Reporter Kim Joo-hee = ‘Next big thing’ Noh Si-hwan (Hanwha Eagles) will attempt to become the first home run king in his career.
Noh Si-hwan started the game against KT Wiz in the 2023 Shinhan Bank Solar KBO League at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on the 9th, batting third and drawing three arches.
He exploded from the first at-bat.
With the bases loaded in the first inning, Noh crushed a four-pitch change-up from KT starter Uhm Sang-baek for a solo shot to left-centre field.
After activating his home run machine for the first time in two games since the KIA Tigers on the 6th, Noh showed off his power in his second at-bat of the third. With runners on first and second, Noh took advantage of a fastball from Uhm Sang-baek and smashed a three-run shot over the left-centre fence once again.
After hitting his 24th and 25th home runs of the season, Noh sent another pitch over the fence against KT’s Kim Young-hyun in the eighth inning. It was his 26th home run of the season and his first three-homer game.
Called up by Hanwha with the third overall pick in the second round of the 2019 KBO First-Year Player Draft, Noh has exploded with potential in his fifth year with the club. He is on pace to surpass his previous career-high of 18 home runs in a season (2021).
His six home runs in July also earned him the KBO’s monthly Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for the first time in his career.
Not content with that, he also has his sights set on the KBO’s home run title.
If Noh finishes the season as the league’s home run leader, he will become the third Hanwha player in history to do so, joining Jang Jong-hoon (1990-1992) and Kim Tae-gyun (2008).
Jang Jong-hoon and Kim Tae-gyun are both legends who remain with Hanwha. For Noh, who broke through the ranks as a prospect, becoming a home run king could mean more than that.
His next challenge will come at the Hangzhou Asian Games. Noh will be competing in the Asian Games wearing the Korean flag.
During the Asian Games, the KBO regular season will continue without interruption. Depending on how his competitors perform while he’s away, the home run leaderboard could change dramatically.
Noh’s biggest competition is SSG Landers’ Choi Jung.
Choi is second in home runs this year with 21 balls over the fence. He is five behind Noh.
Consistency is Choi’s biggest advantage.
He has 18 consecutive seasons of double-digit home runs since 2007 and eight consecutive seasons of 20 home runs since 2016. On 9 September, he hit his 21st home run of the season against the NC Dinos, giving him 450 for his career and moving him into second place on the all-time list.
Choi, who has won the home run title three times in his career (2016, 2017, 2021), could be a threat to Noh if he continues to pile up the home runs.스포츠토토
LG Twins’ Park Dong-won, Doosan Bears’ Yang Seok-hwan and SSG’s Choi Joo-hwan are tied for third in home runs with 16 cannonballs apiece.
Park led the home run race with 13 through May, but has slowed down since midseason. Since June, he’s only managed one home run per month.