Even after being hit by a home run, he pitched with grit. Right-hander Han Jae-seung (22), who was selected as part of the NC Dinos’ 2021 Golden Draft, has been making his presence felt in the first team.

In five games for the first team this season, Han is winless with a 3.00 ERA. In six innings pitched, he has struck out six and walked just one. The two runs he gave up were both solo home runs.

This style of pitching was on full display in the two-game home series against the Doosan Bears on March 23-24. On the 23rd, he struck out the opposing center fielder, Jose Rojas, and Yang Yang-ji in succession to complete a perfect first inning. The next day, he gave up a solo home run to Kim Jae-hwan in the top of the sixth inning with the score tied at 2-2, but didn’t allow another run for 1⅓ innings.

In both games, Han cooked the Doosan lineup with a powerful fastball that reached 150 kilometers per hour, a slider, and a forkball. “He pitched so well in the Futures League,” said NC manager Kang Myung-ho, “but I’m curious to see what he’ll look like in a tight situation, so I’m cautious about putting him in a big situation right now.”

“After being called up in the September 1 expansion roster, I felt like my pitches were a little better than before,” Han said in a recent interview with Star News. “I’ve been hitting home runs lately, but my pitch mix and strike rate have been fine,” he said. “I’ve been feeling more confident lately, so I’ve been thinking about competing quickly, and I’ve been throwing with confidence, and the results have been good.”

Han was especially proud of striking out Yang Ji, with whom he shared a battery in NC last year, in the 23rd game. “Yang Ji has been a hitter I really wanted to face since high school,” he said. “We were originally on the same team, but when we met, I wanted to catch him, and it worked out so well, so it was a good result,” he smiled.

His fastball was a fastball, but the forkball that struck out Rojas was the highlight. “Last year, I learned how to throw from senior Yoo Yong-chan, and in the second team, coach Lee Yong-hoon also taught me grip and other things one-on-one, so I gained confidence,” Han said. “It’s not perfect yet, but I have a feeling that if I throw like this, it will be something,” he said confidently. In the second team, Han struck out a whopping 17.7 batters per nine innings (40 strikeouts in 20⅔ innings) using the forkball 토토사이트.

“My problem was that I had a lot of strikeouts, so I tried to reduce that, and I think it paid off in the first team because I intentionally pitched aggressively right away,” he said. “I’m still young, so I’m trying to trust my youth, and I’m trying to throw hard even if I get hit,” he explained.

In the second round of the 2021 KBO League Rookie Draft held in September 2020, NC made headlines by calling time eight times in the 10th round. The only players NC did not call time on were first-rounder Kim Ju-won and fifth-rounder Oh Tae-yang.

At the time, NC chose to withdraw its first pick, Gimhae right-hander Kim Yoo-sung (now Doosan), after allegations of bullying surfaced. It was a prudent move after losing one of their top prospects. NC’s fourth-round pick at the time was Han Jae-seung from Incheon High School. “I thought we were lucky to have gotten this far in the draft,” NC scouting team leader Min Dong-geun said on the club’s YouTube channel at the time of the selection, “because he has a hard fastball along with good control.

NC’s 2021 draft is only two years old, but it’s already yielding some results. First-rounder Kim Joo-won established himself as the starting shortstop last year and was selected to the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games team. Second-round pitcher Lee Yong-jun has been solid in the starting rotation since the beginning of the season, and third-rounder Oh Jang-soo led the Futures League in home runs last year (17). It’s a “golden draft” that will be responsible for the next decade of the organization.

Han Jae-seung is proud to be in the company of such storied players. “The kids are doing well, so it feels good to be called the Golden Draft,” he said. “They’re all good players, so I think we’ll all grow together if we get along and learn from each other,” he said. “Five of my teammates (Han Jae-seung, Kim Joo-won, Lee Yong-joon, Oh Tae-yang, and Oh Jang-jean) went to the spring camp this year, so I was talking to them about it, saying, ‘How did you get here so quickly?'” he said.

Han Jae-seung has been in the spotlight as much as his peers lately. What are his goals for the rest of the season? “I think the most important thing is not to get injured,” he said. “I think it’s important not to get injured,” he said, noting that he had a tough time with an adductor injury earlier this season. “If I keep the same aggressive mindset I have now, the results will be better.