Archive for the 'Korea' Category

Foreign Players in the KBO

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

The Korean Baseball Organization allow three foreign players on the KBO roster. Unlike Taiwan, they must be broken out into either two position players and one pitcher or two pitchers and one position player. A team can not have three position players or three pitchers. Most teams choose to stock their team with two pitchers and one position player.

NC Dinos

Wang Wei-Chung (RHP) - He is the first pitcher from Taiwan to pitch in the KBO. He got a major league opportunity with the Brewers as a Rule V pick but did not pitch well. He never really got another opportunity. He won his first two starts in the KBO, creating some excitement in the Taiwan community. His ERA sits at an impressive 2.08 with 13 whiffs in 13 innings. In the offensive oriented KBO this is an impressive start for Wang.

Logan Veret (RHP) - This is also Logan’s first year in the UBL. Logan has been a bit wild in his first two starts walking 7 in 10.2 innings but a 3.38 ERA is still excellent in the KBO.

Xavier Scruggs (1B/DH) - There was some pressure on Xavier, replacing MVP Eric Thames on the roster. Last year he passed the test with a .300 average, 35 homeruns and 111 RBIs. The Dinos resigned him for the 2018 season. In eight games he is only hitting .261 with two homeruns and four RBIs. It is still early with the Dinos in first place. Pitchers are certainly showing him respect with 8 walks and four whiffs.

SK Wyverns

Merill Kelly (RHP) - This is his fourth season with the Wyverns. He seems to get better with each year he pitches. Last year he was 16-7 with a 3.60 ERA in 30 starts. In his one start this year he struck out 10 in just five innings of work but gave up four runs.

Angel Sanchez (RHP) - This is his first season in the KBO. So far so good, giving up just one run in each of his starts for a 1.50 ERA.

Jamie Romak (RF) - Last year Jamie slugged 31 homeruns but only produced 64 RBIs. A .242 average with 116 whiffs in 102 games gave him an all or nothing bat. This year he hopes for a little more consistency, hitting .367 with four homeruns and 9 RBIs in his first 8 games.

Doosan Bears

Seth Frankoff (RHP) - His first year in the KBO. His first start he did not give up any runs in six innings of work. His next start he gave up two bombs for three runs. Overall his ERA sits at a 2.45 ERA which should keep him on the team for a few more starts.

Josh Lindblom (RHP) - His first three years in the KBO Josh pitched for the Lotte Giants. His third year injuries limited him to 12 starts after he had a down second year. The Giants chose not to resign him and the Bears pounced on the opportunity to sign the veteran KBO hurler. He got smacked around in his first start but gave up just one run in his second start leaving his ERA at 4.35.

Jimmy Paredes (OF) - Myworld never liked Jimmy Paredes as a minor leaguer. His first year in the KBO is not going well, with a .207 average. His one RBI for the season was a solo shot. Korean teams do not have a lot of patience for a hitter to start producing, especially the Doosan Bears, who were prevented from three peating last year.

Nexen Heroes

Esmil Rogers (RHP) - He’s made a return to the KBO after pitching for the Hanwha Eagles in 2015/2016. An arm injury ended his Eagle career after a half season. He appears healthy now, though Samsung put a hurt on him with six runs in six innings allowing his ERA to climb to 5.54.

Jake Brigham (RHP) - This is his second year with the Heroes. His first was pedestrian (4.38). He gave up a lot of hits and doesn’t get swings and misses with his pitches. In his first two starts this year he has gotten the swings and misses (14 K’s in 11 IP) but still gives up hits for a high ERA (4.91).

Michael Choice (OF) - The one time top prospect of the Oakland Athletics is in his second year with the Heroes. In a half season last year he slugged 17 homeruns in just 46 games. There have been some early season struggles this year with a .212 average that have been absent of any long ball. The KBO does not have a lot of patience for consistent failure in their foreign players.

KT Wiz

Ryan Feierabend (LHP) - In his first year in the KBO in 2015 he pitched for the Nexen Heroes. This is his third year with the expansion Wiz. Last year his 3.04 ERA was his career best. In two starts this year he has a 4.50 ERA, numbers that will not get him through the season if he does not improve.

Dustin Nippert (RHP) - He pitched seven seasons for the Doosan Bears, winning an MVP in the 2016 championship season when he went 22-3 with a 2.95 ERA. He was too average last year (4.06 ERA) even though he finished 14-8. The Bears chose not to resign him. Mediocrity does not allow for high salary demands. The Wiz pounced. He has yet to pitch this year, though his signing was relatively late.

Mel Rojas Jr (OF) - A late season signing of the Wiz last year, his 18 dingers in just 83 games convinced the Wiz to sign him for one more year. Early season returns are good with a .343 average and 4 homeruns in just 8 games.

Kia Tigers

Pat Dean (LHP)- His second season with the defending champion Tigers. His first season he gave up 211 hits in 176 innings so the Tigers must have seen something in him to bring him back. Despite the number of hits his ERA was a respectable 4.14. He also throws strikes. In two starts this year he has a win with a 3.86 ERA.

Hector Noesi (RHP) - This is his third season in the KBO. His first season he was 15-5, 3.40. He topped those numbers last year with a 20-5, 3.48. With only a 144 game season it is harder to win 20 games in the KBO than the major leagues. He did give up 14 more homeruns last year than he did in 2016. This year he is just getting started with a 4.76 ERA in two starts.

Roger Bernadina (OF) - In his first season in the KBO last year Roger did it all. He hit for average (.320), power (27 homeruns) and showed some speed (32 stolen bases). He started the season as the leadoff hitter but moved to number three in the order where he drove in 111 runs. He has gotten off to a good start this season with a .394 average, 2 homeruns and 7 RBIs in 8 games with four stolen bases.

LG Twins

Henry Sosa (RHP) - This is his seventh season in the KBO. His first two were with the Kia Tigers, then he spent one year with the Nexon Heroes. This is his fourth year with the Twins. He seems to bounce around between having a good year followed by a bad year. Last year his 11-11 record with a 3.88 ERA can be defined as having a good year. He has only one start this year, not getting a decision and giving up two runs in six innings.

Tyler Wilson (RHP) - This is the first year for the former Bowie Bay Sox to pitch in Korea. He lost both his starts but pitched well, striking out 16 in 12 innings with a 3.75 ERA. In both starts he went six innings and did not give up more than three runs.

Adonis Garcia (3B) - The Cuban got a couple years in the major leagues. He has not shown a lot of power in his first 8 games in the KBO with only two doubles, but he has a .394 average. He has driven in 9 runs with at least one RBI in his last five games.

Samsung Lions

Tim Adleman (RHP) - His first year in the KBO. He got rocked in his first start giving up five runs in just over six innings. His next start was much better, allowing just two runs in six innings.

Lisalverto Bonilla (RHP) - Another rookie to the KBO he took the loss in his first start, being assaulted for 9 runs in just over three innings. He gave up three dingers. The Lions will give him a little more rope, but they expect better results from their foreign pitchers.

Darin Ruf (1B) - Last year was his first year in the KBO and he slugged 31 homeruns, driving in 124 with a .315 average. That got him another year with the Lions where he has started out strong with a .333 average, three homeruns and 9 RBIs in eight games.

Hanwha Eagles

Keyvius Sampson (RHP) - I always liked Sampson and wondered why he didn’t get more of an opportunity with the Padres. In his first year in the KBO he is working on getting a one way plane ticket back to the United States. He lost his first two starts, failed to reach the fifth inning and sits with a 12.46 ERA. He has struck out 16 in his 8.2 innings of work but he has also walked 8 and allowed three homeruns.

Jason Wheeler (LHP) - Jason is also experiencing his first season in the KBO. He got one of the two Eagles wins this year in his first start, limiting Nexen to just one run in seven innings. He got rocked in his next start, not last five and giving up seven runs. Not looking good for the two Eagles starters.

Jared Hoying (RF) - Also a rookie in the KBO, the Eagles went for the obscure foreign player, saving some coin in signing him. He’s been raking in his first seven games with a .462 average with two homeruns and five RBIs. Myworld will be surprised if this lasts.

Lotte Giants

Felix Doubront (LHP) - Also a KBO newbie he has been finding the mound rough in his first two starts. He has given up five runs in each of his starts for an 8.10 ERA and has an unimpressive 8/5 walk to whiff ratio, with six of his walks occurring in his first game.

Brooks Raley (LHP) - The lefty never impressed with his stuff in the major leagues but he has pitched three seasons with the Giants, going on his fourth year. Last year he was 13-7 with a 3.80 ERA. Brooks is a very consistent pitcher who gives a team 180 innings with his arm. In his first two starts this year he has a 3.75 ERA with one loss.

Andy Burns (2B) - The Giants appear to be saving money with Burns. He hit .303 but only slugged 15 homeruns with 57 RBIs with the Giants last year. Most teams try to get 100 RBIs plus from their foreign player. Andy is back for a second season with a .214 average and only one RBI in 8 games. Giant fans have started to throw chicken boxes at their players for the one win performance in their first eight games. Getting a more productive foreign bat would be a way to try to appease those fans that they are trying to win. Even Dae-Ho Lee is hitting .226 but they will not let him go.

Two Korean Teenage Superstars and Three Returning Players Excite KBO Fans

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

The KBO is entering an exciting season with the Shohei Otani equivalent exciting crowds. He is just one of two teenage superstars who are making an impact in the KBO. So are the three returning major leaguers, who may have struggled in the United States, but they hope to find their bats in the hitter friendly KBO.

Kang Baek-Ho was touted as being the Shohei Ohtani of Korea. He played for the silver medal Korean team in the 18 and under World Cup in Thunder Bay, Canada, breaking out a fastball that clicked the radar guns at 95 and hitting bombs over the fence. He was a first round pick of the newest Korean team, the KT Wiz. The crowds came out to see him. He did not disappoint.

Kang hit the first KBO homer of the season. The 18 year old has slugged three more, his latest a grand slam homerun in the 20-8 win of the Wiz over the Doosan Bears. In seven games Kang is hitting .370 with two doubles, four homeruns and 10 RBIs. Six of his 10 hits have gone for extra bases. The Wiz are getting some positive results from his slugging, winning four of their first seven games. Kang has decided to focus on hitting in the KBO, abandoning the hill for the time being.

The other teenage superstar is 19 year old Jung-Hoo Lee, who was voted Rookie of the year in the KBO last year. He was the first player taken out of high school to appear in every KBO game for his team, bypassing the KBO Futures League, which is the equivalent of a high school player going straight to the major leagues without playing any minor league ball. His father Jong-Beom Lee was an MVP in the KBO a number of years ago so the blood lines are there to play baseball.

Last year Nexon Heroes centerfielder Jung-Hoo hit .324 with 2 homeruns and 47 RBIs. His 179 hits were the most ever for a first year player in the KBO. This year he is hitting .407 with four walks and three whiffs. He does not seem to carry the power of Park in his early years but the power is expected to show once he matures. His only extra base hits this year are the three doubles, and despite batting lead off with some speed he has yet to steal a base.

One of his teammates is former Minnesota Twins first baseman/designated hitter Byung-Ho Park. Stuck in the minor leagues Park negotiated out of his four year contract with the Twins to resign with the Nexon Heroes. In 2014 and 2015, his last two years with the Heroes, Park slugged 52 and 53 homeruns. In the major leagues he had trouble making contact, which is also an issue in the KBO (303 whiffs in 268 games in 2014 and 2015). In seven games in the KBO he has already slugged three homeruns and is hitting .435. His patience has improved since returning from the major/minor leagues with 9 walks and five whiffs. Those are still early returns, but in his career he has never walked more than he has struck out, coming closest in 2013 with a 92/96 walk to whiff ratio.

Jae-Gyun Hwang signed a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants last year. Despite the Giants struggles at the position Hwang only got an 18 game opportunity late in the year, hitting .154 with one homerun. In AAA he achieved some success, hitting .285 with 10 homeruns. In his 2016 KBO season Hwang hit .335 with 27 homeruns and 113 RBIs. In his first seven KBO games this year Hwang is hitting .300 with two homeruns. In the KBO that is not lighting up the league.

The last of the returning players is Hyun Soo-Kim, who had success in his first year with the Baltimore Orioles, hitting over .300 but showing little power. In his second year he did not get a lot of starting opportunities, was traded to the Phillies and never got on track. No major league team signed him as a free agent for the 2018 season and he signed with the LG Twins. In 2015 he played for the Doosan Bears, hitting .325 with a career high 28 homeruns with 121 RBIs. He also had a 101/63 walk to whiff ratio. In his return to the KBO he is showing less patience (3/8 walk to whiff ratio) resulting in a .241 average with one homerun. The LG Twins are struggling with a 2-5 record in the early start to the season.

Countries Established for Women’s Baseball World Cup

Friday, March 30th, 2018

The Women’s Baseball World Cup will be held at Space Coast Stadium in Vierra, Florida from August 22 -31. The following teams have qualified to compete in this tournament. Japan is the class of the group (rankings in parenthesis).

Asia - Japan (1), Taiwan (6), South Korea (7), Hong Kong (10)

Americas - Canada (2), United States (3), Venezuela (5), Cuba (9), Dominican Republic (NR), Puerto Rico (NR)

Europe - Netherlands (8)

Oceania - Australia (4)

KBO Opened It’s Season

Monday, March 26th, 2018

The KBO has started their season. Below is a summary of their opening games:

Nexen Heroes 6 Hanwha Eagles 3

Esmil Rogers pitched against his old teammates and went 6.2 innings allowing just two runs in the Heroes opening day win. Rogers had to leave the Eagles after arm injuries forced him to leave in mid-season back in 2015. He’s back in the KBO and got into a little bit of trouble tormenting the Heroes players with antics the Eagles complained about with the KBO. Rogers was admonished and promised to behave, stating that his antics were all in fun.

The Eagles were able to collect 9 hits against Rogers but could only cross the plate twice. The Eagles were able to score early with runs in the first two innings. The Heroes roared back in the next three innings with six runs. The bottom of their order drove in four of the six runs. Tai-Wan Kim hit the only homerun in the game with a solo shot in the third to get the scoring stared for the Heroes. Newcomer Keyvius Sampson took the loss, giving up all six runs in his four innings of work. Sampson did strike out 8 in those four innings so the day held some promise.

KT Wiz 5 Kia Tigers 5

Mel Rojas Jr. hit solo shots in the sixth and seventh innings to send the defending champions down to defeat. His solo shot in the seventh broke a 4-4 tie.

NC Dinos 4 LG Twins 2

Wei-Chung Wang, ex of the Milwaukee Brewers is the first player from Taiwan to play in the KBO. He worked seven innings, giving up just one run in leading the Dinos to their opening day victory. Tyler Wilson had a solid outing for LG, coughing up just two runs in six innings. Xavier Scruggs hit a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth that extended a 2-1 lead to give the Dinos the win. Scruggs also drove in a run in the third inning with a sacrifice fly.

SK Wyverns 6 Lotte Giants 5

Felix Doubront was a little wild, walking six in four innings and giving up six runs in the Giants loss. Dong-Yeop Kim drove in two runs, the game winner his solo shot in the bottom of the seventh to break a 5-5 tie. Choi Jeong drove in two runs for the Wyverns with a two run single in the first, both players ahead of him getting on base via walks and advancing to second and third on a wild pitch. Kim drove in two runs in the third with a single, one of those baserunners getting on base via a walk.

For the Giants Ah-Seop Son scored three times in the game, getting on base via the walk three times.

Samsung Lions 6 Doosan Bears 3

Sung-Hwan Yoon was the only Korean pitcher to get an opening day start. While he gave up three runs in 6.2 innings it was good enough to get him the win. Won-Seok Lee drove in three runs for the Lions, an RBI single in the third and a two run double in the ninth. Jae-Il Oh hit a two run homerun off Yoon in the seventh to drive him from the game. Darin Ruf strung together three hits, including a double to drive in one run and score two.

Pirates Sign Bae for $1.2 million bonus

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

The Pittsburgh Pirates gave Korean shortstop Ji-Hwan Bae a $1.2 million bonus. Bae had originally signed with the Braves but major league baseball voided the deal because of contract irregularities.

Bae is a shortstop who represented Korea in the 18 and under World Cup. He would have been a first round pick in the 2017 KBO draft. Because he signed with a major league team the KBO suspended him for two years from signing with any KBO club. After the signing the Braves had compared him to a young Trea Turner.

United States New Number One

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

With their win in the World Baseball Classic the United States has ended the three year reign of Japan and taken over the number one spot in baseball, according to the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC). With the top 12 teams qualifying for the Premier 12 in 2019 myworld will list the top 13 teams as ranked by the WBSC. Mexico sitting at number five has never been ranked higher.

1. United States (5025 points)
2. Japan (4609 points)
3. South Korea (4158 points)
4. Cuba (3152 points)
5. Mexico (2613 points)
6. Taiwan (2520 points)
7. Canada (2142 points)
8. Australia (2095 points)
9. Netherlands (2002 points)
10. Puerto Rico (1796 points)
11. Venezuela (1765 points)
12. Dominican Republic (1227 points)
13. Nicaragua (1155 points)

You can see the complete list at wbsc.org/rankings/

Japan Retains Number One Ranking in Baseball

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

The United States earned more points than any other country in 2017 but it was not enough to surpass Japan for the number one ranking. For the third year in a row Japan is the number one ranked country in baseball. They earned the second most points in baseball last year and now lead the United States by 244 points. The 2018 season will be difficult for the United States to surpass Japan since they are not participating in the Under 23 Baseball World Cup in Nicaragua in October, one of the two tournaments that hand out the most points for the 2018 season. In a couple weeks the rankings could shuffle as points from 2014 expire, but if the United States should surpass Japan because of subtracted points their reign will be short.

Below are the top 12 teams in baseball, plus number 13 waiting to crack into the top 12. The top 12 teams will qualify for the Premier 12, which is the third most prestigious baseball tournament after the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic.

1. Japan (5658 points)
2. United States (5414 points)
3. Korea (4950 points)
4. Taiwan (3808 points)
5. Cuba (3677 points)
6. Mexico (3012 points)
7. Australia (2634 points)
8. Netherlands (2377 points)
9. Venezuela (2363 points)
10. Canada (2142 points)
11. Puerto Rico (1827 points)
12. Italy (1686 points)

13. Nicaragua (1636 points)

Hyun Soo Kim Returns to Korea

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

Sometimes you have to take one step back before you take two steps forward. It appears the wave of Korean players coming to the United States to play major league baseball is crashing back into the ocean as many players return to Korea. Hyun Soo Kim is the third Korean player to return. He signed with the LG Twins, who were willing to pay him $10.6 million for four years. Kim would have had to settle for a minor league contact if he had stayed in the United States.

Former KBO MVP Byung-Ho Park returned to the Nexxen Heroes, signing for $1.38 million after he could not find a major league stadium last year. He spent all of last season in the minor leagues struggling to make contact, after being sent their midway through the 2016 season. He still had two years left on his major league contract with the Twins but sacrificed that for the opportunity to return to Korea.

Jae-Gyun Hwang got a cup of coffee with the San Francisco Giants last year, struggled and then was returned to the minor leagues where he spent most of his time. After the season he was released by the Giants, allowing him to return to Korea where he signed a four year contract for $8.8 million with the KT Wiz.

It is still unclear what will happen to Jung-Ho Kang, who has been unable to get a work visa to return to the United States to play baseball after his third drunk driving conviction. Kang was the first of this wave, achieving some success with the Pirates his first two seasons. He recently went to the Dominican Republic to play baseball after being inactive for all of 2017, struggled and was released. The Pirates seem to accept the fact that he will not be returning to the United States and are setting up their roster for another year without him. Kang may want to negotiate out of the contract, since he is not being paid while suspended and see if he can sign with another KBO club. The KBO clubs may be reluctant to sign him after his drunk driving convictions and his absence from baseball.

No new Koreans were signed as free agents or posted by their Korean clubs. The biggest impact from the KBO are ex-major leaguers who return from Korea to play major league baseball, like the Brewers Eric Thames.

NPB East Wins Taiwan Winterball League

Monday, December 18th, 2017

The NPB East Japanese prospect team defeated their Korean KBO counterparts 4-1 in the Taiwan winter league championship game. The KBO team battled the host Taiwan team in the semifinals. The KBO team beat the CPBL 6-2 to advance to the championship game. The NPB East team upset the Division winner Japan Amateur Baseball Association (JABA) 2-0 to advance to the championship game. JABA went on to beat the CPBL team 4-3 to capture third place.

The final standings to determine seeding:

JABA (11-4-2), CPBL (11-5-1), KBO (8-7-2), NPB East (8-9), NPB West (8-9-1), WBSC Team (4-11-2)

Nicaragua to Host U-23 WBSC Championship; Panama Under 15

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Nicaragua will host the Under 23 WBSC championship in 2018, playing the games at the newly constructed 15,000 seat Dennis Martinez stadium at a date yet to be determined. Despite all the points awarded for this event the No 2 United States and No 5 Cuba will not be playing in the tournament. The United States did not play in the qualifying round, while Cuba did not qualify. Below are the teams who have qualified for the games:

Africa (1) - to be determined
Americas (4) - No. 9 Venezuela, No. 6 Mexico, No. 11 Puerto Rico, No. 16 Dominican Republic
Asia (3) - No1. Japan, No.4 Taiwan and No. 3 South Korea
Europe (2) - No. 8 Netherlands, No. 14 Czech Republic
Oceania (1) - to be determined
Wildcard (1) - No 13 Nicaragua

The Under 15 Hosts will be Panama. The teams competing in that tournament are:

Africa (1) - to be determined
Americas (5) - No. 2 United States, No. 16 Dominican Republic, No. 5 Cuba, No. 15 Panama, No. 18 Brazil
Asia (2) - No. 1 Japan and No. 4 Taiwan
Europe (2) - No. 20 Germany and No. 8 Netherlands
Oceania (1) - to be determined