NC Dinos captain Son Ah-seop is looking to have it both ways.
As of 14 games ago, Son is the closest player to a batting title. Currently batting .342 (544-for-186) with five home runs and 65 RBIs in 138 games, he is comfortably in first place in the category, ahead of Koo Ja-uk (Samsung Lions), who is batting .340 (447-for-152).
Son, who has been in an NC uniform since the 2021 season after being drafted by the Lotte Giants in the fourth round, 29th overall, in 2007, has been one of the most dominant hitters in the KBO. He has won the most hits title three times (2012, 2013, and 2017) and is second on the KBO’s all-time hits list behind former LG Twins and KBSN Sports commentator Park Yong-taek (2504).먹튀검증
In addition, he has hit 150 hits in eight consecutive seasons from 2016 to this season. This surpassed the previous record of seven seasons set by Park Yong-taek from 2012 to 2018.
Despite his consistency, Son has never won the batting title. He finished second in both 2013 (0.345) and 2020 (0.352), but couldn’t break the barrier of Lee Byung-kyu (0.348 – LG) and Choi Hyung-woo (0.354 – KIA Tigers), respectively. Putting the disappointment behind him, Son is on track to win his first batting title this season.
There were concerns about an “aging curve” last year, as Son struggled to hit .277 (152-for-548) with four home runs and 48 RBIs. However, he has rebounded nicely since the start of the year with a steady stream of good performances. He started the season with a .294 batting average in April and hadn’t dropped below .300 in any month until this month. In September, he literally came out of the gate with a .407 batting average.
He then struggled a bit in October, batting just 0.262, but he rekindled the fire with back-to-back hits against the Jamsil Doosan Bears on the 12th (4-for-2) and the Changwon LG Electronics on the 13th (3-for-1). If he can keep up this momentum, he could very well win his first batting title.
Even more importantly, Son’s batting title race could be directly related to NC’s overall record this season. Currently in fourth place with 74 wins, two draws and 65 losses, NC is in a tight three-way battle for third place with the SSG Landers (74 wins, three draws and 64 losses) and the Doosan Bears (73 wins, two draws and 65 losses).
While a postseason berth is assured for the first time in three years since the 2020 season, when the team won its first-ever overall title, third place is a difficult goal for NC to give up, as it comes with the advantage of playing fall baseball from the semi-playoffs onward. With just three games left in the regular season, NC will need Son’s bat to help them leapfrog the competition.
Throughout the season, Son has expressed his ambition to lead his team NC to a higher position rather than his desire to be the batting champion. It will be interesting to see if he can win the batting title this time around and push NC up the rankings.