One of the biggest factors in the Lotte Giants’ performance over the past three years has been their defense. Compared to their offense, the Giants have a poor defense. In 2021, when the disparity began to become apparent, the team batted .278, but the defense was the opposite. According to Sports2eye, the KBO’s official record-keeping statistician, the team’s DER (fielding efficiency) was 0.675, which is the percentage of in-play balls turned into outs. Only shortstop Dixon Machado, who was the only player on the roster with a positive defensive WAR (Wins Above Replacement), kept them from falling too far behind the ninth-place Doosan Bears (0.677).

It’s not a problem that will improve anytime soon. Last year, after Machado’s departure, Lotte’s DER dropped even further to 0.649. They tried to fill the gap with shifts, but ironically, there were many days when the pitchers didn’t benefit from defense. This season, with a greater appreciation for the importance of defense, I’ve focused less on adventurous shifts and more on routine plays, like “make sure I take care of the pitches that come in my range.” As a result, I’ve made the fewest errors (59 in 12 days) of any of the 10 teams. That doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. At 0.665, the DER is still dead last for the third straight season. 먹튀검증

Recently, even routine plays have been disappointing. In the top of the fifth inning against Sasik SSG Landers, with the score 5-3, Han Dong-hee caught Kim Kang-min’s grounder and sent it home after stepping on third base, but the catcher, Lee Jung-geun, who didn’t realize the runner was tagged out, let the third baseman in for nothing. Against the Gochuk Kiwoom Heroes on the 9th, there were a series of throwing errors in the 2nd and 3rd innings by Niko Goodrum, Ko Seung-min, and Yoon Dong-hee. They all blocked or caught the balls in front of them, but the finishing touches were lacking. On the ninth, starter Park Se-woong gave up six runs in 2.1 innings, but only three were earned.

It’s unfortunate that the defensive woes that briefly overshadowed the early season surge have reared their ugly heads again. Even at the beginning of May, when Lotte was in first place, the DER was last, and both then and now, defensive metrics are always telling us that something needs to be done. As Lotte bids to participate in the fall baseball season, they need to focus on their defense.