. However, with the batting order in the ninth inning, it was disappointing to see Jin-hyeok Noh alone with two outs.

Noh, who was not named in the starting line-up, pinch-hit for leadoff hitter Lee Jung-geun in the top of the ninth inning. Noh drew a three-pitch count against Joo Seung-woo (Kiwoom) to get the advantage. He then watched for one strike and then stuck his bat out on four pitches, retiring on a grounder to second base. Of course, at this point, no one expected Lotte to score five runs.

The most disappointing moment was the second out. Noh Jin-hyuk faced Im Chang-min (Kiwoom) with runners on first and third with the score 8-10. Lim was shaky right out of the gate as he was hit by two singles. However, Noh Jinhyeok hit a 133km forkball out of the strike zone and retreated to the left field bleachers, sealing the game in favour of Kiwoom.

Noh is batting just .121 (8-for-66) since returning from injury. His mid-to-late-season breakout hasn’t happened. It’s not that Lotte’s investments have been misguided. As with An Bang, they have been unable to develop a first baseman for years, so they chose the best way to fill the ‘hole’. However, they didn’t expect Noh Jin-hyuk to be this bad.먹튀검증

It is clear that his performance is not what was expected when he signed a 5 billion won contract at the beginning of the season. It’s frustrating to be the one faced with a situation where baseball isn’t working out the way you thought it would, but at this rate, a ‘career-low’ season after making the leap to ‘mainstay’ in 2018 is likely. The longer Noh remains silent, the more likely it is that Lotte’s dream of autumn baseball will remain a dream.

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