Noh Si-hwan and Chae Eun-sung are next… Rookie of the Year Moon Hyun-bin aims for a ‘solid’ starting spot beyond survival

Hanwha’s top rookie, Moon Hyun-bin (19), is igniting the team’s batting lineup. A rookie who set out to “survive in the first team” has become an integral part of Hanwha’s batting lineup.

Moon Hyun-bin, a left-handed hitter from North Ilsan High School, has been a standout since his high school days, combining the power to hit home runs with quick feet to steal bases at any time. Selected by Hanwha with the 11th overall pick in 먹튀검증 the second round of the 2023 KBO Draft, Moon, like many rookies, faced the high barriers of the professional game in his debut season. Especially as an infielder who needs stability, there were question marks over his defense. He had been an infielder since his amateur days, which is why he was forced to switch to the outfield in the professional ranks.

In fact, Hanwha considered demoting Moon to the second team after he failed to establish himself in the first team early in the season. They felt that the pressure on his defense was taking a toll on his offense. Nevertheless, Hanwha head coach Choi Won-ho kept Moon in the first team and gave him consistent playing time. He believed that Moon’s offensive abilities were “real” and would work in the pros. The decision to switch his position to center field instead of second base turned out to be a “godsend” for both him and the club.

So far this season, the first-year pro is batting .263 (45-for-171) in 58 games, the third-highest in the team’s batting order behind Noh Si-hwan (.315) and Chae Eun-sung (.298), and has scored 23 runs, the most after Chae Eun-sung (44) and Noh Si-hwan (41). Against Lotte on April 14, he hit a solo shot against foreign starter Dan Straily for his first career home run, and the next day, he drew a two-run arch against national team pitcher Na Kyun-ahn for his second straight home run. Against Kiwoom on April 18, he hit a tiebreaking two-run homer off closer Im Chang-min in the bottom of the ninth inning. Only Noh Si-hwan (11) and Chae Eun-sung (10) have hit more home runs than Moon.

When fans look at Moon Hyun-bin, who stands at 174 centimeters and has an athletic build, they often think of Jung Geun-woo, a “national second baseman” who spent six seasons with Hanwha. It’s the highest praise for the potential of a player who is just starting out in the professional game. It’s not an impossible dream if you combine Moon’s talent with his “badass grit,” as he calls it, and his late-night special batting practice after a multi-hit game. “My first goal is to stay in the first team. If I do that, I think good things will come.” So far, he’s getting his wish.

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