Hanwha, which succeeded in getting out of last place for the first time in four years, produced a strong Rookie of the Year and MVP candidate at the end of the season. Since Ryu Hyun-jin, who won both MVP and Rookie of the Year awards in 2006, there has been no MVP or Rookie of the Year at Hanwha for 16 years until last year. However, it seems like there will be a winner this year.
On the 18th, KBO announced the final MVP and Rookie of the Year award candidates who performed best in the 2023 season. Among the title holders in each category and players who achieved excellent results, 16 MVP candidates and 10 Rookie Award candidates were selected.
Three players from Hanwha are included. Noh Si-hwan was named as the MVP candidate, and Moon Dong-ju and Moon Hyun-bin were named as the Rookie of the Year candidates.
Moon Dong-joo is expected to win the Rookie of the Year Award. Moon Dong-ju, who joined the team last year but did not pitch more than 30 innings for the first team, qualified as a rookie this year in his second year. He pitched 118⅔ innings in 23 games this season, going 8 wins, 8 losses, and an average ERA of 3.72 with 95 strikeouts. Among Rookie of the Year Award candidates, tied for first place in wins and most strikeouts.
On April 12, in the Gwangju KIA game, he became the first domestic pitcher in the KBO League to throw an official 160km fastball, drawing a lot of attention. He continued to grow steadily and established himself as the team’s native ace. The season ended early in September due to innings restrictions, so the challenge of 10 wins was postponed until later, but Moon Dong-ju is by far the best in terms of performance and topicality. At the Hangzhou Asian Games, he led Taiwan to the gold medal by pitching 6 scoreless innings in the final.
KIA left-handed pitcher Yoon Young-cheol, a pure rookie who joined this year, also played 122⅔ innings in 25 games, showing an impressive performance with 8 wins, 7 losses, an ERA of 4.04, and 74 strikeouts. He contributed to the team with the most number of innings among rookies, almost without skipping the starting rotation. If he had achieved 10 wins, he could have been a strong Rookie of the Year candidate, but he finished with 8 wins, the same as Moon Dong-ju. Although he has the most wins among rookies, he is behind in ERA and appears to be behind Moon Dong-ju.
If Moon Dong-joo receives the Rookie of the Year award, he will become the fourth Hanwha member to receive the award in 17 years, following outfielder Lee Jeong-hoon in 1987, infielder Kim Tae-gyun in 2001, and pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin in 2006.
Among the MVP candidates, Hanwha stands out. This is Noh Si-hwan. He played in 131 games this season with a batting average of .298, 153 hits in 514 at-bats, 31 home runs, 101 RBI, an on-base percentage of .388, a slugging percentage of .541, and an OPS of .929. Noh Si-hwan, who became the fourth young slugger under the age of 23 to record 30 home runs and over 100 RBIs after Jang Jong-hoon, Park Jae-hong, and Lee Seung-yeop, ranked first in both home runs and RBI.메이저놀이터
Noh Si-hwan’s performance can be said to be a blessing for the entire league in that it marks the emergence of a young right-handed slugger that Korean baseball is so thirsty for. Considering the nature of this season, in which home runs are not frequent, the value of the league’s only 30 home runs is also high. If it had been any other year, MVP would have been a strong performance, but it is not easy to win the award because there is a big problem in the pitching field called Eric Peddy (NC).
Peddie pitched 180⅓ innings in 30 games this season, bombarding the league with 20 wins, 6 losses, an ERA of 2.00, 209 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 0.95. He left his mark in KBO League history as the fourth pitcher ever to achieve the Triple Crown, following Dong-yeol Dong-yeol, Hyun-jin Ryu, and Seok-min Yoon, ranking first in most wins, earned run average, and strikeouts. He succeeded in achieving 20 wins and 200 strikeouts at the same time for the 5th time in history and 37 years after Sun Dong-yeol in 1987.
As Peddie left behind impressive records by winning three official titles, it became difficult for Noh Si-hwan. It is unfortunate that he finished second in slugging percentage (.541), behind Choi Jeong (SSG, .548), and finished with two batting awards instead of three. It was also unfortunate that in the match against Lotte in Daejeon on the 16th, which was the last day of the season, a well-hit ball in the 7th inning was caught by opposing shortstop Bae Young-bin’s defense, and he failed to hit .300.
Meanwhile, for this year’s MVP and Rookie Award voting, the KBO selected candidates in advance along with the Korea Baseball Writers’ Association. Voting will close just before the start of the first wild card game between Doosan and NC in Changwon on the 19th. It is a multiple-vote system in which the player who receives the most votes is selected as the winner, and the winner is selected based purely on regular season performance, excluding postseason performance.