‘MVP vote runner-up’ Noh Si-hwan “3-for-30, home runs and 100 RBIs will be a challenge next year”

“No one remembers second place,” he joked, but Noh Si-hwan (23-Hanwha Eagles) was proud of his title as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the regular season.

Eric Pedroia (30-NC Dinos) was the star of the show at the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) Awards Ceremony held at the Westin Chosun Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul on Sunday.

Pedi, a three-time pitching champion, was named the regular season MVP with 102 out of 111 valid votes in the journalists’ poll, receiving 91.9 percent of the votes.

The runner-up was Si-hwan Noh.

“I’m grateful to those who voted for me,” said Noh, who received six votes. “It’s an honor just to attend the KBO Awards and be nominated for MVP,” said Noh, who received six votes.

Noh was a double winner on the night.

At the age of 22, Noh led the KBO in home runs and RBIs with 31 and 101, respectively.

He is only the third player in KBO history to win the home run title before the age of 23, joining Doosan Bears manager Lee Seung-yeop, who held the record as the youngest player ever to win the title (1997) at age 21, and KBO Talent Donor Jang Jong-hoon, who won the title in 1990 at age 22.

Noh is also the second-youngest player in KBO history to achieve 30 home runs and 100 RBIs, joining Lee Seung-yeop, who hit 32 home runs and 114 RBIs at the age of 21 in 1997.

He also played in the Hangzhou Asian Games and the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC), cementing his status as the next generation of the Korean national team’s No. 4 hitter.

“I’ve been working hard since spring training to develop my long bat this season. I’m glad my hard work paid off,” he said, “but I still have a long way to go as a hitter. I will continue to work hard this season to become a better hitter.”

Korean baseball, which has been waiting for the birth of a right-handed slugger, welcomed Noh’s leap.

His name was mentioned alongside Hanwha seniors like Jang Jong-hoon and Kim Tae-gyun, who have dominated Korean baseball.

“I’m really proud,” said Noh. I hope our young players will grow diligently and repeat the brilliant achievements of our seniors,” said Noh. “There are many talented players my age. I hope we can make the KBO League richer together.”

There are some records that Noh narrowly missed this season.

His batting average this season was 0.298. He was 0.002 short of becoming the second-youngest player in history to hit .305 with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs.

The first player in KBO history to accomplish this feat was KBO Commissioner Jang Jong-hoon. Jang hit .345 with 35 home runs and 114 RBIs in 1991 when he was 23 years old.

Manager Lee Seung-yeop became the youngest player in history in 1997 when he hit .329 with 32 home runs and 114 RBIs at the age of 21.

“Honestly, I’m disappointed,” Noh admitted, “but you can’t achieve everything at once. I’m going to try again to achieve the batting average of 30-30, home runs, and 100 RBIs that I didn’t achieve this year.”

Of course, what he wants most is to reach the postseason and win a championship.

“With the arrival of seniors Ahn Chi-hong and Kim Kang-min, our team has become stronger,” he said. “First of all, we will aim to reach the postseason next year. I also want to win a championship one day.” 파워볼

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