Bae Ji-hwan, the 26th South Korean baseball player to join Major League Baseball (MLB), is showing an impressive performance by making hits for two games in a row after his debut. He contributed to his team Pittsburgh Pirates’ 6-0 win against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday as the first hitter and a second baseman by recording one hit and two RBIs in four at-bats. In his debut match against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, he recorded one hit out of three attempts with one walk and two stolen bases as the ninth hitter and a second baseman.
Bae’s MLB debut came four years after his contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates signed in 2018. In 2019, he played in the Single A of the Minor League. Then, he played in the Double A in 2021 and Trible A this season and finally became the 26th South Korean major leaguer on Saturday. He throws the ball with the right hand but takes the left-hand side of the batter’s box. Bae, who graduated from Kyeongbuk High School, joined the U.S. baseball scene along with Kang Baek-ho, who graduated from Seoul High School. Bae received the Lee Young-min’s batting award, given to a high school baseball player with the highest batting average, in 2017 when he was a senior in high school. He recorded a batting average of 0.474 in 2017.
He is a versatile player that can play multiple positions. He played as a second and third baseman, shortstop, and infielder, as well as a left fielder and center fielder, in 108 games in the Triple A this season. His main positions are second baseman and shortstop. “Bae showed good performance in his first two matches. He is a talented player that can play in multiple positions,” said the Pittsburgh Pirates’ coach Derek Shelton. “Bae recorded hits, a walk, and two stolen bases in his debut game,” said MLB.com. “He is a versatile player that can play both infield and outfield defense.”
Meanwhile, Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals hit his 700th career homerun in a match against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday. It was the fourth 700th career home run in the MLB, following Babe Ruth (714 homers), Hank Aaron (755), and Barry Bonds (762).