“That’s right.”

Kim Tae-gun, 34, KIA’s “nuclear catcher,” as he’s nicknamed, is an energetic individual who has adapted to the team early. The biggest beneficiary has been Han Jun-soo, a 24-year-old catcher who joined the team as a first-round pick in 2018 after graduating from Gwangju Dongseong High School. Han defied expectations and stuck with the first team as a backup to Kim Tae-gun.

He has good physical condition and one-hit power. On the 12th of this month against Busan Lotte, he teamed up with Yoon Young-chul and had three hits in the batting order. He started in the No. 8 spot and showed off his hitting talent, going 3-for-6 with a double, two RBIs, three runs scored, and two singles.

In 14 games, he went 7-for-26 with a .269 batting average, one home run, five RBIs, six runs scored, and a .731 OPS. On July 5 against the Incheon SSG, Yoon also had three hits. On July 4, the Gwangju Hanwha Jeonboks went 1-for-5, but again, the results were good.

Han Jun-soo’s focus is on defense and working with pitchers. If he wants to stay in the first team, he has to prove a virtuous cycle of experiencing it, overcoming it through side effects, and improving through experience again. It’s more important to play solid defense and be a supporting cast to the pitchers’ good work than it is to have a single hit.

Han Jun-soo is already learning a lot from Kim Tae-gun. Manager Kim Jong-kook said that Kim has been teaching him a lot by practicing with him physically. For Han Jun-su, it’s a huge benefit to have an experienced catcher in the first team to watch and learn from.

During the three-game home series against Hanwha last week, Kim said of Han, “He needs to train more. You have to overcome difficulties.” He didn’t praise Han for doing a good job, but rather chastised him. What he meant was that it was time for Han to do a lot of basic training for a catcher. He was actually right.

Han Jun-soo was sympathetic. After the game on the 12th, he said, “That’s right. Tae-gun said that he trained a lot when he was a backup. Even now, he gets to the field quickly. He teaches me more about mentality and ball placement than technique. That alone helps me a lot.”안전놀이터

For Han Jun-soo, Kim Tae-gun is just a ‘light’. “He bats well and makes the team feel good. He gives me a lot of tips on how to handle things like ball placement, depending on the situation. I’m sure I’ll get better as I learn from him.”

“It’s important to analyze the opponent. You also have to look at the condition of the starting pitcher that day. I hit the starting pitcher in the second team, and the ball was fast. He’s also an elementary school senior (Jung Sung-jong). I have to help the team, and I’ll try to do well in both hitting and defense. I might make a mistake by trying to do too well, but I try to do the same every day.”

Despite his good performance at the plate, Han Jun-soo was not happy with the performance of starter Yoon Young-cheol (4⅔ innings, eight hits, three walks, five runs, one hit batsman). “The first and fifth innings are the most important for a pitcher, but I was a little shaky at the end. It was unfortunate that Noh Jin-hyuk gave up a run.”

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