Can Kiwoom Heroes Edison Russell (29) successfully spend his second season in Korea?
Russell started as the 4th shortstop in the demonstration game against KT Wiz in the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on the 13th and recorded no hits in 2 at-bats. Kiwoom lost 1-2.
Russell, who came to be raised as a substitute foreign hitter for Taylor Motor in 2020, was sluggish with a batting average of 2.54 (62 hits in 244 bats), 2 homers, 31 RBIs, and an OPS of .653 in 65 games, and eventually failed to renew the contract.
Afterwards, Russell, who played an active role in the Mexican League, played in the Mexican League and Dominican Winter League last season, recording a batting average of .309 (108 hits in 339 at-bats), 25 homers, 76 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.011 in 98 games. Kiwoom, who paid attention to these performances, signed a contract with Russell once again ahead of this season, with the evaluation that Russell’s hitting has changed.
Manager Hong Won-ki said in an interview before the game that day, “I didn’t put Russell as the 4th hitter just because his physique improved.” If he is a foreign hitter, he should still be able to show a lot of RBI and slugging power in the center of the batting line. If that happens, it will be of great help to our team.”
Regarding the appointment of Russell as the fourth hitter, coach Hong Won-ki said, “Our team is not a team that puts so much importance on the fourth hitter. Still, Puig played a good role as a central hitter last year, and the batting line could have improved. Russell also believes that the 2020 season will be different. He has improved his physical well and has experience facing domestic pitchers. For now, I think you can say that Russell goes to hit number 4 at the beginning of the season.”
Russell’s physique is noticeably different from 2020. Expectations in his hitting have increased accordingly, but on the contrary, there are concerns that his agility may decrease in defense. In particular, since he is a shortstop with a heavy defensive burden, this is inevitable.
Regarding this,스포츠토토 coach Hong Won-ki said, “There was no problem when we checked at the spring camp. And he plans to continue losing weight until the start of the season. He is making plans for himself and preparing for the season. He believes that just because he’s bulked up, he won’t have much of a problem with his movement.” As if to repay director Hong Won-ki’s trust, Russell showed off a great diving catch that day.
Kiwoom is a team where geopo shortstops such as Kang Jung-ho and Kim Ha-seong (San Diego) have been active for a long time. If Russell can transform into a new Kiwoom shortstop, it will be a great help for Kiwoom’s first attempt to win the Korean Series.