SSG decided early on not to sign a contract with outfielder Juan Lagares (34), who joined as a substitute foreign player last season and recorded a 30% batting average (.315). It was possible because I was confident that I could bring in a better player than Lagares.
Guillermo Heredia (32) was the player the front desk introduced to SSG coach Kim Won-hyung and the coaching staff. He doesn’t have as much major league experience as Lagares, but he was still a major league player until recently. He was judged to be a better player than La Gares in terms of contact, power, defense, and slugging. The coaching staff also shared their thoughts with the front desk. That’s how Heredia’s landing was confirmed.
In fact, until the time of the recruitment, the question of “is there anything that is definitely better than Lagares?” followed. He wasn’t a long hitter either, and he had some similarities with La Gareth in the overall Diamond of Strength. There was also a harsh criticism that “in that case, it would have been better not to take the risk and just renew the contract with Lagares, who has adapted to the league.” But no one misses Lagares anymore.
Heredia is entering the hearts of SSG fans by showing several strengths in the early part of the season. His performance on the ground is fierce. Heredia has a batting average of 0.344, 2 homers, 9 RBIs, 2 stolen bases, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.917 in 17 games through the 22nd. He is one of the axes that made his most successful debut if he only hits foreign players newly joined this year.
As you can see from his batting average, he has basic contact skills and is the type who sees the ball calmly and better than expected. At the time of bringing Heredia, his major league performance, which was clearly better than Lagares, was less swinging on manned balls that fell outside the zone. Adaptation to the KBO League was the key, but fortunately, I am confirming that advantage. He hits when he is aggressive, and has an approach that suits situations where he needs to be persistent and sees a lot of the ball.
On top of that, he shows his ability to fill a spot in left field as he does not hesitate to defend himself. Considering Lagares’ unexpectedly weak defense last year, the defense is definitely an upgrade. He also energizes the team with his aggressive base play. He’s the type of hitter that SSG didn’t have the most. He can’t help but like the coaching staff or the fans or Heredia. 안전놀이터
It remains to be seen, but there is a possibility that he will develop into a player who has both on-base and long hits. This is because the batted ball has recently become sharper and the ball has risen, resulting in long hits. On the one hand, this reminds me of Jose Pirella (34) in his first year at Samsung. Pirella was also a player with many questions at the time of joining, but he successfully renewed his contract as he gradually blows strong balls and his long hits increase.
Compared to Pirella at the time, Heredia has fewer extra-base hits but better strikeout and walk rates. It is also positive that he has far more batted balls going outfield than getting stuck in the infield. The key will be how well he can overcome the checks and analysis of KBO league pitchers to come in the future, but the start couldn’t be better.