“Dodgers shock, steal Jang Hyun-seok for $1 million less” 19-year-old, 156 kilometers…meet Choi Hyun-il

“What’s even more shocking is that the Dodgers signed him for less than $1 million ($900,000).”

The top amateur prospect in 2023 먹튀검증, Jang Hyun-seok, 19, ultimately chose the major leagues. Contrary to expectations that he would be signed in early 2024, when the salary cap for international amateur scouts resets for Major League Baseball teams, he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers early.

The signing bonus is $900,000. That’s a bit more than Jun-seok Shim (Pittsburgh Pirates, $750,000), who was called up to the minors this year. It’s a shilling for a player that teams are looking for. Jang will start his minor league career next year. On July 14, he had his induction ceremony in Seoul.

Sports Illustrated’s Dodger Fan Nation, Inside the Dodgers, said on Nov. 15 (KST), “The Dodgers have a history of producing some incredible Korean talent in the past.” Besides Park Chan-ho and Ryu Hyun-jin (Toronto Blue Jays), the Dodgers are the team with the most Korean major leaguers.

Inside the Dodgers pointed out that the Dodgers are looking to develop Jang Hyun-seok into the next Chan Ho Park and Ryu Hyun-jin. “It’s rare to find a 19-year-old who can already hit 97 mph with his fastball. He was considered the No. 1 pick in the KBO draft (held in mid-September), but he decided to sign with the Dodgers.”

Inside the Dodgers even wrote, “Even more shocking is that the Dodgers signed Jang for less than $1 million. His high school junior year stats certainly surprise people. In 27 1/3 innings, he struck out 49 batters and had a 0.33 ERA. I think the Dodgers stole him.”

The question now is at what level Jang will start next year. The Dodgers currently have right-hander Hyun-il Choi (23) in High Single-A. Choi had some injury issues last year, but this season he appeared in 11 games (nine starts) for the Great Lakes Loons, going 2-3 with a 3.13 ERA in 37⅓ innings pitched.

Inside the Dodgers writes, “If the Dodgers are going to pair Jang with Hyun-seok Choi, it will likely start in High Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, High Single-A Great Lakes or Double-A Tulsa. For a pitcher who can throw 97 mph, it doesn’t seem impossible.” The expectation is that Jang and Choi will be able to work out together and provide good-natured competition.