Na Kyun-an (25) is by far the leading figure on the mound that leads the Lotte Giants’ good performance in the early season.
Lotte, which made a large investment ahead of this season, is in 4th place (10 wins, 8 losses) as of the 24th. Last weekend, they swept 3 consecutive matches against the NC Dinos over the weekend, and are riding the excitement of their 4th consecutive win. They have 7 wins and 3 losses in the last 10 matches.
Lotte won all four games Na Kyun-an started this season. Na Kyun-an is tied for first place in wins (3 wins) this season, 6th in ERA (1.75), 4th in pitched innings (25 2/3 innings) and tied for 8th in strikeouts (22). ‘One-two punch’ Dan Strayley and Charlie Barnes are sluggish with ERAs of 6.27 and 8.40, respectively, while Kyun-an Na takes on the role of an ace and leads the team.
Na Kyun-ahn is in his 4th year as a pitcher. In 2017, he joined Lotte as the 3rd overall catcher prospect in the 2nd 1st round, and turned to pitcher in 2020. He recorded an average ERA of 6.41 with 1 win, 2 losses, 1 save and 1 hold in 2021, and an average ERA of 3.98 with 3 wins, 8 losses and 2 holds last year. He is fighting hard enough to be listed in the top 10 major categories this season.
Catcher Yoo Kang-nam, who joined Lotte this season with a 4-year, 8 billion won FA (free agent) contract, praised, “Na Gyun-an’s command is really good.” At the same time, one of the secrets to good fighting was ‘curve’. Gangnam Yoo analyzed, “As Na Kyun-an started using the curve from the second half of last year (3.33 ERA in 9 games), the overall pitching content improved. Through the curve, the effect of the fastball became much better.”
Na Kyun-an boasts a great learning ability. Within a year of becoming a pitcher, he had six different types of fastballs: a four-seam fastball, a forkball, a slider, a two-seam fastball, a changeup, and a curveball. Na Kyun-an humbly said, “I know it’s because people around me say that my hands feel good, but honestly, I’m not sure.”스포츠토토
Na Kyun-an organized many of his pitches last year. He threw mostly four-seams, cut fastballs, and forkballs. He had a 90% use rate for all three types of pitches. Na Gyun-an explained, “At first, I thought that many pitches were my strengths. But in the end, I had to throw the best pitches to establish myself in the first team. I was lost because I had few winning shots.”
In the second half of last year, Kyun-an Na learned the curve again from Sae-woong Park. He upgraded the curve that had been sealed for a while and used it in actual combat. The curve use rate, which was 4.1% last year, rose to 12.7% this year. Last year’s curve hit rate was 0.136, but this year it is 0.000. He threw a total of 49 curveballs and got no hits. The batter’s head against Na Kyun-an became more complicated.
Power also increased along with the increased number of pitches. Yoo Kang-nam said, “A really good pitcher should be able to pull out long innings even when he is in good condition. Na Kyun-an is playing that role.” It’s his skill,” he raised his thumb.