Baseball life like this is not common… A promising prospect who failed at 102 is hope for the Lotte mound


Right-hander Na Gyun-an (24) took a step forward in Lotte’s heated competition for the 5th starting pitcher.메이저놀이터

Na Kyun-an started as a starting pitcher in a practice match against SSG Landers held at Gushikawa Stadium in Uruma, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan on the 4th.

On this day, Na Kyun-an pitched without a run through the third inning, then hit a solo home run to Jeon Ui-san in the top of the fourth inning, but left the mound without giving up any additional runs afterwards, leaving a good pitch with 3 hits and 1 run in 4 innings.

Na Kyun-an, who threw a total of 50 balls, had a maximum velocity of 145 km and used five pitches including a fastball, curveball, changeup, forkball, and cutter to tie the SSG lineup to 1 point.

Lotte continues to fight fiercely for the 5 starters, including Na Kyun-an, Seo Jun-won, Kim Jin-wook, and Lee Min-seok. Until now, the atmosphere is that Na Kyun-an is leading the way. On the 22nd of last month, Na Kyun-an came out as a starting pitcher in an exchange match against Chiba Lotte Marines and caught the attention of the coaching staff with a perfect pitch in 3 innings.

Na Gyun-an said, “It was my last pitching in Okinawa and my second start at the camp. Some time has passed since the first pitching (February 22, Chiba Lotte match), and there were parts that I didn’t like about today’s pitching, but I quickly returned to normal. I focused on pitching,” he looked back on the game that day.

Although he was not satisfied with the pitching, Lotte coach Larry Sutton praised Na Kyun-an’s pitching that day, saying, “Na Kyun-an showed a stable appearance as a starting pitcher.”

Na Kyun-an, who finished the training game schedule, now turns to the 2023 season. Na Kyun-an’s wish is “rather than the number of wins, I want to build a good body for full-time in the first team, greet the season in good shape, and meet the fans.”

His position was catcher when he joined Lotte in the first round of the 2017 KBO draft. He was a promising catcher in the limelight, but now he has transformed into a pitcher and is living a new life in baseball. His career batting average at catcher was a disastrous .123. But last year, when he pitched 117⅔ innings in 39 games as a pitcher, he had a ‘soft landing’ with a 3-8 record with 2 holds and an ERA of 3.98. Based on his growth last year, he is considered a pitcher who can contribute more to the Lotte pitching staff this year.

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