Jang Hyun-seok (Yongmago), an “ultra-elite pitcher” who is trying out for Major League Baseball (MLB), expressed his confidence in taking the mound in the big leagues.
At the Los Angeles Dodgers’ signing press conference held at Seoul Dragon City Hotel on Thursday, Jang Hyun-seok named Dodgers legend Clayton Kershaw as the player he wants to emulate and Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) as the hitter he wants to face.
“I didn’t know I would be joining the Dodgers, but it’s an honor to wear the uniform. They’ve been following me for a long time, and even though I knew they were interested, I never thought they would sign me,” he said.
“I want to be like Clayton Kershaw because he’s been with the Dodgers for so long and he’s the number one starter. The hitter I want to face is Ota. He’s one of the best hitters in the major leagues.”
During the press conference, John Dibble, the Dodgers’ director of scouting for the Pacific region, presented Jang with a Dodgers jersey with the number 18 on the back.
The number 18 is commonly recognized as the symbol of an ace in Nippon Professional Baseball.
Japanese pitchers such as Daisuke Matsuzaka (former Boston Red Sox), Genta Maeda (Minnesota Twins), Hiroki Kuroda (New York Yankees), and Hisashi Iwakuma (Seattle Mariners) wore the number when they played in Major League Baseball.
In Korea, the number was handpicked by the Devil’s scouting director, who thought that the number 18 was a symbol of an ace.
In his high school baseball career, Jang went 6-3 with a 1.85 ERA in 21 games.
He throws a hard-hitting fastball that tops out at well over 150 kilometers per hour, and after debating between trying out for the United States and joining the KBO, he announced his intention to play in the MLB on April 1.
The Dodgers, who have been watching Jang Hyun-seok for a long time, succeeded in securing the “second Park Chan-ho” for $900,000 (approximately 1.19 billion won).
In fact, Jang’s idol is not Park Chan-ho or Ryu Hyun-jin (now with the Toronto Blue Jays), but Darvish Yu (San Diego Padres).
“When I watch videos of him pitching in Japan and videos of him pitching now, there is a difference in his pitching stance. It’s a feeling I like,” he said, adding, “I watch a lot of Darvish videos and try to learn from them.”
Regarding Park Chan-ho and Ryu Hyun-jin, he said, “I have the desire to become a starting pitcher for the Dodgers, just like Park Chan-ho and Ryu Hyun-jin.”
Jang Hyun-seok chose the Dodgers over other major league clubs because of the potential for growth.
He saw the Dodgers as the best organization to develop him into a major league pitcher.
“In the meeting, they showed me my video and analyzed it. I was told that they have the best pitchers among the 30 teams, so I chose the Dodgers,” he said, explaining that the Dodgers are familiar to Korean players.
Until the end of last month, Jang Hyun-seok was debating between staying in Korea and going to the United States.
He decided to stay in South Korea because there are more success stories in the KBO than going straight to the U.S. after high school.
“I decided for sure after the Cheongnyonggi Jangchung Gojeon (on the 24th of last month),” he said, “I could play in Korea and then go to the U.S., but my final dream is to be a major leaguer. I thought I could perfect (my skills) by playing scientific baseball in a good system and good facilities,” he said.
“Especially things like pitching labs (a really measuring system to improve pitchers’ performance) are much better than in Korea. I thought it was a little bit better to learn in the U.S. than in Korea.”
Each of the “Korean Big Leaguers” who have played for the Dodgers has a unique nickname.
Park Chan-ho was called “Korean Express” and Ryu Hyun-jin was called “Korean Monster.
“I haven’t thought of a nickname yet, so I’d like you to come up with one,” Jang said with a smile.
Jang is in the process of coordinating his departure date with the Dodgers.
“The goal is to send him to the instructional league, 카지노사이트킴 which starts in October,” said Dibble, the scouting director.