Jang Hyun-seok chose the major league stage, not the KBO league. He signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and promised the moment to stand on the mound in the big leagues.
On the 14th, Jang Hyun-seok held a press conference to join the Dodgers 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, CEO of Ricoh Sports Agency.
Jang Hyun-seok, who was called ‘the biggest fish in high school’, recorded an average ERA of 0.33 with 3 wins and no losses in 27⅓ innings in 7 games this year. He struck out 49, walked 12, and had only one earned run.
It is a ‘fire bowler’ that throws a fast ball with a maximum speed of 157 km as well as a fastball that exceeds 150 km. Not only does he have a fastball, but he is also good at breaking pitches such as sliders, sweepers, curveballs, and changeups.
Therefore, if Jang Hyun-seok went to the KBO rookie draft, the first place was certain. Then he was most likely to wear the Hanwha uniform.
However, Jang Hyun-seok chose to go to the major leagues after much thought. After he made his decision, the contract proceeded quickly, and on the 8th, he officially announced the signing of a contract with the Dodgers for a contract of 900,000 dollars.
With this, Jang Hyun-seok became the third pitcher to choose the Dodgers as the first team in the US, following Park Chan-ho and Ryu Hyun-jin.
Then why did Jang Hyun-seok choose to go to the United States instead of going to the KBO League? If he had worn a professional team uniform, he would have been able to grow quickly under the team’s thorough management.
Moreover, among the players who went directly to the US without going through the KBO league, there are not many players who actually went up to the major leagues and settled down. Bae Ji-hwan (Pittsburgh Pirates) showed more than expected in the first half of this year, but looking at it calmly, he is not yet a player who has fully settled in the major leagues. Choi Ji-man (San Diego Padres) also became a major leaguer after going through a difficult period.
The most successful case is Park Chan-ho. He went 124-98 with a 4.36 earned run average in his major league career. Followed by Choo Shin-soo. Choo Shin-soo also came to the big leagues after a long minor league career. He played in 1652 major league games, marked a batting average of 0.275, an on-base percentage of 0.377, and an OPS of 0.824, and returned to the Korean stage in 2021.
At one time, starting with Ryu Hyun-jin, Kim Gwang-hyeon, Oh Seung-hwan, Lee Dae-ho, Hwang Jae-gyun, and Kim Hyun-soo gained experience in the KBO league and then challenged the American stage, and on the contrary, there was a tendency that the number of players who decided to go directly to the major leagues decreased.
Looking at these cases, Jang Hyun-seok’s future is by no means easy. You have to go through a tough process. From culture to language to environment, there are many things to adapt to. Also, there is no promise of when he will be on the big league mound. However, Jang Hyun-seok chose his challenge.
Jang Hyun-seok said, “Of course, I could go to the United States after playing in the KBO league, but my dream is to be a major leaguer. I thought that I would be able to play more scientific baseball in the United States and build a perfect body with a good system and good facilities. So I decided to go directly to the United States. “I chose it,” he explained.
Jang Hyun-seok, who said he decided to go to the United States after the quarterfinal match against Jangchung High School in the Blue Dragon on July 24, said, “I want to be like Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw was the first starter and ace who has been throwing for a long time in the Dodgers, so I want to be that starting pitcher too.” told