Challengers Yang Hyun-jong, Kim Ha-sung and Park Hyo-joon achieved their dreams of debuting in the Major League,
There are three Koreans who made their major league debut this year: Kim Ha-sung (26, San Diego Padres), Yang Hyun-jong (33), and Park Hyo-joon (25, Pittsburgh Pirates). He achieved his dream of playing on a big stage, but after the end of the regular season, he received a disappointing report card.
Kim Ha-sung was the first of the three players to hold an initiation ceremony in the Major League. Kim Ha-sung, who signed a 4+1 year contract with San Diego last winter and moved to the U.S. in the spotlight, was proudly listed on the opening roster.
Before the opening, expectations were high enough to be mentioned as a candidate for the National League Rookie of the Year award. Kim Ha-sung struck out in his first Major League at-bat against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 2, but made a strong impression with a multi-hit in his first starting game two days later.
Kim Ha-sung, who received steady opportunities, adapted to the Major League and played a stable defense. The San Diego club also expressed Kim Ha-sung as “King Ha-Seong” through SNS for his performance.
Kim Ha-sung hit a home run against Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw in the third inning of the Cy Young Award against the LA Dodgers on June 23, but he had a hard time hitting the balls of major league pitchers. In some cases, they suffered losses due to dubious judgments and referees’ ‘Pacific Zone’.
The poor batting average eventually hampered Kim Ha-sung, and his position narrowed further as San Diego recruited Adam Fraser during the season. Since September, he has played only 14 games and has been selected as a starter.
In the end, Kim Ha-sung ended the season with an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.622 with a batting average of 0.20254 hits, eight home runs, 34 RBIs, and six steals in 117 games this year.
He failed to win the World Series, which was his goal. San Diego, which was considered a favorite to win, failed to advance to the postseason with a disastrous performance of 79 wins and 83 losses.
Park Hyo-joon, Kim Ha-sung’s high school junior, finally became a major leaguer after a hard time in the minor leagues.
Park Hyo-joon, who signed with the New York Yankees and moved to the U.S. in 2015, improved his skills by playing in the minor leagues and was selected as a player of the week in Triple-A this year. And as a confirmed case of COVID-19 occurred in the Yankees, he was registered on the roster on July 17 and played until his first major league game against the Boston Red Sox.
Park Hyo-joon went down to the minor leagues again, but Pittsburgh highly appreciated his potential. Pittsburgh gave up Clay Holmes to the Yankees on July 27 to trade Park Hyo-joon and Diego Castillo.
Park Hyo-joon has been given continuous opportunities to play since August, and in the beginning, he maintained a batting average of.300 and showed off his outstanding skills. However, he fell into a batting slump from mid-August and was briefly demoted to the minor leagues. Returning again, he remained until the end of the regular season.
Park Hyo-joon recorded an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.633 with a batting average of 0.195 25 hits, three home runs, 14 RBIs, and 16 points in 45 games in the Major League this year. It’s not a noticeable performance, but it still seems to be settling down little by little in Pittsburgh. He proved his competitiveness by playing all infield positions except for the first baseman.
Yang Hyun-jong rejected the KIA Tigers’ huge offer to advance to the Major League, his long-cherished dream, and agreed to a split contract of up to $1.85 million with the Texas Rangers on February 13.
He showed off his presence despite unfavorable conditions, such as joining the spring camp late, and accompanied the team with a taxi squad even after the opening. Yang Hyun-jong, who was the No. 1 promotion player, finally achieved his dream of becoming a major leaguer on April 27.
Yang Hyun-jong took the opportunity while the Texas starters collapsed and pitched better than expected until the first five games. However, he later reduced the high wall of the Major League and headed to the minor league after allocation of the nomination.
He was called back by the Major League at the end of August, but there was no reversal. Yang Hyun-jong played in 12 major league games and left three losses and a 5.60 ERA. The first victory was not finally achieved. In the minor leagues, he was also sluggish with three losses in 10 games and a 5.60 ERA.
Yang Hyun-jong, who became an FA, will decide on his future course of action after returning home on the 5th, putting more weight on his return to the KBO League than trying again in the Major League.