Here’s a personal ranking of mine of players top to bottom order highest to low chance of success playing in the Major leagues this next season, if signed.
1.) RHP SP Kenta Maeda, 27 yrs old – Your ideal number 2-3 or possible number 1 starter in the rotation, a RHP with a 3 quarters delivery who sports a 4 seam fastball (145-150 kph), 2-seamer (with same identical speed as his 4 seamer), an average/above average change-up, slider and a curveball (sources said that he also have a forkball, throwing 79-80 mph in the radar gun back in 2010-2011). In this 2015 season, in 29 games, he went 15-8 while compiling an ERA of 2.09 in 206.1 innings pitched. He also won the Sawamura award this year (his second time since winning the award back in 2010). If healthy, he is going to be successful for years to come in the Major leagues.
Note: For more information regarding what the “Eiji Sawamura” award is, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eiji_Sawamura_Award
His overall totals in the NPB, http://bis.npb.or.jp/eng/players/51655114.html
2.) 1B/3B Lee Dae-ho, 33 years old– Want someone with power and contact in the bat that can hit Baseballs to both sides of the field and center? He’s the guy you want! “Big boy” (his nickname) Lee Dae-ho can also pack a punch hitting opposite field bombs, aside than hitting with both power and contact, he is also pretty good with the glove. With an overall 366 games at 1st base in his 4 years with the NPB league ( 2 years with Orix and 2 years with Softbank), he only committed 15 errors in that position (.996 Fld%). Throughout his 4 year tenure in the NPB– he has hit .293/.486/.370 hitting 98 homeruns and 348 RBI’s. In his 11 KBO seasons– he has hit .309 with 225 homeruns and 809 RBI’s… he just edged out Park Byung-ho in the batting category in this one, knowing he was successful if not very in both foreign Baseball leagues, he is deserving of this number 2 spot in the list… With that drive to improve even more, I know he too is going to have a successful Major league career.
Also, let’s say his MLB team in the future wants him to pitch in a blow out game, you think he can’t pitch? Wrong, yes he can! (He was still a high schooler in this time, but he can still pitch)
3.) LHP SP Yang Hyeon-jong, 27 years old– (Failed to sign for a Major league team last year cause his team backed out, and now he’s back, with a mission) A potential number 3-4 starter in the MLB rotation, he sports a 4 seamer, a slider and a changeup. Back in the 2015 season he has an ERA of 2.44 with a 15-6 record in 184.1 IP and also a 160/66 SO/BB ratio.
Note here, knowing that the KBO is known for it’s booming offense and small field dimensions, Yang is a must be and definite sign, and his success will no doubt be high, I’m positive he’ll be attracting MLB teams in no time. This are his overall statistics with the Kia Tigers, http://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.cgi?id=yang–000hye.
4.) 1B/3B Park Byung-ho, 29 years old– Want someone with 30 homerun power potential in the Majors and can hit 150 meter bombs? He is your dude. Park is 29 years old and he hit 52 homers over 128 games in 2014 and hitting .343/.436/.714 with 53 home runs and 146 RBI over 140 games this season (making him as the ONLY KBO league player in history to hit consecutive back to back 50 homer seasons). His overall stats in the KBO, http://eng.koreabaseball.com/Teams/PlayerInfoHitter/Summary.aspx?pcode=75125.
Now, If he signed and played in the Major leagues next season, MBC projected him to finish the season hitting 24 homeruns in that year while having a BA. AVG of .250-.260.
Some of his homerun highlights this 2015 season.
5.) RF Son Ah-seop, 27 years old– Son is a left handed slap/opposite field hitter hitting for high BA.AVG and is a pretty good gap hitter as well in the league, hitting above .300 for 6 consecutive years with the Busan Lotte Giants, also playing well above average defense in his position at right field while going .317 with 13 homeruns and 54 RBI’s this season in 445 AB’s. His overall statistics in the KBO, http://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.cgi?id=son—000ah-. No doubt his bat will translate pretty well in the Majors in terms of average.
Some of Son’s highlights this season.
6.) LHP SP Kim Kwang-Hyun, 27 years old– ( Same with Yang above) A left handed pitcher with an overhanded delivery who is a potential 4-5 starter in the rotation (or just a long relief guy in the Majors), he sports a fastball topping around 154 kph to 155 kph, change-up, a slider and a curveball (both his best pitches). His 2015 stats are not all that good but I’ve seen worse with other pitchers, compiling an ERA of 3.72 and in terms of runs and earned runs given up (86 runs and 73 earned runs in 176.2 IP), this is both his worst career highs he’s made in his KBO career… His overall statistics with SK, http://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.cgi?id=kim—002gwa.
Some of Kim’s highlights this season.
7.) 3B/SS Hwang Jae-gyun, 28 years old– (If Son failed to sign or garner interest among Major league clubs, Hwang will be posted, too bad a KBO league team can’t post two players at a time due to KBO rules…) A right handed batter with brimming confidence, he have a wonderful offensive showing this season establishing career highs in terms of homeruns and RBI’s (may be a fluke), in 534 AB this season, he has hit 26 homeruns and 97 RBI’s with the Lotte Giants while also playing great defense at 3rd. He is still a question mark for me, even with the MBC. I don’t know what the outcome will be if he played next year in the MLB (pretty much low chances of succeeding). His overall stats in the league, http://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.cgi?id=hwang-001jae. But, I think some guys will like some of this from him..
(If you have any thoughts or questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask them.)
11 thoughts on “Foreign players we’ll soon likely see in the Major leagues.”
Great job Ren!
Question: With such high obp, almost 500 on most, do they walk a ton or are they hbp a lot? I’m of the opinion that they would all be useful.
Question: How long is the average wait to get posted for a MLB team? Are we bidding on the cream of the crop, or just a few good but not great players?
Question: What is the average age of those who are posted? You only gave us the ages of a few.
Again, thanks for this.
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Batters there also gets HBP a whole lot, pitchers (especially starters) really tends to throw up and in more compared to ML pitchers. Controls are very weak in that league too, resulting in a lot walks.
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“Are we bidding on the cream of the crop, or just a few good but not great players?”
The players on the list here are one of the very best players in their respective leagues, there’s still some more other young players I see with possible Major league potentials especially in the NPB right now but we still have to wait for a couple of years for em to get known throughout the Baseball world, not only just in their leagues.
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There’s no posting fee for Lee Dae-Ho, so that will give him greater flexibility in finding a MLB team. However, at 33, his age is an issue. It’ll be interesting to see how he does in the free agent market.
Great list Ren. I feel like this sort of thing will make us more knowledgeable when the news comes in about the latest Asian import. For those of us reading here we will know all about them already.