Pedi collapsed, Ahn Woo-jin out for the season, Noh Si-hwan hits 30 home runs… The turbulent MVP landscape
The 2023 professional baseball regular season is already coming to an end. As unexpected variables continue to arise, the regular season Most Valuable Player (MVP) landscape is fluctuating.
As of the 4th, 108 to 124 games have been played for each team in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League. With as few as 20 games and as many as 36 games left, it is no exaggeration to say that we have entered the final stages of the season.메이저사이트
However, the MVP landscape is still uncertain. To be precise, we can say that the MVP race has become completely mixed starting last week.
One of the strongest MVP candidates was Eric Peddie (NC). Peddie played as NC’s ace this season and showed off his ‘post-KBO level’ skills.
In particular, he broke various records, including the lowest ever game wins (12 games), 15 wins (19 games), a tie record, and the lowest ever wins against all clubs (10 teams, 15 games).
It is said that the number of wins is not possible only through the strength of the pitcher, but if the ERA is around 1 point, it is difficult to argue that he is a ‘special pitcher’. Peddie consistently maintained an ERA in the 1-point range until the second half of the season, raising expectations for an ERA in the 1-point range in regulation innings for the first time in 13 years since Ryu Hyun-jin (then Hanwha) in 2010.
It was clear that Peddy was the ‘No. 1 MVP’ as his role was essential in helping NC, which was classified in the lower tier before the season, compete in the mid-to-upper tier.
However, Pedi, which seemed like an impregnable fortress, collapsed last week. Peddie pitched his worst pitch of the season, allowing 7 runs in 3 innings against KIA on August 31st. The average ERA, which was 1.97 before this game, quickly soared to 2.39, and he became 3rd in the ERA rankings after Raul Alcantara (Doosan, 2.25) and Ahn Woo-jin (Kiwoom, 2.39).
In a situation where the rarity of an ERA in the 1-point range has disappeared and even the title of first place has disappeared, it is difficult to select Peddie as the ‘No. 1 MVP’.
Last week, another MVP candidate Ahn Woo-jin also left. Woojin Ahn was diagnosed with damage to the collateral ligament on the inside of his elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery. It is a major surgery that inevitably requires a gap of at least a year.
Ahn Woo-jin is a pitcher who has not had much success this season, but has steadily done his part. He maintained an earned run average in the low 2-point range and, above all, ranked first in strikeouts (164 strikeouts). At this pace, he could have struck out 200 times for the first time in the league for two years in a row, following last year (224 strikeouts), so Ahn Woo-jin also seemed to be enough to be an MVP candidate.
However, he was ruled out for the season due to injury and essentially dropped out of the MVP race.
The MVP candidate who has emerged during this time is Hanwha’s ‘divine slugger’ Noh Si-hwan. Noh Si-hwan, who has been hitting home runs in the second half of the season, is leading the team in home runs and RBIs. Last week, he hit his 30th home run of the season, meeting the minimum qualifications as a slugger.
However, the fact that their team, Hanwha, is in the ‘bottom place’ is an obstacle. In the history of the KBO League, there were only two cases in which a team that did not make the postseason produced an MVP: Son Min-han (Lotte) in 2005 and Park Byeong-ho (Kiwoom) in 2012, but both times the team was not in last place.
Another variable is national team selection. Noh Si-hwan has been selected as a member of the national team for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games and will not be able to play until the end of the season. In the meantime, he may lose out on titles such as home runs and RBIs, so he needs to widen the gap as much as possible before being selected.
If Noh Si-hwan maintains the lead in home runs and RBIs as the current situation continues, he could become a strong MVP candidate.
Of course, the season isn’t over yet, so he has to watch it until the end. If Peddie exerts himself at the end of the season and reaches an ERA of 1 point, the situation may change again. In addition, Doosan’s ace Alcantara and KT’s ace Go Young-pyo are also ‘potential candidates.’