‘Zero’ MLB big leaguers after Ryu…’probably pitcher’ Jang Hyun-seok’s challenge

Masan Yongmago pitcher Jang Hyun-seok (19), who declared his intention to enter the Major League Baseball (MLB), signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB) on Monday. The contract is worth $900,000 (1.18 billion won). This is more than the $750,000 contract that Shim Jun-seok (then Ducksugo) received when he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates last year.

Jang became the 61st amateur player to sign with a major league team. He is the 80th if you include former professionals. Previously, Park Chan-ho (retired) and Ryu Hyun-jin (Toronto Blue Jays) had impressive performances for the Dodgers.

Jang, who boasts a hard-hitting fastball that tops 155 kilometers per hour, went 6-3 with a 1.85 ERA in 21 high school games. In total, he threw 68 1/3 innings, striking out 102 batters. He walked 42. He was the only amateur to be selected to the Korean National Baseball Team for the Hangzhou Asian Games in September. Through his agent, Jang said, “I am honored to join the prestigious Dodgers. I will work hard and become a better player as they have chosen me.”

“I joined the American team with the spirit of challenge, but the future is important. There’s a history of amateur players coming to the U.S. directly from the professional ranks, with more failures than successes. There are many cases of players who have bounced around the minor leagues and returned to their home countries without ever reaching the big leagues. This is especially true for pitchers. The last pitcher to make it from the amateur ranks to the big leagues was Ryu Jeguk (retired). Ryu signed with the Chicago Cubs for $1.6 million in 2001 and moved to the United States, where he took the mound in the big leagues in 2006.

Since then, Jung Young-il (Los Angeles Angels, 2006 – $1 million), Lee Dae-eun (Chicago Cubs, 2007 – $8.1 million), Ahn Tae-kyung (Texas Rangers, 2008 – $800,000), and Kim Jin-young (Chicago Cubs, 2010 – $1.2 million) have signed with American teams for large contracts but failed to make their major league debuts. In the case of Shim, he pitched 5⅓ innings in two rookie league games this year, but is currently rehabbing from an injury. Choi Hyun-il, who joined the Dodgers in 2018 for a $300,000 signing bonus out of Seoul High, is pitching in High-A, the minor league level between Single-A and Double-A.

Unlike pitchers, catchers and outfielders such as Choi Ji-Man (Seattle Mariners, 2009 – $425,000), Park Hyo-Joon (New York Yankees, 2014 – $1.16 million), and Bae Ji-Hwan (Pittsburgh Pirates, 2018 – $1.25 million) have realized their dreams of making their big league debuts. Currently, Choi is with the San Diego Padres, along with Kim Ha-seong, who made it to the big leagues from the KBO, and Pittsburgh’s Bae is in the minors rehabbing from an ankle injury. He is expected to be called up soon. Park Hyo-joon, who made his big league debut in 2021, is currently playing in Triple-A with the Atlanta Braves, hoping to make the September roster.메이저놀이터

Meanwhile, Jang Hyun-seok’s press conference to join the Dodgers will be held at the Seoul Dragon City Hotel on Thursday.

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