In 69 games this season, NC outfielder Park Gun-woo (33) is batting .286 with 73 hits in 255 at-bats, seven home runs, 41 RBI, 36 runs scored, six doubles, and an OPS of .816. He’s also batting .286 in his last 10 games, which isn’t a slump. He wasn’t sent to the second team because of his performance.
However, Park has hit triples in eight straight years since 2015. If he hits triple digits again this year, he will join Yang Joon-hyuk 꽁머니지급 (1993-2001) as the only MBC Sports Plus commentator to hit triple digits for nine consecutive years. His .324 career batting average ranks third among all KBO players with more than 3,000 at-bats.
With that in mind, it’s fair to say that the season hasn’t gone well for Park. After hitting 0.270 in April and 0.303 in May, he slumped to 0.293 in June, and is now hitting just 0.250 in his first two games of July. In a three-game series against KT from July 30 to July 2, he went just 2-for-11.
This is where the mysterious second team assignment comes in. We don’t know when Park will return to the first team. What is clear is that Park is a player who needs to be in the first team and in the center field lineup. At the very least, he should be back in the top three. It would also be meaningful to enter the KBO history books alongside the 2318-hit legend. In many ways, it’s a busy season for Park, and the drop to the second team has made it harder for him to maintain his hitting.
We don’t know what purpose he was sent to the second team for, so we can’t be sure if he’ll play in the Futures League. If he does play in the second team, he will at least have a chance to maintain his hitting. However, if he doesn’t make it to the second team, he may have a harder time hitting when he returns to the first team.
Third place in batting average is a pause. Aside from Park’s struggles, another concern is how NC will fill the void. The outfield is relatively strong in NC’s lineup, with right-handed hitters Jae-hwan Shin, Sung-wook Kim, and the one-hit wonder Kwon Hee-dong. Of course, none of them can hit with the precision of Park Gun-woo.