SSG Landers Ha Jae-hoon gets back up like a big man even when he falls down. The four-year-old reliever is also expanding his role as a batsman.
In 21 games this season, Ha is batting .328 with three home runs and nine RBIs.
His lack of playing time is due to injury. He has been injured twice this season. He fractured his left shoulder while making a sliding catch during a spring training game in March. He returned in late May, earlier than expected, but was sidelined again on June 11 when he fractured his left thumb while stealing a base for the NC Dinos.토토사이트
Ha, a former U.S. minor leaguer, made his KBO debut after being selected with the 16th overall pick in the 2019 second round. He led the league in saves (36) in his first season. It was also the most saves by an individual in a single season in franchise history.
However, he struggled the following year with a 1-1 record and a 7.62 ERA with four saves. This was due to shoulder pain. Ha decided to become a pitcher.
After going through a tough time in the minor leagues and the Japanese Independent League, Ha was desperate. On June 11 against the NC, he was injured while trying to steal in the sixth inning, but he played through the pain to the end.
SSG coach Kim Won-hyung said, “I didn’t know if he was injured because he kept playing. He plays with that kind of heart. That’s why it hurts.” Ha volunteered to play with the Geelong Korea team in the Australian Baseball League (ABL) in the off-season, alongside younger prospects.
Ha batted just .215 in 60 games last year, but showed promise with a high on-base percentage of .458. This season, his on-base percentage is even higher at 0.563, and his accuracy (0.342) has improved significantly.
His role on the team is also growing. When Choo Shin-soo, Kim Kang-min, and Han Yoo-seom were sidelined with injuries and poor performances, Ha stepped up to the plate. He is a valuable right-handed outfielder for the team and is competing for a starting spot. He is considered the No. 1 alternative if Choi is selected for the Hangzhou Asian Games in September.
“He’s talented as a hitter, and his timing with the pitcher and the timing of his at-bats seems to be getting better,” said Kim Won-hyung, “and his reactions after two strikes are getting better.”
“He still has a lot to improve and fill in. I think I’m about halfway there,” he said.