“I’m a good guy” Jang ‘no comment’ on MLB questions
As if to confirm the resolve of “High School Baseball’s Biggest Word,” Jang Hyun-seok, the two-day suspense game between Masan Yongmago and Gwangju Jeonggungo in the round of 32 of the Cheongryonggi National High School Baseball Championship was played in torrential rain and sweltering heat.
From the second out of the second inning yesterday to the fifth inning today, Jang Hyun-seok pitched 3.1 innings and 6K without allowing a run. Energized, Masan Yongmago tied the game at 1-1 with two outs in the ninth inning and came from behind in extra innings to defeat Gwangju Promotion 4-1 to advance to the Round of 16.메이저놀이터
Faced with an 8 a.m. start time and a back-to-back start, Jang Hyun-seok pitched a scoreless first inning today. He gave up back-to-back singles and doubles to Gwangju Jinhungo batters to put runners on second and third with no outs, but got out of the jam with a strikeout, infield fly, and ground ball.
With Jang Hyun-seok revealing that he will decide whether or not to go to Major League Baseball (MLB) after the Cheongnyonggi, interest in his every word is growing. “I’m not lying, I haven’t made a decision yet,” he told KBS reporters after the game, adding, “I’m putting the odds at 5-5, but right now I’m focusing on the Cheongryonggi, which is one of the few remaining opportunities to be with my other friends.”
While he nodded toward meeting with some MLB teams, he declared “no comment” when asked what those conversations were about.
Jang Hyun-seok (3rd from right) and Masan Yongmago players cheer loudly during the round of 32 match of the Cheongnyonggi today (Nov. 19).
In recent games, Jang Hyun-seok has been characterized by his aggressive use of changeups. In particular, he has been using a slider that turns at a large angle both horizontally and vertically. Yesterday, he topped out at 154km/h, and today, he topped out at 151km/h, and while his fastball hasn’t been as fast, he’s still been able to get strikeouts and walks with his slider at key moments.
Jang Hyun-seok’s biggest inspiration is Japanese national team member Darvish Yu, who is considered a “slider master. In particular, Jang Hyun-seok referenced not only his pitches but also his pitching form, saying, “I utilized the ‘short arm’ motion, which is a short and fast trajectory of the right arm while throwing the ball, and the rotation of the body.”
Jang, who is set to become the “first high school player to represent his country at the Hangzhou Asian Games,” cited LG closer Ko Woo-seok, Pilseung-jo Jung Woo-young and Hanwha starter Moon Dong-joo as his favorite players to meet. “When I meet them, the first thing I’ll do is give them a ’90-degree greeting,'” he laughed, adding, “They are the best seniors in their respective positions, so I want to absorb all their strengths.”
Masan Yongmago’s Jang Hyun-seok (center) and Gwangju Promotion Go’s Lee Sang-jun (left) greet each other after the round of 32 at the Cheongnyonggi National High School Baseball Championship today (Nov. 19).
In contrast to his fierce demeanor on the mound, Jang Hyun-seok off the field showed a shy smile characteristic of a 19-year-old high school student born in 2004.
When asked about the controversy over his ‘shhh’ gesture towards the opposing bench during the previous day’s game, he said, “It wasn’t directed at the coach, but at the Gwangju players, who I know and have friends and siblings with,” adding, “I’m close enough to work out with (Lee) Sang-joon, who was the starting pitcher. We spoke on the phone yesterday.”
Speaking about his personality, Jang Hyun-seok said, “When I’m playing, I’m a little rough, but off the field, I’m the exact opposite,” and added, “I’ll try to make sure that you can see a lot of sincerity and goodness in my everyday life.” He also shared a message for his fans.