The Hanwha Eagles faced an unexpected concern.
Hanwha announced a waiver for foreign hitter Brian O’Grady on May 31st and recruited Nick Williams on the 18th of last month. In 22 games since the opening, O’Grady went 80 at-bats, 8 RBIs, 3 runs scored, 40 strikeouts, 5 walks, batting average of 0.125, 0.163 slugging percentage, and 0.174 on-base percentage.
Hanwha has been busy searching for new foreign batters since O’Grady was canceled from the first team entry for the second time on May 20, but the plan kept going awry as hitters they had been watching joined the 40-man roster in the major leagues in June. Hanwha went to the Mexican League on the recommendation of a new foreign pitcher, Ricardo Sanchez, and when Williams, whom he had listed as a candidate since last year, showed good results, he actively contacted him.
Williams ranked at the top of various batting rankings last year with a batting average of 0.370, 29 homers and 72 RBIs, and this season also recorded a batting average of 0.304, 9 homers and 28 RBIs. Hanwha coach Choi Won-ho gave a positive outlook, saying, “The Mexican League is hard to beat, but there are many pitchers with breaking pitches, so Korean pitchers will be able to adapt to breaking pitches.”
Williams reported his first hit in the KBO with two doubles in his second game against kt on the 28th of last month, and in the third game, he reported a home run that O’Grady could not hit, which seemed to relieve Hanwha fans’ strong feelings. Williams was evaluated as having a synergistic effect with Hanwha, who was on the rise, while being with Hanwha for 8 consecutive victories.
However, Williams is showing increasingly disappointing results. Williams continues to hit, but as of the 8th, his performance is only 0.200 batting average and 0.371 slugging percentage, 7 hits (1 home run), 3 RBIs, 3 runs, 11 strikeouts in 8 games at 35. Against SSG on the 8th, he bowed his head with 1 hit and 3 strikeouts in 6 at-bats.안전놀이터
Williams, who described himself as an “aggressive hitter,” is so aggressive that he has no walks in 36 plate appearances in eight games. On the first day, one ball that hits the body is all four balls. He has to keep watching the ball and adapting to the league, but Williams’ pitches per plate appearance is 4.03, which is in the middle of the league. The data of 11 strikeouts in 35 at-bats raises concerns about Williams’ adjustment period.
Fortunately, Hanwha thought hard and found a way for Williams to get better. Hanwha coach Choi Won-ho recently pointed out, “Williams seemed to be putting the hitting point behind, conscious of a miss or strikeout, so he had to pull it forward. He is a player who needs to hit a long hit even if he strikes out.”
Hanwha is still in 9th place as of the 8th, but it is still not at the stage of giving up by 4 games with NC and Lotte in 4th place and 2 games with Kiwoom in 6th place. However, Hanwha has already used up two foreign pitcher replacement cards due to Birch Smith, who was injured in the opening game, so they have to somehow save Williams and take him. Coach Choi and the hitting coaches are under increasing pressure. Williams’ efforts are also desperately needed.