“I can’t not prepare. Soon there will come a time when a single will become a double for players with fast legs. “I think fast players are becoming very advantageous, as is the case in the major leagues now.”
Because this has always been the case, we have no choice but to prepare for change. As the baseball revolution is making a soft landing in Major League Baseball (MLB), the KBO League also plans to follow MLB’s trend. LG is preparing as the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) has already announced that it will implement various systems introduced by MLB starting from the 2024 season.
The key to the MLB baseball revolution introduced from the 2023 season is ‘speed up.’ Not only does it reduce game time, but it also consistently creates in-play situations and maximizes speed. The pitcher must pitch or start a check within 15 seconds when there are no runners, and within 20 seconds when there are runners on base, and check pitches are limited to two innings. In addition, as the size of the base increased, it prevented injuries and encouraged active base running.
The result is a huge success. The game time has been shortened by more than 20 minutes on average, and dynamic scenes are consistently produced in the shortened game. The proportion of stolen bases, which had continued to decline over the past 10 years, has improved significantly. In the game between Philadelphia and Miami on the 10th (Korean time), Philadelphia’s Bryson Stott succeeded in stealing his 3,000th league base. It was a scene where the era of 3,000 stolen bases, which had not existed for 10 years since 2012, had arrived again.
The season with the most stolen bases in MLB history was 1987, with 3,585 stolen bases. This year, we are going at a pace of 3,460, which is the second-highest pace ever. The regulations were designed to be advantageous to stealing, and as a result, the stealing success rate increased by about 5% to reach 80%. The atmosphere was to avoid stealing bases, which has a significant decline in stamina and a high risk of injury, but there is no reason not to play as the success rate has increased.
Atlanta outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., who is likely to be the National League MVP, has surpassed 60 stolen bases and is on track to surpass 70 stolen bases. We are looking at an unprecedented 40 home runs and 70 stolen bases. In addition to Acuna Jr., six players have already recorded more than 40 stolen bases, and 24 of the 30 teams have already posted a higher number of team stolen bases than last year. Ha-Seong Kim also recorded 36 goals this season, exceeding his KBO League career high of 33 in 2019.
Last year, the number of stolen bases in the MLB league was 2,486. This year, there were 3,167 as of the 16th (Korean time). Beyond the golden age of great steals, stolen bases have become one of the essential elements of baseball.
LG moves quickly to keep pace with changes. He attempted to steal an unrivaled number of bases this season, and this experience is expected to be a great asset in the future. LG coach Yeom Kyung-yeop said ahead of the Jamsil SSG match on the 16th, “We have tried a lot this year, so I think the success rate will increase from next year. The details will also improve. The rules will also change to benefit future players. “It will get better for us.”
Manager Cha Myeong-seok, who has already installed a pitch clock at the Icheon District 2 facility, also said, “We can’t help but prepare. Soon there will come a time when a single will become a double for players with fast legs. “I think fast players are very advantageous, as MLB is doing now,” he said. “Considering this, we focused on players with fast legs and good tools in this draft.” In the end, didn’t we follow the changes in American baseball? “Then it is right to prepare in advance,” he said.
There are also players who are happily waiting for change. On the 16th, Park Hae-min became the second player in KBO League history to steal more than 20 bases for 10 consecutive years.
Haemin Park said, “I think it will be more interesting if changes in MLB are introduced to our baseball. “In the past, when Korean baseball achieved good results in international competitions, running baseball was an advantage,” he said. “Recently, there have been a lot of figures and theories about batting, but it seems that running was relatively neglected. I believe that there will be players whose value will increase as the return to baseball is emphasized. “I welcome this change,” he said.
Additionally, “There are fans who say that when they watch our team play baseball this year, they continue to focus and become interested in playing. I think it would be good if the rules changed like MLB because we would be able to do what we have been doing better. “We will be able to show fans a more exciting baseball game,” he predicted.