Archive for the 'Korea' Category

Jung-Woo Lee the Ichiro of Korea

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

A bold statement to make. Jung-Woo Lee won the KBO rookie of the year award last year at age 18 hitting .324. Not a great average in the KBO but for an 18 year old pretty impressive. He is the son of Jong-Beom Lee, who was a star in the KBO a number of years ago. Like Ichiro, Lee does not hit for a lot of power but he accumulates base hits. The power may come as he matures. Jung-Woo also plays right field but his arm and speed do not match Ichiro. Just his bat.

Coming into his sophomore season Lee struggled. He spent some time on the disabled list trying to heal from the nagging injuries, returning July 19th after a one month absence. Now that he has returned healthy his bat has been torrid. And the Nexen Heroes have been reaping the benefits, currently on an 11 game winning streak that has moved them to fourth place in the KBO. For the month of August the 19 year old has 31 hits in 59 at bats for a .525 average. He also has multiple hits in his last six games.

The hot streak has put his average at .377. That currently leads the KBO. If he wins the batting title he will join his dad Jong-Beom Lee as the first father/son duo to win the batting title in the KBO, and possibly the youngest player to win the title. His slugging average has also increased from .417 his rookie year to .504 with an increase in doubles and homeruns and a decrease in triples. The hot streak has also put him on the Korean national team for the Asian Games to be held in Indonesia later this month.

It will be a few years before Lee gets posted or becomes a free agent but there would be a number of major league teams interested in his services. By that time he could be approaching 2,000 hits in the KBO at the ripe old age of 25.

Of course, when Shin-Soo Choo played in the major leagues the Koreans called him the Ichiro of Korea. That did not come to pass. He still has had a decent major league career, but far short of Ichiro.

Kia Tigers 39 Runs in Two Games

Monday, August 13th, 2018

The defending champion Kia Tigers, who are sitting in seventh place and out of the playoff picture if the season ended today appear to have awakened. Last weekend they scored 39 runs in two games against the second place SK Wyverns to prove they have a pulse. It was a great weekend for Tiger fans with Kia winning 18-4 on Saturday and 21-8 on Sunday.

Roger Bernadina has not hit for the same offense he did last year when he hit .320 with 27 homeruns and 111 RBIs. His average is fine (.315), aided by his weekend outburst, but his production is down (19 HRs and 54 RBIs). Over the weekend the average climbed with a 9 for 11 two day surge in which he hit two homeruns and drove in 6.

Other stars over the weekend included Bum Ho Lee, who hit four homeruns over the weekend with 8 RBIs. Lee has driven in 10 runs over his last three games. Ji-Wan Na hit three homeruns over the weekend to drive in six runs.

It is expected with high scoring games that much of the production is against the Korean pitchers. In the Saturday game they munched on four different Korean pitchers for all of their 18 runs. On Sunday Anibal Sanchez could only get one out as he gave up 10 runs. In his last two starts Sanchez has given up 18 runs in just 3.1 innings. Sometimes these Korean offensive explosions can leave you dizzy.

Kia had Monday off. They begin a two game set against the LG Twins on Tuesday and Wednesday. The LG Twins sit in fifth place in the KBO standings, the last wild card spot for the playoffs. The Tigers are positioned 1.5 games behind the Twins. A sweep will allow them to surpass the Twins to creep closer into qualifying for the playoffs in an attempt to defend their championship.

Little League World Series Participants

Monday, August 6th, 2018

The United States and Canada still need to sort out their participants, but the other international teams for the Little League World Series have been decided. The Little League World Series will be in Williamsport, PA August 16-26.

Asia Pacific Regional

The two powers South Korea and Taiwan came out of their pools as the top teams. When the finals were played South Korea (Seoul) were the victors 6-1. Hong Kong did well, finishing second in their pool to Taiwan and defeating Guam 6-5 to take the consolation game.

Australian Regional

Australia will be represented by Gold Coast Baseball Assoc. in Queensland. They beat Adelaide 11-0 in the championship match.

Caribbean Regonal

The World Baseball Classic success has created a resurgence in baseball in Puerto Rico. There Little League team dominated their regional finishing 8-0. The closest team to them was Curacao at 5-3. A second Puerto Rican team did not do so well, going winless at 0-6. Puerto Rico played Curacao in the championship match and beat them 5-2.

Europe/Africa Regional

Just as last year there were no African teams represented in this region. So a better effort needs to be made to get African representation or just drop the name from the title. It takes a lot of coin to participate in a tournament in Europe. Spain (Catalunya) was the big surprise beating the Netherlands 19-0 in the finals. This is the first time that a true team from Spain will play in the Little League World Series. There previous four appearances had rosters filled with American players living in Spain.

Japan Regional

Kawaguchi Little League in Tokyo will represent Japan. They pasted Nagasaki Minami 23-2 in the championship game. They seemed to get better as the tournament wore on, winning their opener 2-1, taking the second game 7-2 and winning the semifinal match 13-2 before waltzing in the playoffs.

Latin America Regionals

Panama (Vacamonte) only loss in pool play was to their brethren Panama (Aguadulce Cabezera) in the last game of pool play 8-0. They opened against them in the first round of the playoffs and avenged that loss with a 2-0 win. In the championship match they went up against Nicaragua and won 6-3.

Mexico Regionals

Matamoros Little League finished undefeated at 8-0 beating Trevino Kelly 5-3 in the championship game.

Foreign Athletes Taxes to Rise in Korea

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Foreign athletes will see their tax rate rise from three percent of their income to 20 percent of their income. The reason for this is to encourage foreign athletes to file an after earnings global income tax to possibly recover some earnings. In the past foreign athletes would depart the country without filing a return resulting in a loss of revenue of 9.2 billion won. The larger tax withholding will encourage foreign athletes to file a tax return.

This increase mainly applies to soccer, volleyball, basketball and baseball which account for the majority of athletes. This information was obtained through mykbo.net from a joongang daily article.

2018 Baseball World Cup to be Held in Barranquilla, Colombia

Monday, July 30th, 2018

Barranquilla, Colombia will be the hosts for the under 23 Baseball World Cup that will be played October 19-28, 2018. As the host they will get an automatic bid to participate in the tournament. It is also hoped that the tournament will help bring new stadiums to Repelon and Manati, which are part of an $8 million investment by the Colombia Atlantico Department, though it would be nice to have some of the funds from the games go to help finance the stadiums. Pending inspection by the WBSC the games will be played at the Santa Marte Baseball Stadium. Don’t know if the stadium will pass muster but the fact there are probably no other alternatives seems to indicate it will pass. The WBSC probably should have waited to inspect the stadium before making the announcement about hosting if they had alternatives.

The following teams have qualified for the tournament. The last event was played in 2016:

Africa: South Africa
Asia: Japan (defending champions), Taiwan, Korea (third place)
Europe: Netherlands and Czech Republic
Americas: Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic
Oceania: Australia (second place)
Host: Colombia

The United States is not eligible for the event because they did not participate in the qualifiers. Because of that they may lose their number one ranking to Japan this year. This tournament is the most important international event this year, distributing the largest amount of points given to teams who do well in this event. Cuba is another traditional baseball power absent from this event.

Players and the Countries they Represented at the All Star Game

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

There were a lot of players born outside the United States who participated in the All Star game. Myworld counts 18 players born outside the United States (not including Puerto Rico) who participated in the game. Surprisingly, Venezuela had the most All Stars with seven but Puerto Rico was well represented with six while the Dominican Republic sat at third with only four. Normally the Dominican Republic is the hot bed. Below are the countries and the players from that country.

Venezuela (7)

Gleyber Torres, Salvador Perez, Jose Altuve, Wilson Ramos, Wilson Contreras, Felipe Vazquez, Jesus Aguilar, Eugenio Suarez

Puerto Rico (6)

Yadier Molina, Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor, Jose Berrios, Edwin Diaz, Joe Jimenez

Dominican Republic (4)

Luis Severino, Jean Segura, Jose Ramirez, Nelson Cruz

Cuba (2)

Jose Abreu, Aroldis Chapman

Curacao /Netherlands (2)

Ozzie Albies, Kenley Jensen

Canada (1)

Joey Votto

Brazil (1)

Yan Gomes

South Korea (1)

Shin-Soo Choo

Nanum Teams Wins KBO All Star Game

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

For the first time since they have been broken out into Team Nanum and Dream Team in 2015, Team Nanum won an All Star game. The 22 year old Kim Ha-Seong, who replaced Jung-Ho Kang as the Nexen Heroes shortstop was the All Star MVP with his two homeruns. His three run homer in the eighth clinched the game for Team Nanum. He was also named the teams perfect hitter, a contest where batters try to hit targets on the field.

Jared Hoying was also up for consideration for the MVP. He contributed three hits, including a solo homer in the second to score the first run for Team Nanum and a RBI double in the seventh to break a 5-5 tie.

Dae-Ho Lee won the homerun derby, beating out Hoying for the honors.

Korea to Host 18 and Under World Cup

Friday, July 13th, 2018

In 2019 Gijang County, Busan, Korea will be host to the 18 and under World Cup. The games will be played at the Gijang-Hyundai Dream Ballpark, a four field facility built in time in 2016 to host the Woman’s Baseball World Cup in 2016. The last Under 18 World Cup was held in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada in 2017. The United States defeated Korea in the championship match. The United States has won the last four 18 and under World Cups. That still puts them two short of Cuba who has won 11. Korea has won five 18 and Under World Cups all while being hosted by either the United States, Canada or Cuba.

New Posting System for KBO and Major Leagues

Friday, July 13th, 2018

The Korean Baseball Organization (KB)) and the major leagues have agreed to a new posting system. Under this new system which is similar to an agreement made between the major leagues and Japan, a Korean player that is posted can negotiate a contract with any major league team. The posting team is then rewarded with a percentage of the total value of the contract. Previously, the Korean player could only negotiate with the team that submitted the highest posted price and then that player could negotiate only with that team.

For guaranteed contracts of less than $25 million the Korean club will get a payment of 17.5 percent. Contracts between $25 million and $50 million the payment will be 20 percent of the first $25 million and 17.5 percent of the next $25 million. Contracts that exceed $50 million will have 20 percent of the first $25 million, 17.5 percent of the next $25 million and 15 percent of any amount greater than $50 million.

The new agreement has also shortened the time frame for the negotiating period for posted players from November 1 to March 1 to November 1 through December 5.

While Korean players applauded the new procedures because it gave a greater amount of the contract to the players and allowed them to negotiate with all teams, it may also provide a disincentive for teams to post their stars.

The above information was acquired from Yonhap News.

Duo of Foreign Aces Lead Doosan to First in KBO

Monday, July 9th, 2018

The record for wins in a season in the KBO is held by Dustin Nippert who was pitching for the Doosan Bears in 2016 and Danny Rios who first set the record in 2007 while also pitching for the Bears. Dustin finished 2016 with 22 wins and 3 losses with a 2.95 ERA. The following year Dustin won 14 but his ERA rose to 4.06. The Bears hesitated in resigning him and the pitcher who won 94 games for them in six years jumped to the KT Wiz.

That opened a spot in the starting rotation for Doosan. It also created a lot of unhappiness with their fans. Not just because Dustin left the team. Foreign pitchers often depart the KBO after pitching well, but they usually leave for Japan or return to the United States for another shot at the major leagues. To leave for another team in the KBO. That was insulting. A sign of incompetence by the franchise.

The Bears search went to Iowa where their interest settled on a pitcher who had one major league appearance with the Chicago Cubs. Seth Frankoff was a 27th round pick of the Oakland Athletics in 2010 and considered a journeyman in his eight year minor league career. At no time did he win in double digits. For 2017 Frankoff was 2-8 with a 4.40 ERA with the AAA Iowa Cubs. The Cubs thought enough of him to call him up for his only major league appearance where he gave up two runs in two innings of work for a 9.00 ERA. Not the kind of numbers that get a lot of teams excited but enough for the Bears to pay him a $150,000 bonus and a salary of $700,000. That was the kind of money Frankoff was not going to see in 2018 if he stayed in the United States. Bears fans were not impressed.

Korea appears to appeal to Seth. In 17 starts he is 13-0 with a 2.70 ERA, winning his last seven starts while allowing just seven runs in his last 41 innings. In the offensive minded KBO those kind of numbers are rare. At his current pace Seth would break the KBO record of 22 wins shared by Dustin Nippert and Danny Rios. In the minor leagues it took him three years to reach 13 wins. Now for Doosan fans Dustin Nippert is just a fading memory.

The Bears also signed Josh Lindblom, who left the Lotte Giants after the 2016 season to pitch again in the United States. His return got him four more appearances in the major leagues with the Pirates, but after little success (7.84 ERA) it also got him his release. He resigned with the Lotte Giants to finish out the 2017 season in Korea but then signed with the Bears to begin the 2018 season.

Josh is now second in the KBO in wins with 11. His ERA is also an impeccable 2.77, which is third in the KBO. At 31 years of age Josh seems to have settled in Korea. As a second round pick of the Dodgers in 2008 a lot more was expected from him. He played five years in the major leagues, winning just five games, experiencing the roller coaster ride many pitchers face bouncing back and forth between the major leagues and the minors. Combine his minor league wins (22) with his major league victories and it falls 12 wins short of his KBO wins (39).

The Doosan Bears hope Seth and Josh continue their domination of the KBO. They are about as good a 1-2 combination of aces the KBO has seen. With an eight game lead over the Hanwha Eagles they sit comfortably in first. The defending champion Kia Tigers, who beat them in a seven game championship match last year are in sixth place, one spot away from qualifying for the playoffs. The first place team gets a bye while the four teams behind them battle to get to the championship match. That is a position the Bears prefer to be in, especially with two rested aces to throw in a seven game series.