Every season, there were teams that put more meaning on ‘process’ than ‘result’ and prepared for the season with that at the forefront. It was a time when I got used to the slogans from inside and outside the club. For example, Hanwha’s ‘rebuilding’ and Lotte’s ‘process’ were slogans of each team pointing to a single direction.
The 2023 season is a little different. The direction of each team is gathered in one place. Everyone is shouting ‘Winning baseball’.
Changes in the flow are detected in actions rather than words. A number of clubs appeared that did not stop at declaring ‘winning baseball’ and showed clear movements for this.
Since 2019, when KT, which joined as the 10th and youngest team in the 2010s, climbed to 6th place in the regular season and escaped from a fixed last-place candidate, Hanwha and Lotte were the teams that divided the bottom. After Lotte fell to the bottom in the 2019 season, Hanwha could not get out of last place for three years from the 2020 season to last year. In terms of cumulative win rate over the past four years, Hanwha ranked 10th with 0.356 (199 wins, 1 draw, 360 losses), while Lotte was better than that with 0.443 (248 wins, 16 wins, 312 losses), but only ranked 9th.
Pre-season expectations were not significantly different. Hanwha has been nominated as the number one candidate for last place almost every season, and Lotte has also failed to match the season with a bright outlook in recent years.
The two teams showed the most flamboyant moves this winter to build strength to win even one more game. Hanwha recruited the necessary resources in the right place in the free agent (FA) market, such as Chae Eun-seong, Lee Tae-yang, and Oh Seon-jin. Lotte signed contracts with Yoo Kang-nam, Noh Jin-hyuk, and Han Hyun-hee, bringing a clear strengthening to the team’s power. Hanwha is also thrilled at the time to receive a reward for their hard work from young players acquired through the first round of nominations, such as Moon Dong-ju and Kim Seo-hyun.
Both teams need to post at least better results than last year. The reason for raising the ranking became clear. From an objective point of view, it has the power to do so to some extent. In the’Season Prospect’, which will come out after an exhibition game in 2023, it seems that it will be more difficult than any other year for any expert to pick a bottom team.
It is expected that the teams to be considered as favorites for the championship this year will not deviate too much from the conventional wisdom. 안전놀이터 Defending champion SSG, LG, the runner-up team in the regular season last year, Kiwoom, who reinforced their strength in this Stove League as a runner-up in the Korean Series, and KT, who stagnated for a year due to an injury to their main player after winning the 2021 season, are classified as winning candidates.
However, it is expected that the gaze pointing at the ‘last-place candidate’ will be more dispersed than in any other year. Even if it wasn’t Hanwha or Lotte, they gave up catcher Park Dong-won, but the KIA is finding a balance in the pitching staff, Doosan, which ranked 9th last year but started rebuilding by hiring catcher Yang Eui-ji with the appointment of manager Lee Seung-yeop, Samsung, which is still with a trio of top-class foreigners, reorganization since the middle of last year The title of last place does not suit any team, including NC, which has succeeded in winning the 2018 World Cup.
In the 2023 season, which team will finish the season at the bottom of the leaderboard? This is a very difficult season to choose from.