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Korean Pitchers are Only Worth a Dollar in U.S.

Posted February. 04, 2005 22:57,   


The crushing results are out: “All Korean pitchers are only worth $1.”

Only four Korean pitchers had their names entered in the 2005 fantasy baseball preview announced on February 4 at Major League Baseball’s official website (MLB.com), and their values are worth $1, the lowest in the rankings.

Park Chan-ho (32, Texas) is especially shocking. Although he has a career record of 94 wins and 72 losses and was a successful FA, signing a five-year, $65 million (about 67 billion won) contract, he ranks 182nd among the 187 players on the starting pitcher list.

A short evaluation of Park is even more frightening. The term “bad” was used three times: “bad contract, bad numbers…bad pitcher.” Worth $33, the top-ranking starting pitcher is Johan Santana (Minnesota), the American League’s Cy Young Award winner last year. Arithmetically, this means he is equal to 33 Park Chan-ho.

Besides Park Chan-ho, Seo Jae-weong (28, New York Mets) is ranked 157th, Song Seung-joon (25, Toronto) 156th, and Sunny Kim (Kim Sun-woo, 28, Washington) 146th. According to the preview, Seo’s “control slipped away, and so did the memories of the nice work he did in 2003,” and Song is a “candidate for the fifth slot in the rotation” but “needs to show more consistency at Triple-A.” Kim is unexpectedly the top-ranking Korean pitcher, but a minor league contract awaits his this season.

Bullpen pitchers Kim Byung-hyun (26, Boston), Koo Dae-sung (37, New York Mets), and last year’s MLB newcomer Baek Cha-seung (25, Seattle) did not even make it into the rankings.

Choi Hee-seop (26, LA Dodgers) was the only Korean to have his name on the list of hitters. His value is $4. However his rank is 38th among 53 first basemen, and his embarrassing batting average of .161 after his trade to Los Angeles has been the subject of criticism.

Meanwhile, the overall top-ranking player is Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals, first baseman) at $44, followed by Carlos Beltran (New York Mets, outfielder) and Vladimir Guerrero (Anaheim Angels, outfielder), each at $43. Among pitchers, Santana is 10th overall in rank, Dodgers’ relief pitcher Eric Gagne ($32) is 11th, and the New York Yankees’ Randy Johnson ($32) is 13th. Boston’s Curt Schilling ($30) is ranked 15th.

Hwan Soo Zang zangpabo@donga.com