“I’m looking forward to next year” 24-year-old first-round pick continues to grow, Kia woes fade away

KIA Tigers coach Kim Jong-guk was pleased with the rapid growth of 24-year-old catcher Han Jun-su. Han Junsu is doing his part as a backup catcher to support Kim Tae-gun, who was recruited through a trade after receiving a call-up to the first team on June 26th. He was nominated in the first round of 2018, but he did not play much, and returned to the team this year after completing military service until last year. 

Appearing in 20 at-bats in 7 games in the 2019 season was all of the first team games. He started with the Futures team again this year and was a 스포츠토토 foster player. It was not easy to catch because Han Seung-taek and Joo Hyo-sang of the 1st team and Shin Beom-soo and Kim Seon-woo of the Future Team. However, as he increased his chances to participate in the Futures team, he showed his presence and took off his status as a foster player and took off as a regular first-team player.

Even in the first team, he showed talent with a strong physique (184cm, 95kg) and solid defensive ability and batting. He is learning through training every day, gradually expanding his opportunities to participate and gaining experience. His comfortable play without any sign of nervousness was impressive. He was a tough-hearted catcher who only played in 7 games through the 2022 season. 

Director Kim Jong-guk, who had watched Han Jun-su before joining the army, also remembered, “He seemed to be negligent in self-management. He was very fat.” However, while serving in the military, he realized his need for baseball and made a superhuman effort to lose 25 kg. In the first team, not only sincere training and learning attitude, but also when he started to show his talent in the game, his expectations rose sharply. 

Coach Kim said, “Honestly, I didn’t expect much. I gained experience in the Futures team this year and promised next year or the year after. After returning, I was in good shape. I took good care of it and joined the first team and looked good. The desperation was much greater than before the enlistment this time. This is an opportunity, and you know very well that you have to do well.” 

He continued, “(As a catcher) I’m matching with Yoon Young-cheol, but I will play if I change little by little with Kim Tae-gun. I look forward to next year as well as this season. I need to manage my injuries well,” he ordered. 

The appearance of Han Junsu is positive in many ways. Since coach Kim Sang-hoon retired, there has been no franchise catcher. He was a representative weak position. So, following Park Dong-won last year, he traded Kim Tae-gun this year. As Han Jun-su has talent in batting, if he steadily develops in offense and defense, he will not have to worry about being a catcher. Director Kim Jong-guk also began to have such expectations. 

Han Jun-soo is also making a special determination in his enjoyable first-team life. “I still have a long way to go as a first-team player, but I’m constantly trying to do well. I’m learning and having fun every day. showed confidence.