Will the 2023 KBO season be the year that defies baseball adages?
If you’re a baseball fan, you can probably think of at least one “big game” where your favorite team’s hard-fought victory came down to one silly mistake. The impact of a single mistake at a crucial moment on a pitcher’s mentality and team morale is enormous.
This is why reducing mistakes is one of the first steps to becoming a stronger team. In the same vein, a team with fewer errors and a solid infield and outfield defense is considered a strong team. If you look back over the history of the KBO, you’ll see that every year there are exceptions, but the teams that make it to fall baseball are usually among the top teams in terms of fewest errors.
But this year is different. Through three days, Hanwha leads the 2023 team in fewest errors (76), followed by Lotte (79) and Samsung (80). In order of fielding percentage, it’s Hanwha, Samsung, and Lotte.
None of these teams are favorites for fall baseball this year. With 34 games left in the regular season, the difference between seventh-place Lotte (51 wins and 59 losses) and the fifth-place NC Dinos (57 wins and 51 losses) is a whopping seven games. Samsung (49-64) is three and a half games behind Lotte, and Hanwha (44-61) is four and a half games behind.
The list of most errors is also a head-scratcher. The top team is none other than the leaders, the LG Twins. They are followed by NC, Kiwoom, and KT. KT is the only real challenger to the mighty LG this year. NC is also battling with KIA and Doosan in fall baseball.
Mistakes are naturally more common in the infield than in the outfield. With the help of statistics, we can get a glimpse of the quality of the defense that cannot be determined by the number of errors, fielding percentage, and impressions alone. A good example is RAA (Runs Above Average) from baseball stats site Statiz. It takes into account the position of the batted ball and the defense, the direction of the batted ball in front of the defense, and the quality of the batted ball. It’s not perfect, but it gives you a more realistic representation of the leaderboard.
Lotte commits fewer errors, but their defense has a noticeably narrower range. This impression is backed up by the stark numbers in RAA. Lotte’s RAA is a whopping -34.40, dead last out of the 10 teams. The outfield (10th, -31.97) is worse than the infield (8th, -7.67), 바카라사이트 especially the center field (-14.25) and left field (-11.26). This is followed by the ninth-ranked Kiwoom (-11.53) and eighth-ranked Samsung (-6.07).
In terms of RAA, Hanwha (22.70) is the clear favorite. The bottom line is that while the team’s offense is lackluster, its defense is outstanding. Lee Do-yoon (9.24) and Lee Jin-young (8.08) top the infield and outfield respectively. Hanwha’s defense isn’t the only reason they’re at the bottom of the leaderboard.
On the other hand, the defenses of LG and NC, who had the misfortune of being ranked 1-2 in most errors, find themselves in a more familiar position, ranked 3rd overall (5.07) and 2nd (13.00), respectively, via RAA.