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Why Ji Hwan Bae’s Best Asset Has Turned Into an Issue (+)

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Ji Hwan Bae, Pittsburgh Pirates

PITTSBURGH — Ever since Ji Hwan Bae began professional baseball, his calling card has always been his speed.

On the 20-80 scouting scale with 80 being considered elite, Bae’s speed was rated as a 70 by MLB Pipeline on the 2022 Pirates’ top prospects list.

To begin the year, Bae’s speed was a huge asset for him and for the Pirates, and it made sense. MLB implemented a series of new rules encouraging more aggressiveness on the basepaths.

In March/April, Bae successfully stole 11 bases in 12 attempts as he was able to put pressure on the opposing team’s pitchers. Bae also used his speed as an advantage in advancing an extra 90 feet.

May, however, has been a different story for the 23-year-old. Entering Tuesday’s game, Bae had only swiped three bases while getting caught four times. The issues on the bases continued in the Pirates’ 6-1 loss to the Texas Rangers at PNC Park on Tuesday night.

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