The Chicago Cubs continue to dominate the Far East international free agent market. Going back to the days of Hee Seop Choi, the Cubs have clearly made inroads in South Korea, and aren’t giving up any time soon.
Yesterday, the Cubs signed 18-year-old pitcher Kim Jin-Yeong tor a whopping $1.2 million bonus, making him – by my quick mental count – the highest paid international signee in Cubs history. He reportedly hits 92 on the gun, and is just out of high school.
He’ll join other Korean prospect studs in the Cubs’ system, including shortstop Hak-Ju Lee and pitcher Dae-Eun Rhee, both of whom make me think the new kid’s name is probably Jin-Yeong Kim, as opposed to Kim Jin-Yeong. But we stick with the reported ordering for now.
Another interesting side note to the impact of Korean culture on these signings – that is to say, another, in addition to the ordering of names – in South Korea, my understanding is that kids are typically considered age “one” at birth. So a kid who we’d say is 17 would be said to be 18 in Korea. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but this could impact these signings in the opposite way that signings out of the Dominican Republic turn out to be surprises – some of the Korean prospects could actually be younger than we think.