LA Dodgers Sign pair of Koreans and eye Japanese HS Prospect

Posted by at 24 August, at 01 : 00 AM Print

Courtesy DodgersFYI.com

The Dodgers have signed 2 Korean born players in recent days. The Dodgers first won the rights to 37 year old right hander Choi Hyang-nam with a $101 dollar posting bid. The amount of the current contract is unknown at this time. Choi was once close to signing a deal with the Cardinals but his team, the Lotte Giants, decided to not give him away for free and posted the player. We shall see if Choi turns himself in to the next Takashi Saito. Choi did pitch in the US in 2005 for the Indians Triple-A affiliate out of Buffalo. He was 8-5 with a 2.37 era.
As for the second player the Dodgers signed, it is 22 year old right hander Ji-Mo Lee. Ji-Mo was a highly touted prospect out of high school. He missed two season due to military obligations, he then came back to play last season for the Lotte Giants before being released in November. According to Logan White, Ji-Mo already has two MLB ready pitches and should develop into a solid player.
The Japanease player the Dodgers have scouted is high end left handed prospect Yusei Kikuchi. Kikuchi is considered to have a higher ceiling then recent Red Sox signee Junichi Tazawa. However, he is younger then Tazawa was when he signed and would most likely would make his start in one of the Dodgers single-A affiliates rather then double-A. Kikuchi, when asked about the interest responded, “I’m happy to get this attention but I can’t consider how to proceed until the end of summer.” These things can blow up as Japanease baseball has requested for MLB to not attempt to sign Asian born players straight out of high school so that they may preserve the young talent in the Asian baseball organizations.
I look at the signings as a no lose situation for the Dodgers. Choi won’t cost the team much and unfamiliar Asian pitchers can have immediate success in the majors due to there usually misleading pitching mechanics. The bullpen is now looking more and more disastrous and if the team can find a guy that could maybe plug a hole sometime later in the season, then more power to them. Ji-Mo looks good in the department that the team has some high end, front of the rotation pitchers scattered around the different levels. If Ji-Mo can get back to his pre military form, he could really help boost a team that looks to have one of the best rotations in the majors within the next 3 years.
As for the interest in Kikuchi, this could be a big one. The addition of the tall left hander would once again make the future outlook of this rotation very promising. The good thing about him is that even though he is projected higher then Tazawa, he is younger and has received much less interest. Therefore the Dodgers could be bidding against against teams with not quite as deep of pockets. We shall see where this leads to by the end of the summer, but if he has Logan White’s attention, then that means he has turned some heads.

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