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Both Kang Jung-ho and Park Byung-ho want inside-out swing

Both Kang Jung-ho and Park Byung-ho want inside-out swing

Posted July. 31, 2015 07:15,   


One of the lines in an American animation movie “Inside out” says “Sadness, I need you.” This is not the case, however, for professional batters. Instead, they need “Inside out” itself as “inside-out swing” has recently been popularized as a theory in baseball world. This is the batting skill that Korean baseball experts call “In-and-out swing.”

○ `The peace king, I need you`

At an away match against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, Kang Jung-ho (aged 28, Pittsburgh Pirates), “the peace king”, hit the first home run (his 7th in the season) on his first at-bat. It was the first consecutive at-bats after his final at-bat the previous day. The homer that he made has not only brought him a step closer to “the rookie of the month” but also stirred up the competition for “the rookie of the year.”

On the day, Kang made a homer without a “leg-kick” action in which a batter’s left-leg is raised to collect the muscular power. Instead, he swung his bat with his right-elbow closely pulled toward his body, which is a basic posture for making an inside-out swing.

In his book titled “Batting technique of Yongdal Magic,” former manager Kim Yong-dal of KIA Futures League (farm team) defined inside-out swings as “the ones that are made with a V-shaped arm of top-hand (a right hand for right-handed batter) closely pulled to the body, maintaining proper cocking (the shape of hitter’s wrist that is not twisted and naturally bent when hitting a ball) and making a L-shaped swing.

This swing allows smaller circular arc and gives much stronger power to the ball as the turning force is generated from the body, not from the arm. It generates better hitting result as well. Taking a break after the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Kang is currently holding the batting average of 0.410 with OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of 1.144. A batter with 1.0 OPS or higher is classified as a great player.

○ `Park Byung-ho, I need you too`

In Korean professional baseball league, Park Byung-ho (aged 29) of the Nexen Heroes displays the most perfect inside-out swing. It was a classic example of the swing when he hit a homer, which flew to an electronic display of the Mokdong Baseball Stadium at the third innings on Wednesday. There clearly was a reason that made the bat fly as distant as 130 meters.

Park aims to make his way to Major League next year as Kang did. His 2012-2014 record shows 1.037 OPS, which is little distant from that of Kang (1.012), meaning that Park also has a high possibility to make similar performance with Kang.

The problem is position. As of Thursday, Kang’s OPS stands at 0.811, which puts him at the second place after Troy Tulowitzki (aged 31, Toronto Blue Jays) whose OPS is 0.839 as a shortstop. If his position was a first baseman as Park, his OPS would have put him on the 13th place. As there are 30 teams in the Major League, this is evidence that Park could be “a baseman with an average performance” in the Major League.