“He says he’s comfortable throwing”.
His name wasn’t on the Kia Tigers’ roster for the 2023 season. He was a developmental player who was discharged from the military at the end of the year. The first-team catchers, Han Seung-taek and Joo Hyo-sang, had been in trouble since the start of the season. They couldn’t field, they couldn’t hit, and then they got injured. Shin Beom-soo came up and impressed, and Kim Sun-woo also helped.
Han Jun-soo, the lone catcher on the Futures team, was the last remaining call-up candidate. He was the only one who stayed with the Futures team and became the starting catcher. His good reports from the Futures team led to a promotion to the first team. Finally, on June 25, he received his call-up. It was his first call-up in four years, after playing seven games in 2019 in his second year as a first-round pick in 2018.
He was benched for a couple of games before making a brief appearance in center field. In July, he appeared in two games with one at-bat each. However, he became the starting catcher on the day Kim Tae-gun was traded from Samsung. Han Jun-soo had one of the best days of his career, combining with rookie Yoon Young-chul for a home run, a double, and a single.
It was after this game that the name Han Jun-soo became a household word among fans. They were intrigued by the appearance of the first-ranked catcher with a large frame (184 cm, 95 kg). From the next game, Kim Tae-gun took over the starting mask. Kim remained on the bench. Instead, he trained every day with battery coach Kim Sang-hoon to improve his skills.
He is now the designated catcher for Yoon Young-cheol, and he is gradually working with other pitchers to expand his opportunities. There is no disagreement that coach Kim Jong-kook and the club need to improve Han Jun-soo. He still has a lot of work to do, but he’s got a strong heart and a talent for defense and hitting. He is starting to be recognized as the next great catcher.
He remained on the first team roster for 67 days until August 30. He started 23 games but only had 38 at-bats as a backup. He is 9-for-38 (.237) with one home run, two doubles, and six RBIs. It’s not an honorable mention, but he’s working hard to earn his first first-team opportunity in six years. He is also performing special at-bats every day. It is clear that he has not been negligent in managing his enlistment.
When interviewed after the game against NC was canceled due to rain on the 30th, Han Junsu said, “I didn’t think of myself as a first-team player yet. I thought that if I did well, I would stay. It’s still a long way off. Whether it’s next year or the year after, I have to keep showing consistency. Right now, I’m physically fine. I want to play every game. I’m having fun and learning a lot.”
“They say pitchers are comfortable with me because of my size. It might be my advantage,” he laughed. “I’m training a lot and playing a lot, so I’m learning. There are certain situations and plays that I’m not good at. I’m learning a lot more. Even if it’s hard, if I overcome it, it’s all mine,” he vowed.
Han Jun-soo feels that his four years of enlistment were wasted. He had potential and talent, but he didn’t utilize it. He was over 100 kilograms overweight and neglected self-care. “I didn’t take care of myself when I thought I was going to the army. When I was in the army, I trained hard and lost 25 kilograms because I wanted to do well when I came back. When I got out and joined the team, I was desperate to play baseball. All I could think about was baseball. I really wasted that time (four years before enlisting),” he laughed.안전놀이터
Finally, he said, “I haven’t thought about what kind of catcher I will be yet. I’m from Gwangju. I will work hard until I finish playing baseball at KIA so that my name will be remembered. I’ve liked Kang Min-ho since I was in school. I think it’s important to make my name known. I have to show my hard work in every game to have a chance next year. I’m going to do well until the end of the season without getting injured. It’s just the beginning,” he said.