The ‘one-hit wonder’ Choi has a higher home run per at-bat ratio than Ohtani, and he’s starting after just five days…
Ji-Man Choi (32, Pittsburgh) was at it again.
On July 27 at Petco Park in San Diego, California, USA, Choi, who was batting fourth and starting at first base, homered in the top of the second inning with the score tied at 0-0.
With a 3-1 count, Choi took a 92.3-mph (149-kilometer) sinker from Seth Lugo, 34, for a leadoff solo home run over the right field fence. According to MLB.com, the ball traveled 101.7 mph (164 km/h), had a 26-degree launch angle, and traveled 384 feet (117 meters).
It was Choi’s sixth home run of the season. He started the game against the Los Angeles Angels on April 22 and homered off Japanese hitter and pitcher Shohei Ohtani, 29. He then missed three games and had just one at-bat (a strikeout) as a pinch-hitter on the 26th before returning to the lineup five days later and arching it again today.
It’s unfortunate that Choi hasn’t been able to play every day, even though he’s shown the power to hit four home runs in 11 games since returning from injury on August 8. That’s because Pittsburgh has veteran first baseman Carlos Santana, 37, and designated hitter Andrew McCutchen, 37, whose positions overlap exactly with Choi’s.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently reported that “the club is managing Choi’s playing time to prevent a recurrence of his Achilles injury.” But that’s not good news for the hard-hitting outfielder himself. This is especially true given Choi’s home run per at-bat average this season.
According to Baseball Reference, the American online publication, Oh is leading the major leagues in home runs per at-bat this season. As of July 27, he’s averaging one home run every 12.4 at-bats (36 home runs in 445 at-bats). The National League leader is Matt Olson (29-Atlanta), who is hitting a home run every 14.0 at-bats (32 homers in 447 at-bats).
Choi’s numbers aren’t far behind.
In 20 games this season, Choi has six home runs in 67 at-bats. That’s one home run every 11.2 at-bats. While he hasn’t played in regulation and has fewer home runs, his home run per at-bat ratio of 0.90 is higher than Ohtani (0.81) and Olson (0.72).
“One of Pittsburgh’s veteran trio (Choi, Santana, and McCutchen) will be traded by next month’s Major League Baseball trade deadline,” according to local media, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Pittsburgh is 45-57 this season with a .441 winning percentage and is in last place in the National League Central. With a postseason berth virtually out of reach, it’s possible that the Pirates will look to move some of their salaried veterans in exchange for younger prospects to fuel their rebuild.온라인바카
Whether Choi stays or goes won’t be known until the trade deadline, but at his current pace, a double-digit home run season is still possible this year. Since his major league debut in 2016, Choi has hit 10 or more homers in every season from 2018 through last year, with the exception of 2020 (three), which was a shortened season due to COVID-19.