Lee Jeong-hoo, who entered ML as a high school graduate with superpowers

Lee Jung-hoo, 25, has joined the major leagues with an ultra-premium deal. With the trend of high school players going directly to the U.S. again, it will be interesting to see what impact Lee’s ultra-lucrative contract will have in the future.

On the 13th (Korean time), American media outlets, including MLB Network, reported that Lee signed a six-year, $113 million (approx. KRW 14.84 billion) contract with the San Francisco Giants. It is the highest contract ever for a Korean player to enter the major leagues through the posting system, surpassing pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin, who signed a six-year, $36 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers after the 2012 season. He also received the best treatment among Asian beasts.

In doing so, Lee became the sixth player in history to go directly from the KBO to the major leagues using the posting system. Starting with Ryu Hyun-jin, he joined infielder Kang Jung-ho (Pittsburgh Pirates – 4+1 years, $11 million) after the 2014 season, first baseman Park Byung-ho (Minnesota Twins – 4+1 years, $12 million) after the 2015 season, pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun (St. Louis Cardinals – 2 years, $8 million) after the 2019 season, and infielder Kim Ha-seong 카지노사이트 (4+1 years, $28 million) after the 2020 season.

A big part of the reason Lee’s contract exceeded expectations was his youth, as he is still only 25 years old.

Lee joined the Nexen Heroes (now Kiwoom) in the first round of the 2017 draft and quickly fulfilled the seven-season first-team registration requirement to play overseas. He won a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang, which was crucial for him to get out of military service early.

Another gold medalist at the time, Kim Ha-soo, played seven years in South Korea before heading to the major leagues at the age of 25. It wasn’t as big of a deal as Lee’s, but his youth and potential earned him a 4+1 year multi-year contract. Kim will be eligible for free agency after next season, and he’ll only be 29 years old, so there’s still plenty of time for him to land a big deal.

The success of Kim and Lee should serve as a great motivation for young Korean dreamers who want to become big leaguers in the future. Instead of going straight to the U.S., it might be a good idea to try to succeed in the KBO first and then move on to the major leagues. It’s more about stability than adventure.

After the success of Park Chan-ho, the first Korean big leaguer, many amateur players headed to the United States in the late 1990s and early to mid-2000s. The chances of success were slim, with players like Choo Shin-soo, Kim Byung-hyun, Seo Jae-ng, Choi Hee-seop, Choi Ji-man, and others who played full-time, multi-year major league baseball can be counted on one hand. Most of them were bound by the two-year grace period upon returning to Korea and wasted their time.

After a brief lull, the practice of high school players going directly to the U.S. has only recently become popular.

In 2022, Shim Jun-seok (Pittsburgh Pirates) and Jang Hyun-seok (Los Angeles Dodgers), the No. 1 pitchers in high school, boarded a plane to the U.S. in 2023. In addition, pitcher Choi Hyun-il (Dodgers) in 2018, outfielder Cho Won-bin (St. Louis) in 2022, catcher Uhm Hyung-chan (Kansas City Royals), and pitcher Lee Chan-sol (Boston Red Sox) in 2023 have traveled to the United States.

The attractiveness of going directly to the U.S. has increased since the Major League Baseball labor agreement was signed in March last year, which significantly improved minor league conditions and benefits. With the advanced coaching system, minor league development, and faster major league debuts, more and more players are choosing to go directly to the United States. It remains to be seen how successful they will be, but with the exception of Hangzhou Asian Games gold medalist Jang Hyun-seok, who has unresolved military issues, the risks are high.

In the case of Choi, who was granted permanent residency in May 2020 and postponed his military service until age 37, it doesn’t mean much if he doesn’t have a long run in the major leagues. Only Park Chan-ho and Choo Shin-soo have played in the major leagues until their late 30s. Choi is almost the only other active big leaguer to do so. Park Hyo-joon 바카라사이트 순위 (Oakland Athletics), who had big league experience in 2021 and 2022, has been in the minors this year, and Bae Ji-hwan (Pittsburgh Pirates) has yet to establish himself as a big leaguer.

In addition to Post, other players who went directly from the KBO to the majors via free agency include Kim Hyun-soo, Hwang Jae-gyun, and Yang Hyun-jong. Not to mention Oh Seung-hwan and Lee Dae-ho, who went through Japan. In July 2018, the Korean-American posting system was revised, and players now receive more money than in the past. It will be interesting to see if Lee’s success in the U.S., where he was treated as an ultra-premium player, can change the mindset of other top prospects who dream of coming to the U.S. in the future.

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