‘I could have been the No. 1 pick’… Why did Jang Hyun-seok decide to ‘challenge ML’?

Jang Hyun-seok, 19, chose the major leagues over the KBO. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and is looking forward to taking the mound in the big leagues.

Jang Hyun-seok held a press conference on Thursday at the Dragon City Hotel in Yongsan-gu, Seoul.

The press conference was attended by John Dibble, director of scouting for the Pacific region, Dean Kim, international scout in charge of Korea, and Lee Ye-ryang, representative of Rico Sports Agency.

Jang, who was called “the biggest name in high school,” went 3-0 with a 0.33 ERA in 27 1/3 innings in seven games this year. He struck out 49, walked 12, and allowed just one earned run.

Jang is a “fireballer” who tops out at 157 mph and has a fastball that sits in excess of 150 mph. In addition to his fastball, he also has a good mix of pitches, including a slider, sweeper, curve, and changeup.

As such, Jang Hyun-seok was a surefire first-round pick in the KBO Draft, and it was likely that he would wear a Hanwha uniform.

However, Jang Hyun-seok chose to go to the major leagues after much deliberation. Once he made his decision, the signing process moved quickly, and he officially announced the signing of a $900,000 contract with the Dodgers on August 8.

Jang became the third pitcher after Park Chan-ho and Ryu Hyun-jin to choose the Dodgers as his first team in the United States.

Why did Jang choose the U.S. instead of the KBO? If he had worn a professional team’s uniform, he would have been able to develop quickly under the team’s strict management.

Furthermore, there aren’t many players who went directly to the U.S. from the KBO who actually made it to the major leagues. Bae Ji-hwan (Pittsburgh Pirates) has exceeded expectations in the first half of the year, but in all honesty, he’s still not fully established in the major leagues. Choi Ji-Man (San Diego Padres) also went through a rough patch to become a major leaguer. 

The most successful example is Chan Ho Park. He has a career record of 124 wins and 98 losses with a 4.36 ERA. He is followed by Shin-Soo Choo. He also came to the big leagues after a long minor league career. He returned to South Korea in 2021 after playing in 1,652 major league games with a .275 batting average, .377 on-base percentage, and .824 OPS.

The trend of players deciding to go straight to the major leagues after gaining experience in the KBO hasn’t gone unnoticed, with Ryu Hyun-jin, Kim Kwang-hyun, Oh Seung-hwan, Lee Dae-ho, Hwang Jae-gyun, and Kim Hyun-soo all making the jump to the United States.

Based on these examples, Jang’s future is not an easy one. He will have to go through a tough process. From the culture to the language to the environment, there’s a lot to adjust to, and there’s no telling when he’ll be on the big league mound. But Jang is up for the challenge.

“Of course, I can play in the KBO and then go to the U.S., but my dream is to be a major leaguer. I thought I could play more scientific baseball in the U.S. and perfect my body in a good system and good facilities, so I chose to go directly to the U.S.,” he explained.먹튀검증

“I want to be like Clayton Kershaw,” said Jang Hyun-seok, who decided to go to the United States after his quarterfinal match against Jang Chung-go of the Cheongnyonggi on July 24. “Kershaw was a long-time starter and ace for the Dodgers, so I want to be a starter like him.


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