From Choi Hyun-il (23-LA Dodgers) to Shim Jun-seok (19-Pittsburgh), Korean baseball prospects are raising hopes for the big leagues.
High school graduate Shim Jun-seok (19) was recognized for his perfect pitch in his first minor league start. The former Ducks ace went undrafted in last year’s KBO draft and signed with Pittsburgh to try out for the major leagues.
Shim, who is a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the rookie-level Florida Complex League (FCL), pitched a perfect game against the Baltimore Orioles of the FCL at Firelit City in Bradenton, Florida, on June 11 (Tuesday), striking out eight in four innings of no-hit ball. His fastball was in the low 90s for his first start.
Jun-seok Shim is one of the keys to Pittsburgh’s developmental program. The fact that he started in his first appearance is a testament to that. He is ranked 24th in the Pirates’ prospect rankings by MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball. In the U.S., Shim is already considered to be beyond the Rookie League level, so his promotion to Single-A is expected to be quick.
Before Sim, Choi Hyun-il made a successful comeback to the big leagues. Choi signed an international contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for $300,000 in August 2018 while still a student at Seoul High School. In 2019, he went 5-1 with a 2.63 ERA in 14 games in the Rookie League, and in 2021, he was named the Dodgers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year after going 8-6 with a 3.55 ERA in 106.1 innings pitched between Single-A and High Single-A.스포츠토토
Choi, who was ranked 12th in the Dodgers’ prospect rankings in March of last year, struggled with an elbow injury. However, he rehabbed and returned in May, going 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in three appearances for High Single-A Great Lakes.
While Shim uses his fastball to overwhelm his opponents, Choi uses his accurate delivery and powerful end of the ball to keep hitters off balance. Both are still in the minor leagues, but both have their sights set on the major league mound.