Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Brief Look at the Swings of Notable KBO hitters

In this post, I will do quick breakdowns of a few hitters swings, with GIFs for visual aids, in the Korea Baseball Organization. The collection of hitters is somewhat random, a combination of some of the game's best hitters, along with a few hitters that were included by suggestion. I'll list a short note on why each hitter is notable, but this post isn't statistical in nature. For most hitters, I showed them hitting the ball each direction to take a look at how they change their swings when they go the other way or when they pull the ball.

Choi Jeong: 2013 KBO OPS leader so far

Pulled Single:

Choi is a pull hitter, and we see a glimpse of that here as he pulls a hard fastball on the outside part of the plate. Of course, this pull approach leads to this:

Pulled homer:

His swing actually gets a little long, even on this low and in pitch, so him getting beat inside with premier velocity may be a problem with his swing.

Opposite field home run:

He appears to be an incredible low ball hitter with his uppercut swing path. The best bet to pitching against him is probably to try to get him up and in with good fastballs.

Park Byung-ho: Just .001 OPS points down from Choi for the league lead, with a better strikeout to walk rate.

 Opposite field homer:

Based on video I've seen, it appears that Park is more of an opposite field hitter, especially when compared to Choi. He has an uppercut as well, though I don't think it is quite as drastic as Choi's.

Center field homer:

He seems to adjust well and not have too violent of a swing. 


 He seems to handle inside pitches really well.

Kim Tae-kyun: KBO leader in Batting RAA in 2012

Pulled homer:

That looks like a really smooth swing with good bat speed, just letting his natural strength take over by getting to the ball easily and not getting too long or violent.

Homer to center:

He looks like a low ball hitter thanks to his slight shoulder lean forward and his uppercut swing path. 

Hit to opposite field:

That is pretty incredible strength to be able to fight off a ball that far.

Choi Hyung-woo: 3rd in OPS in the KBO

Pulled homer:

While he clearly swings hard and is looking to pull an outside pitch here, his swing path stays smooth on a high breaking ball.


It is easy to see an adjustment here, as he uppercuts on the low pitch to get under it. He also shows good reach to get to the ball without coming out of his stance. I would say he has some pretty long arms, not to mention good natural strength. 

Side view:

He has a very slight leg kick, but other than that, his feet are really good, giving him a strong base. It actually looks like he got jammed a little bit in this swing, with it getting a little too long. 

Park Suk-Min: 4th in KBO OPS

Pull homer on low pitch:

While it certainly looks sloppy mechanically, that is good reach and mid pitch adjustment to make contact and clearly he is very strong. 

Homer to center:

Unlike some of the hitters above, he is clearly coming out of his shoes to hit the ball, probably making him susceptible to being fooled easier, but as the first GIF shows, he can make contact on bad pitches.

Lee Byung-Hyu: Batting average of .360, striking out just 11 % of the time

He leans out of the box, but doesn't quite get the extreme running start that may make it hard for him to hit outside pitches. He stays in enough to make contact and spray the ball, but he is robbing himself of the most of the power he does have (which judging by his frame compared to the power hitters above, isn't all that much). 

View from above and behind:

That is good extension and good hand eye coordination.

Lee Seung-Yeop: Former NPB hitter, best days are clearly behind him, but he hit 56 homers in the KBO in 2003

He does have more of the NPB swing, coming out of the box a bit, though he seems to be pretty uppercut heavy and he is swing is a little long.

Other way:

This doesn't look like a power swing, and so far this year, it hasn't been. 

Kim Hyun-Soo: One of the bigger players in the KBO, though Kim is more of an average + walks hitter than a power hitter.

Pull Homer:
 Good control of his body, along with a quick bat allows him to adjust to the ball rather quickly. He uses a leg kick and sweep for timing, but at least in the above GIF, it doesn't hurt his chances of getting to the low and inside pitch.

Opposite Field:

 This seems to be a little bit more of a natural swing for him, as it looks like he wants to extend his arms. He seems to be pretty athletic at the plate considering his size, because he adjusts very quickly.

Lee Ho-jun: Veteran KBO player with over 260 career homers, currently leading the NC Dinos in OPS.

Hit up the middle:

Swing seems a little long, but he clearly has good plate coverage and a relatively flat swing path. 

From the side:

That is a big leg kick so timing is very important for him, but this side view shows how clean the bat path is.

Lee Dae-hyung: Poor hitter, known for his funky mechanics that have him running out of the box (though he stays back on the GIF below) and looking away from where the ball hits his bat:

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