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Korean Pitcher, Catcher for Angels?

Posted December. 25, 2006 07:37,   


When will we see the first Korean pitcher and catcher join forces in Major League baseball? We might see it happen in the near future.

According to the magazine Baseball America, Jung Young-il (aged 18, Jin-heung High School, Gwangju) is fourth and Korean American Choi Hyun (aged 18, English name Hank Conger) is sixth on the Los Angeles Angels’ top ten prospects list.

Baseball America stated that Jung Young-il “could be a frontline starter down the road” and projected that he would play as the No.5 starter by 2010. It saw great potential in Choi Hyun as well, speculating that he could become the starting catcher by 2010. Jung Young-il, a right-hander, stands tall at 188cm and 96kg. His killer pitch is a 150km/h fastball. During the President Cup match with Gyeonggi High School in April, he recorded 23 strikeouts in 13 and 2/3 innings, breaking the previous record of 22 strikeouts.

Korean Baseball League’s Kia drafted Jung Young-il, but the contract negotiation ended in failure. Jung Young-il decided to go to the Angels with a million dollar contract in July. He is the 31st Korean player to play for the major leagues.

The Angels drafted Choi Hyun in the first round as the 25th pick for $1.35 million in June, after graduating from Huntington High School. He is a switch hitter, which is very rare for a catcher. He also impressed the Angels with his high school records. He had 34 homers and showed great slugging ability as well as defensive prowess. Jung Young-il and Choi Hyun wasted no time getting to know each other; they were roommates during the Arizona rookie league in September.