KBO bullpen pitchers have surprised fans by reaching the major leagues. What’s behind the scenes?
The KBO announced last month that LG Twins pitchers Ko Woo-seok and Ham Deok-joo had received background checks from Major League Baseball. The situation was different for Kiwoom Heroes’ Lee Jung-hoo, who had announced his intention to enter the major leagues more than a year ago and was in the process of being officially posted. Fans were also surprised by the news.
Of course, a background check does not lead to a contract. In the past, several players in the KBO have been asked to undergo a background check by the Major League Baseball office, but very few of these cases have resulted in actual contracts. It’s literally just a basic procedure to verify your current status.
However, if you look at it the other way around, it can be interpreted as a sign that they are at least aware and interested in them. Go Woo-seok and Ham Deok-joo are two of the best bullpen pitchers in the KBO. Go Woo-seok has been the LG closer for years with his hard-hitting fastball, while Ham Deok-ju has a unique pitching style and is a left-handed bullpen arm. 먹튀검증 They’ve certainly come alive this season.
However, in terms of the major leagues, they are more of a ‘nobody’.
While Go Woo-seok has made a few international appearances for his country, so he’s relatively well known, Ham Deok-ju hasn’t had many opportunities to do so. Even looking at league-wide examples, only Oh Seung-hwan has pitched in the major leagues as a bullpen pitcher in the KBO, and he did so after gaining recognition in Japan.
The fact that major league clubs are paying attention to bullpen pitchers from the KBO, even outside of Japan, is in line with the current market conditions.
As one baseball insider familiar with the local situation explains, “We are still in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The player pool has deteriorated a lot. There are a lot of players who stopped playing baseball during the pandemic. The minor leagues shut down for a whole year, all the older players quit, and teams cut back on their minor league teams, so the player pool is definitely shallower.” “It’s much harder for KBO teams to find foreign pitchers now than it used to be. The same goes for major league teams. Even though the pandemic is over, it feels like there is no recovery.”
Recently, major league teams have also been facing an unexpected ‘recruitment shortage’.
Especially on the pitching side, while there are still plenty of “ace” pitchers available, there are always holes to fill after a full season. Pitchers who can fill in for the sixth or seventh starter or a hole in the bullpen need to be quickly available in the minor leagues, and the general consensus is that this hasn’t been easy since the pandemic. “The U.S. has a much shallower player base than before, so they seem to be looking at Korean players, not just Japanese, and showing interest,” said a baseball insider.
And even if scouts don’t necessarily look at players playing in overseas leagues as much as they used to, they can still show interest through data alone. In recent years, state-of-the-art baseball data systems have become more and more widespread, allowing major league teams to identify good overseas players based on measurement data alone. This is why Korean bullpen pitchers could be of interest.
Right now, the chances of Go Woo-seok and Ham Deok-joo making it to the major leagues don’t seem very high.
Go Woo-seok has been linked to the St. Louis Cardinals for bullpen reinforcements by local media in the U.S., but there’s a catch. Since he is a post-system player, he would have to come with a contract that is acceptable to the LG organization, but we’ll have to wait for the final outcome to see what that is. For now, Go Woo-seok has been approved for posting alongside Lee Jung-hoo, 메이저사이트 and negotiations are ongoing.
Ham Deok-ju, on the other hand, is in a slightly better position because he’s a free agent, but he hasn’t been specifically mentioned in the US transfer market yet. If he does go to the U.S., it will most likely be around the time of spring training, when the major players’ transfers are over, and his original team, LG, is determined to hold on to him.