When the LG Twins, a South Korean professional baseball team, said it signed a contract with Josh Bell, the team`s fans were concerned. Having expected the Twins to recruit a right-handed slugger, they complained that the team signed a contract with the switch-hitter whose career hitting average was a mere 0.194 with four home runs in the Major League Baseball. "He may have less name value, but I needed a player who desperately wants to play," said Kim Ki-tae, the Twins general manager.
Although it is still early in the season, Bell is showing the most impressive performances among foreign hitters. In an away game with the Lotte Giants on Thursday, he came to the batter`s box as the lead hitter of the top of the ninth when his team was losing 0-1, and hit a tying solo home run. It was his fifth homer in eight games, putting him on the top of the home run ranking. As of Thursday, he was the leading player in home runs and slugging average (0.813) while ranking third in runs scored with nine and sharing the fifth spot in the runs-batted-in ranking with eight.
Among all foreign hitters of all the nine teams, Bell is the leader in runs batted in, runs scored, and on-base plus slugging and home runs. He has been performing better than Luke Scott of the SK Wyverns and Jorge Cantu of the Doosan Bears. Scott and Cantu hit 135 and 104 home runs, respectively, in the Major League.
The Kia Tigers` Brett Pill is leading hitter with a batting average of 0.412, the highest among nine foreign hitters in Korean pro baseball. Currently, there are only five hitters with a hitting average of 0.400 or higher in all of the nine teams. Pill ranks fifth, together with Yamaiko Navarro of the Samsung Lions, in runner in scoring position of 0.500.