The Lotte Giants, who turned a pitcher from catcher three years ago, with a one-two punch in the 2023 season. Looking at the first appearance, there was a reason for that.
Na Kyun-an (25, Lotte) started the second game of the opening game against the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on the 2nd and became the winning pitcher with 6⅔ innings, 5 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, and 100 pitches. He delivered a valuable first victory to Lotte, who suffered a come-from-behind loss in the opening game by putting up a good fight beyond expectations. 스포츠토토
It was more stable than ace Dan Strayley (5 innings, 3 runs), who was in charge of starting the opening game. In the 1st inning, 1 company at 2nd base, in the 3rd and 6th inning, 2 companies at 2nd base showed off their management skills, and in the 7th inning, 2 companies at 1st and 2nd base, they passed the mound, but rookie Lee Tae-yeon handled pinch hitter Shin Seong-hyun and became the successor runner. erased As Na Kyun-an headed to the dugout, Lotte fans who filled the third-base stands gave her a standing ovation mixed with cheers.
Na Kyun-an is the owner of a unique career. He was originally a catcher prospect who received the top 3 nomination in the 2nd 1st round of Lotte in the 2017 rookie draft. He made a name for himself as an offensive catcher during his time at Yongma High School, and drew attention as a lumber to succeed Kang Min-ho at the time. Contrary to his expectations, however, he was unable to settle down, and he decided to become a blitz pitcher with Gae Myung (Jong-deok → Kyun-an) ahead of the 2020 season.
After learning the pitcher through 15 games in the Futures League in the 2020 season, Na Kyun-an climbed the mound in the first team the following year and left an average ERA of 6.41 with 1 win, 2 losses, 1 hold and 1 save in 23 games. And last year, he went back and forth between starting, long relief, and winning groups, upgrading his skills with an average ERA of 3.98 with 3 wins, 8 losses and 2 holds in 39 games. However, as a pitcher, Kyun-an Na was a freshman who had just finished two seasons in the first team. He made a leap forward this year with only the starting position, but he was given the 2nd starting position, and his skills changed the question marks around him to exclamation marks.
What kind of strength did he have to be the second starter after three years of pitching? Catcher Yoo Kang-nam, who received the ball from Na Kyun-an, said, “The command was really good. He threw well on the course he wanted. He was a much better pitcher than Na Kyun-an, whom I saw during his LG days.” The inside fastball, outside fastball, curve, and cutter are also perfect. He can throw it all on the course he wants. He felt good from camp, but he confirmed that he was better in the first game,” he raised his thumb. Pitching coach Bae Young-soo also said, “Na Kyun-ahn was originally our second starter. He was like that,” he repeated over and over again.
The suspicious glances around her also made Na Kyun-an stronger. Many expected Park Se-woong or Charlie Barnes as the pitcher for the second game of the opening series, but Lotte chose Na Kyun-an, and it was a great success.
Na Gyun-an said, “Before the season started, the coach told me that I was the second starter. However, people around me said that they raised the question, “Why is Na Kyun-an the second starter?” The coach wanted me to prove this to myself,” he said. He showed a higher concentration than usual, which led to a good game.”