“(Han) Junsu still has some shortcomings to be a starting player.”
The KIA Tigers’ greatest achievement in the 2023 season is that they have acquired a clear starting catcher named Kim Tae-gun (34) and have also discovered the next-generation starting catcher to succeed Kim Tae-gun. Even a year ago, no one imagined that KIA’s first team’s home base would be organized under the Kim Tae-gun-Han Jun-su (24) system.메이저사이트
The former team leader tried to make up for Han Seung-taek’s lack of weight by recruiting Joo Hyo-sang. Plus Shin Beom-soo and Kim Seon-woo. Even after completing the spring camp in Tucson, Arizona, the home structure did not deviate much from the existing Plan B. As the Joo Hyo-sang-Han Seung-taek system was at a standstill for the first 1-2 months of the season, Shin Beom-soo was promoted to the first team, but KIA’s home offense and defense production was still at the bottom of the league.
The player who completely changed their tense structure was Han Jun-su, the first round pick in 2018. Although he was a first-round draft pick, there was a time when he was converted into a developing player, and he did not attract enough attention that he had to serve in the military on active duty. I heard that he changed dramatically after losing over 20kg after serving in the military, and it was a great fortune for Han Jun-su to meet a clear starting catcher named Kim Tae-gun during the process of adapting to the first team.
This season, Han Junsu proved why KIA selected him in the first round five years ago. Basically, he has endless potential to grow into an offensive and defensive player. He is a right-handed pitcher and a left-handed hitter, but he has one shot. His catching and throwing abilities are also good. There were many difficulties with ball mixing and pitching lead due to lack of experience. However, director Kim Jong-guk highly evaluated Han Jun-su’s research and hard-working attitude.
Junsu Han’s greatest strength is that he is a left-handed hitter, but he hits left-handed pitchers well. 5 hits in 14 at-bats with a batting average of 0.357. Although the sample is small, the evaluation in the field is good. He has his own batting stance and does not waver. He actually had a batting average of 0.242 and 19 strikeouts against right-handed pitchers. However, the way he coolly turned the bat and made long hits was definitely impressive.
When Kim Tae-gun’s multi-year contract was signed at the end of the season, general manager Shim Jae-hak said, “There are still some shortcomings for Junsu to be the starting player.” The reason Kim Tae-goon was signed for 3 years was with the calculation that if Kim Tae-goon played as a starting player for about 2 years, the backups, including Han Jun-su, would be relieved of their burden and would have time to grow through their own competition.
And in the process, it was confirmed that Kim Tae-gun and Han Jun-su were interacting meaningfully. Taegun Kim has good friendliness as a catcher with great talent. Although he does not teach his junior Han Junsu directly, he leads by example and does not spare bitter comments or nagging. There was a rumor inside that Kim Tae-gun gave Han Jun-su a lot of advice on ball mixing. And he constantly emphasized and trained with the basics that a catcher must have, such as catching posture, blocking, and throwing. Director Shim Jae-hak said, “It’s important that Taegun talks to Junsu.”
This means that starting around 2026, the young catcher will have to grow up to the point where he can share playing time on an equal footing with Tae-goon Kim, at least. And the leader at this point should definitely be Han Junsu. Currently, among KIA’s young catchers, there is no case with a faster growth rate than Han Jun-su. Kwon Hyuk-kyung, who was discharged from the military, and Lee Sang-jun, the biggest catcher in 2024, must be re-evaluated from now on. If they grow, it can stimulate Junsu Han and lead to improved competitiveness of the entire catcher lineup.
Director Kim Jong-guk said, “I’m looking forward to Han Jun-su’s next year. He prepared well overall this year. Compared to his experience, both inside work and defensive hitting were good, and expectations are high. He was more stable on offense and defense than expected this year. He is a left-handed hitter, but he is good against left-handed pitchers and has good timing. “He became more confident.”
Now KIA’s master bedroom is no longer a weak point. It is expected that Kim Tae-gun’s effect will be maximized over the next two to three years. In particular, Han Jun-su’s growth arouses interest in KIA’s living room.