A general view of Dodger Stadium on June 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
The Los Angeles Dodgers signed right-handed pitcher Jang Hyun-seok from South Korea to an international free agent contract with a $900,000 signing bonus on Wednesday, Leeco Sports Agency stated on their Facebook page.
Jang,19, is represented by Seoul, South Korea-based Leeco Sports Agency, a sports management agency.
Jang stands at 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds. He is ranked as the No.1 prospect by KBOprospects.com, and announced on August 1 that he would skip the Korea Baseball Organization Draft to pursue playing professionally in the United States.
“It was a tough decision for me because I dreamed of pitching both in the KBO and MLB,” Jang said in a statement released by Leeco Sports Agency. “But ultimately, I wanted to challenge myself in the best league in the world and decided to take a crack at MLB.”
He announced he’d seek a contract to play in Major League Baseball prior to August 15, which was the deadline to declare such an intention prior to the KBO draft. That event will take place next month, before the end of the 2023 regular season.
During his senior year at Mason Yongma High School in Changwon, South Korea, Jang went 3-0 in seven appearances, recording a 0.33 ERA in 27.1 innings while allowing seven hits, 12 walks, and 49 strikeouts with a 3.00 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
Jang Hyun-seok said, ‘It is an honor to join such a prestigious team as the Dodgers. I will work hard to develop as a player & repay their faith in choosing me.’
He tops out at 97 mph with his fastball and will appear for South Korea at the XIX Asian Games from October 1-7 at the Shaoxing Baseball Softball Sports Culture Center in Hangzhou, China. Jang will be both the youngest player and the only player currently signed with a Major League Baseball organization on the Korea roster at the Asian Games.
All players from the Korean Baseball Organization Futures League farm system are eligible to play in the Asian Games provided they have not accrued three years of professional service time.
Chinese Taipei will as well bring players that are currently signed with Major League Baseball organizations to the Asian Games.
Hyun-il Choi was the last player signed by the Dodgers from South Korea. They inked Choi during the 2018 international signing period for $300,000.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have $4,144,000 in international bonus pool money available for the remainder of the 2023 international signing period, the second-smallest amount behind the Texas Rangers.