■ Exclusive Interview with Jang Hyun-seok, the ‘high school pitcher’ who joined the LA Dodgers
190cm tall, 150km fastball
Entered the big leagues without playing in the KBO
A chance encounter in a car accident
Coach Lee Ho-jun says, “You should play baseball”
Getting started with encouraging words
“My goal now is to win the Hangzhou AG gold”
Changwon=Written and photographed by Jung Se-young email@example.com
A sturdy 190-centimeter, 90-kilogram body, a fastball that throws well over 150 kilometers, and a curveball that falls like a waterfall. Jang Hyun-seok (19, Masan Yongmago) is known as a ‘de-high school pitcher’. In high school baseball, he has a 6-3 record with a 1.85 ERA in 21 games. Top prospect Jang Hyun-seok recently joined the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball. While his peers encouraged him to make it to the big leagues, he was confident and had a clear goal in mind. That is to be the first pick of the ‘prestigious’ Dodgers.
“My final goal has always been the major leagues,” Jang said when we met at Masan Yongmago in Masan Happo-gu, Changwon-si, Gyeongnam, on the 16th. “Many people gave me advice. After experiencing the KBO League, they recommended that I challenge the big leagues. I was grateful for everyone’s concern, but I couldn’t give up on my dream.” “My mom told me that it’s best to do what I want to do. I was encouraged by her words that she would support me no matter what I chose.”
Jang Hyun-seok’s decision to play baseball was influenced by his relationship with current LG hitting coach Lee Ho-joon. In 2014, when he was in the fourth grade at Masan Sangil, Jang visited Masan Stadium to cheer on his hometown team, the NC. While signing autographs, he was involved in a small car accident. Lee, who was an NC player at the time, stepped on Jang’s foot while reversing his car. “You have a good body, you should play baseball,” Lee said to Jang Hyun-seok, who was treated at the hospital without crying, and Jang immediately convinced his parents to let him join a little league baseball team.
Jang stood out among his peers from the sixth grade onward. By the time he was in the second grade, he was already throwing fastballs in the low 130 kilometers per hour, surprising his seniors. His current height is that of a third grader in middle school. He owes it all to his parents’ exceptional genes. His mother, who competed in track and field at school, is 174 centimeters tall, and his father, a taekwondo master, is over 180 centimeters tall.
Jang Hyun-seok is diligent. He never wastes time. After school and training, he takes an intercity bus to Busan, about two hours away, for two to three hours of private lessons. When he gets home, he stays up past midnight to analyze the pitches of top-level big league pitchers on YouTube. Lately, he’s been obsessed with Darvish Yu (San Diego Padres), whose pitching style is similar to his own.
Jang’s father passed away when he was a freshman in high school. As a result, he grew up earlier than his peers, and he has a special affection for his mother, who drives him to school every morning, and his younger sister, who is in fifth grade. “After my father passed away, I became even more obsessed with baseball. I wanted to show my mom that I was a good son, and I’ll make it up to her by succeeding in the major leagues.”
Jang is ranked 22nd on the Dodgers’ top 30 prospect list. For now, however, he will spend next season in Single-A, so he’ll have to overcome the harsh conditions of the major leagues. “The Dodgers are the best pitcher development team among the 30 major league clubs,” says Jang. If they are systematically managed and build their bodies, their skills will improve.”카지노
At the Dodgers’ press conference on the 14th, Jang mentioned Clayton Kershaw and Darvish, who are now seniors on the team. Both are big league pitchers. Kershaw, in particular, has won the Cy Young Award three times (2011-2013 and 2014) as the Dodgers’ ace. “The reason why I mentioned Kershaw and Darvish is because they are the first starters of their teams. I want to be the first pitcher in the big leagues,” he said.
Jang will now focus on the Hangzhou Asian Games, which begin next month. “I will show my best pitching in any position, in any game,” said Jang, who is the first high school student in history to wear the Korean flag. “I will take responsibility for representing my country and work hard. I want to win a gold medal.”