The player with the highest batting average among the KIA Tigers hitters for the month of April was Ryu Ji-hyeok (29). In 22 games he played, he filled the required at-bats (80 at-bats) and recorded a batting average of 0.333. He beat Choi Hyeong-woo, Lee Chang-jin, and Socrates Brito. This is a record tied for ninth in the entire league.
It’s not just hits. He also played a big role in the 3rd game on April 30, when the KIA swept 3 consecutive matches (3 consecutive wins) with the Jamsil LG Twins for the first time in about 6 years. In the early 7th attack after KIA allowed a reversal, he opened up an opportunity to score by hitting a right-handed double against opposing pitcher Lee Jeong-yong in a situation where there was no runner on the first run. He hit a four-seam fastball (fastball) at 146 km/h. When the follow-up hitter Ko Jong-wook hit, he even scored. In the 8th inning, he pulled the slider of Go Woo-seok, who was the number one saver last season (2022), in the first and second base opportunity, leading 6-5, and hit 2 RBIs and 2 bases. He attacked the ball with an in-and-out swing.
Ryu Ji-hyeok has a hit in 14 of his last 17 games. Multi-hit 7 times. Starting with the Lotte Giants match on April 18, he scored in six consecutive games. He is faithfully fulfilling his team hitting leadoff duties.
Ryu Ji-hyeok, who was recognized as an all-weather infielder by the Doosan Bears, wore a KIA uniform in June 2020 in a trade with pitcher Hong Kun-hee. However, he had the misfortune of coming off with an injury after just five games. He only played 86 games in the 2021 season as well.
However, last season (2022), he filled the required at-bat for the first time in his debut, recording a compliant batting average (0.274) and leaping to the main rank. At the beginning of the season, he was pushed back by new infielder Kim Do-young, who was expected to be a ‘5-tool player’, but he was sluggish and was pushed back as a backup, and he took the starting third base.
This season, too, Kim Do-young’s growth seemed to be pushed back from the starting lineup. Byun Woo-hyeok, a transfer student and ‘expectant of a big gun’, was also a potential competitor. However, in the second game of the opening, against SSG Landers on April 2, Kim Do-young left due to an instep injury, and when Byun Woo-hyuk showed ups and downs, he again appeared as a fixed number one hitter and third baseman with relatively little ups and downs. In the second week of April, he showed a hot hitting feeling from the 3 consecutive matches in the middle of the week. ㅋㅋㅋ벳
Ryu Ji-hyeok is an underrated player. During his time with Doosan, he could not fully show his value by only performing his joker duties due to his outstanding infield. For that reason, he did not receive more attention than his juniors who have high name value and high topicality. However, this season Ryu Ji-hyeok is silently strong.
As his wife gave birth to their third child this year and became the father of many children, he has grown more responsible off the pitch as well. The ‘bunyut price buff’ is also an expected factor.