Texas Rangers outfielder Choo Shin-soo, nicknamed “Choo Train,” has reached the 20 home run mark for seven seasons in a row for the first time as an Asian Major Leaguer.
During a match against the Minnesota Twins at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, Choo tied the game 3-3 in the bottom of seventh inning, hitting a solo homer against the Twins’ closer Sam Dyson. It was a match against the Milwaukee Brewers on August 11 when Choo last hit a home run.
“Choo couldn’t meet the expectation that he’d post a career-high home run last season. Expectations were high since he hit 18 homers in the first half of last year,” said Song Jae-woo, sports commentator for MBC Sports Plus. “Unfortunately, Choo lost his pace in the latter half of last season. But he is likely to renew his record this year as he’s been showing a steady performance.”
An ability to adapt to different situations and the patience of doing the same training routine are believed to be the secret behind Choo’s batting power at almost 40. The 37-year-old South Korean changed up his swing with a modified leg kick last season. Right before this season, he changed his right leg position, moving it 10 centimeters towards a center fielder when swinging the bat in order to overcome his weakness with inside balls. This has helped Choo, left-handed slugger, hit the ball farther and faster rather than pushing the ball with his bat. When his batting average fell from over .3 in June to .26 recently, Choo tried his old hitting style to improve his batting average.
Since his early career, Choo would arrive at the stadium at 4:30 a.m. to start training whenever there is a game. The power of habit has made Choo who he is today. “He still hasn’t lost his power as he does the same training he did in his 20s every day,” said Song.
Bae-Jung Kim firstname.lastname@example.org