WBC: Team Korea — Players to Watch

Team korea

Hwighting!

Many people probably don’t even know about this tournament, but this March baseball’s only true best-on-best international competition begins in the form of the World Baseball Classic (WBC). This will be the 3rd incarnation of the tournament, which is held every 3 years and has seen Japan emerge victorious in both in 2006 and 2009 . Korea has been very competitive finishing 2nd in 2006 an intense 10 inning final game and 3rd in 2009, after again losing to Japan. In fact, the Koreans have had the best win loss record in the tournament going 12-4 with all 4 losses coming to the Japanese, while team Japan has compiled a 12-5 record with 4 losses to the Koreans! Rivalry much?

So with this year’s tournament deciding the fate of Dokdo the Korea/Japan rivalry will be fiercer than ever! (just kidding, calm down) This post will give you a guide of some players to watch for team Korea, some players to hate on team Japan, useful scheduling information and anything else notable I come across.

Today we are talking some of the most important players in the KBO and consequently on Team Korea this year. There are other good players, but these guys are the big stars.

Lee Dae Ho #25 1B/3B/DH

Nickname: Big Boy


Lee Daeho

With Choo Shin-soo opting to attend spring training with the Cincinati Reds instead of play in the WBC, Lee Dae-ho is the leader of the Korean team this year. For those unfamiliar with Lee Dae-ho let’s start with the fact that he is enormous. Listed at 6′ 4″, 286 pounds Lee has been called “Big Boy” and is the kind of player that you would expect with that sort of build, a power hitting first baseman. Lee Dae-ho has put together an incredible career with approximately a million accolades in the KBO including multiple homerun titles (2), batting titles (3), and a ridiculous 2010 MVP Season in which he not only won the baseball triple crown for the 2nd time in his career but won the “septuple crown” leading the league in home runs, RBI, and batting average, as well as, runs scored, on-base and slugging percentages, and hits. That year he also broke the world professional baseball record for most consecutive games with a homerun, going on a 9 game tear and breaking a record  of 8 shared by Ken Griffey Jr. (1993)  Don Mattingly (1987) and Dale Long (1956).  After another dominant season in 2011 Lee decided it was time for a new challenge and headed to Japan, where in his first season as a member of the Orix Buffaloes he lead the league in RBI and won the homerun derby. So yea… he’s pretty good.

Off the field, Lee’s story makes his incredible accomplishments even more impressive. After his father died when he was 3, Lee’s mother lovingly remarried and gave him and his brother up to his grandmother, an old lady who sold vegetables and soybean paste at a market in Busan. Seeing his difficult family situation, his uncles introduced him to baseball as fun escape from a relatively dark childhood.

In elementary school he became friends with future Major League allstar Choo Shin-soo(!) and together they played baseball and were recruited into Korea’s national youth baseball team. They won the 2000 World Youth Championships with Lee serving as pitcher (he could throw in the 90’s!) and cleanup hitter, finishing with a .500 batting average and 3 home runs.

In 2000, just before his entry into the KBO, his grandmother died. This was obviously a huge blow and while trying to focus on baseball injuries to his shoulder and knees. Lee credits his girlfriend and future wife for getting him through these times and allowing him to develop into one of the great sluggers in Korean history.

Adversity, grandma, Choo and romance what a story!

http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/englishedition/eentertainment/435229.html

http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Dae-ho_Lee

Lee Seung Yeop #36 1B/DH

Nicknames: The Lion King, Mr. “Seung” (in Japan)

Lee SeungYeop

While Lee Dae-ho is probably the best Korean player in the tournament at this point in his career, the most decorated, and perhaps greatest, Korean league hitter of all time is Lee Seung Yeop.  After 7 years in the more advanced NPB in Japan, Lee Seung Yeop returned to the Samsung Lions last year, a team led from 1995-2003 earning the moniker “The Lion King”. Lee’s KBO resume is staggering and includes 5 MVP awards, 2 gold gloves, 3 Korean Series titles, 1 Korean series MVP. Lee also holds the Korean record for homeruns in a single season with 56 in 2003 and is a mere 6 homeruns from the record of 351 held by former Lion Yang Jun-hyuk. At 36 years old Lee proved he was still a top tier hitter in the KBO, smashing 21 homers and hitting .308.

Twice in the past Lee Seung Yeop has been reportedly close to joining Major League teams including an alleged negotiation with the LA Dodgers in 2007 where he demanded to have a guaranteed starting spot, which obviously didn’t work out. More on that negotiation and Lee’s notoriously attractive wife can be found here: http://www.rjkoehler.com/2006/04/05/lee-seung-yeop-and-sports-writing-at-its-finest/ and more directly here http://image.search.naver.com/search.naver?where=image&query=%uC774%uC1A1%uC815.

In addition to his accolade-filled career in the professional leagues of Asia, Lee was also instrumental in Korea’s greatest international baseball achievement, the 2008 baseball gold medal in Beijing. When I first got to Korea in 2009, replays of the Beijing baseball tournament were popular viewing on Korean sports stations. This continued into 2010, and 2011…. It’s just great to watch any time! And Lee Seung Yeop had a lot to do with the happy ending. A thumb injury rendered him ineffective in the round-robin portion of the tournament, but Lee stepped up in the medal round. First, he hit a go-ahead 2-run home run to oust Japan in the semi-final, and followed that up a 2-run bomb against Cuba in the final, as Korea squeaked out a 3-2 victory, and secured exemptions from the military for all. Nice-uh!

Next month Korea will look for the Lion King to bring pride to the nation once more… heh, see what I did there?

Kim Tae-kyun #52 1B/DH

Nickname: The Billwonaire (I just made it up)

Kim Taekyun

In 2011 Kim Taekyun announced he was returning from the Japanese league to come back and play in Korea for his original team the Hanhwa Eagles. While the average annual salary in the KBO in 2012 was about 94.4 million won ($86,885 USD) Kim’s deal to return to his homeland paid him 1.5 Billion won ($1.38 million USD). Unlike other stars who have returned to Korea, Kim came back in his prime at 30 years old in 2012. The stocky first baseman didn’t disappoint, hitting .364 with 16 homers and 81 walks compared to 69 strikeouts. Kim ran away with the batting title, as well as the On Base Percentage crown – if such a crown were to exist.

In terms of international experience Kim was a vital member of the 2009 Korean WBC team as he was named to the tournament all-star team at first base tying for the most homeruns (3), RBI (11) and runs (9). This year the Korean team’s lineup will once again rely heavily on the bat of the KBO’s biggest earner of all time.

Kim Hyunsoo #50 OF 

Nickname:  Machine Hyun-Soo  기계현수

Kim Hyunsoo

The hitting machine, known as Kim Hyun-soo, is a returning member of the 2009 WBC team when he was named to the tournament all-star team, hitting .393 with 7 walks. Kim followed up that success in the 2009 KBO regular season when he finished runner up to the Wyvern’s Kim Kwang-Hyun for the MVP award. In 2009 Hyun-Soo exploded offensively, batting .357 and smacking 23 home runs. He defended his hit title with 172, and was runner-up in RBI (104) and triples (6)  while placing third in batting average, runs (97), doubles (31), on-base percentage (.448) and slugging percentage (.589 ).  As well as being an excellent contact hitter with a decent amount of pop in his bat, Hyun-soo is an above average outfielder usually manning left field for the Doosan Bears.  He’s a well-rounded baseball player, who plays the game the right way!! (Tip: Awful , useless baseball clichés like that help lazy baseball writers fill space and end paragraphs)

With these 2 SK Wyverns, I will give a little WBC-specific info then link to their already completed player profiles. So totally check those out!

Choi Jeong #14,  3B

Nicknames: Spider-man, Strong Boy 

Throwing error!.. Just kidding, he's a gold glover.

Choi Jeong  was one of the best offensive players in the KBO last year finishing among the league leaders in home runs. But with Lee Dae-ho, Lee Seung-Yeop, and Kim Tae-Kyun all guys who are defensively limited and can only play 1b/3b/DH it will be Choi Jeong’s above average  defense that ensures him playing time at the WBC this year… Click here for SK Wyvern player profile of Korean baseball’s “Spider-man”.

Jeong Keun-woo #8 2B

Jeong Geun WOOO

Jeong Keun-woo is another national team veteran having played in WBCs, Olympic games, and other various tournaments around the world. But the last WBC left a particularily bitter taste in Keun-woo’s mouth as he struck out against current Japanese Major Leaguer Yu Darvish to end Korea’s tournament.

“I don’t have fond memories of 2009…This time I want to end it on a better note and plant our national flag on the mound when we clinch the championship.”

He means business and, according to the WBC brass, Jeong will hit lead-off for the team.

To learn about how awesome Jeong Keun-woo is click here !!!

Yoon Suk-Min #28

Starting Pitcher, Right Handed

Nickname: his name’s funny enough

Yoon

With SK’s Kim Kwang-Hyun shockingly sidelined with a shoulder injury (just kidding, he’s always hurt) and former Hanhwa star Ryu Hyun-Jin too focused on his new Hollywood life with the L.A. Dodgers, Yun Seok-Min becomes the ace of the Korean pitching staff at the WBC.

Yoon started as a reliever but over the years it’s become apparent that an arm like his is wasted in the bullpen. He throws 90-92 mph, but can reach back for 96 mph in a big situation. The 26 year old right hander also features  a change-up, an occasional curveball, and a hard-breaking, mid-80s slider which can be used like a cutter against lefties.

Yoon was the 2011 KBO MVP winning the coveted triple crown of pitching. The now 26 year old right hander led the league with 17 wins, a 2.45 ERA and 178 strikeouts in 172 innings for the Kia Tigers. He was the first Korean pitcher to accomplish the feat, while also leading the league in winning percentage, since 1991.  It should be noted that pitcher wins are a silly stat, which is very team reliant and shouldn’t be used as way to measure individuals… but whatever TRIPLE CROWN!

Yoon is going to be relied on for some of Korea’s toughest opponents and he has experience with that.  In the 2009 WBC, he started the semi-final game against the ridiculously star-studded Venezuela. Yoon contained the fearsome, socialist oil powered, Venezuelans to 2 runs over 6 innings as Korea rolled to a 10-2 victory.

“If I can pitch the way I am capable of pitching, I am confident I can beat anyone,” Yoon said, when asked about this year’s tournament “Anyone can beat anyone in baseball, so it’s important to stay in the present and focus on one game at a time without getting ahead of myself too much.”

Hopefully he can keep that focus and lead Korea to gold!…err.. I guess I’m getting ahead of myself too much.

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So these are the players I have picked as most essential to know for any international Korean baseball tournament. Watch a WBC game or 2 and see these guys in action as they attempt to win gold and exact revenge on the Japanese team who they’ve developed such an emotional rivalry with.

Don’t know the schedule?? Click Here!  

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WBC: Groups, Schedules, Dates to save!

The World Baseball Classic -- It's a thing

The World Baseball Classic — It’s a thing

Many people probably don’t even know about this tournament, but this March baseball’s only true best-on-best international competition begins in the form of the World Baseball Classic (WBC). This will be the 3rd incarnation of the tournament, which is held every 3 years and has seen Japan emerge victorious in both in 2006 and 2009. Korea has been very competitive finishing 2nd in 2006 an intense 10 inning final game and 3rd in 2009, after again losing to Japan. In fact, the Koreans have had the best win loss record in the tournament going 12-4 with all 4 losses coming to the Japanese, while team Japan has compiled a 12-5 record with 4 losses to the Koreans! Rivalry much?

So with this year’s tournament deciding the fate of Dokdo the Korea/Japan rivalry will be fiercer than ever! (just kidding, calm down) These posts will provide you with useful scheduling information, a guide to some of Korea’s top players,  some notable Japanese foes, and anything else notable I come across.

Let’s start with the important grouping and scheduling information! Fun!

First, there are 16 teams in 4 pools that qualified for the tournament:

WBC pools

click to enlarge

Round 1:

In Round 1 each team will play the other 3 teams in it’s division. The top 2 records in each division will qualify for the 2nd round. Korea is in Pool B, which they should probably win. They are 4th in the IBAF rankings!

The Korean team will be in Pool B. All games in pool B will be played in Taiwan. Korea’s 1st round games are as follows. (Korean time)

Sat, Mar 2, 8:30 PM Korea @ Netherlands
Mon, Mar 4, 7:30 PM Korea @ Australia
Tue, Mar 5, 8:30 PM Chinese Taipei @ Korea

The Netherlands:

The Dutch have a couple established pro players in the likes of  Andruw Jones, and Roger Bernadina as well as some exciting young players like number 1 prospect in baseball Jurickson Profar, highly touted Xander Boegarts and defensive wizard Andrelton Simmons. That being said they aren’t as experienced or as deep as the Korean team and should be in tough to qualify for the next round.

Australia:

Ryan Rowland-Smith is their biggest name…. so this should probably be a win.

Chinese Tapei (Taiwan):

This is a young and cohesive unit that plays together more than most teams in a tournament like this. While it lacks players that I’m familiar with, the Taiwanese team is usually fundamentally strong and generally pesky. I do know Chein Ming Wang , this team has 2 players named that, and are ranked 5th in the IBAF rankings. Probably the only serious threat to Korea in the first round.

Round 2:

Round 2 is a little bit more complicated so stay with me here. The top 2 from each of the pools in round 1 will move on to round 2 and will be separated there into Pool 1 and Pool 2.  Pool 1 will consist of the winners and runners up from pools A and B. Pool 2 will be the winners and runners up from pools B and C.

Let’s look at Pool 1, which will be played in the Tokyo Dome and potentially feature Korea and Japan, in the diagram below.

WBC Round 2

click to enlarge

So we have 4 teams: Pool A winner (AW) and runner up (AR) and Pool B winner (BW) and runner up (BR).
Basically, you have to lose twice before the final to be eliminated. The winners of each pool (A and B) play the runners up of the other pool. The winners of those games move on to the 2nd part of the bracket, while the losers  play in an elimination game (L1 vs. L2 above).  The game between the 2 winners (W1 vs. W2 above) will move onto the final game of the group, while the loser will have to play the winner of L1 vs. L2  in another elimination game. The final 2 teams, while both moving on,  play a game to decide seeding in the medal round.

The games are all in local time, which is conveniently the same as Korean time. The exact time of Korea’s games obviously isn’t clear because it depends on the results of the games in rounds 1 and 2. I’ll go out on a limb and say the 4 teams here will be Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Cuba though so we’ll have a look at the latter 2.

Cuba:

castro

“Our baseball players must remain free from Major League imperialism.”

Oh Cuba! There are 18 Cubans currently in the Major Leagues and exactly 0 of them will be playing at the WBC, that’s because they are all traitorous defectors who have defied the revolution. Errr, politics aside, the Cuban team is always very athletic, very cocky and very good at baseball. Cuba has a passion for baseball. Their pipeline of Major League talent is inhibited only by their freedom hating regime  — see this blog is politically fair and balanced. Once, I was in Havana and my tour guide pointed out a group of 40 old men in a park with newspapers. He informed the tour group that the group of  señor citizens gathered everyday in that park to discuss baseball. Sounds like a good retirement spot. One player you should know is Jose Abreu who is allegedly a god of baseball. Click the link, it’s a good story about Abreu and Cuban baseball in general.  But seriously “453 batting average; .597 on-base percentage; .986 slugging percentage. Thirty-three homers and 93 runs batted in … in 212 at-bats.” this guy might be one of the better hitters on Earth and nobody knows who he is. The Cubans will be good.

Japan

He dropped it.

Ichiro…. He dropped it.

Due to a rich history of the Japanese being jerks to Korea,  some of the most emotional and entertaining games ever played at the WBC have been between the Koreans and the Japanese. This year should be no exception. A major difference this year is the Japanese Major League stars like Ichiro “Korea won’t beat us for 100 years” Suzuki, Hideki “Godzilla” Matsui, and  Daisuke “Dice-K” Matsuzaka won’t be attending  this years tournament. Regardless, the Japanese boast a strong team with the likes of Kenta Maeda, their 24 year old pitching ace, as well as infielders like former Major Leaguer Kaz Matsui and Hayato Sakamoto, star of the NPB. This version of team Japan is significantly weaker than the previous 2 championship squads at the WBC, but it’s important to remember that the Japanese pro leagues are a really high level of competition and this team should not be taken lightly…… Dokdo is Korea.

Round 3 The Medal Round: 

The Final round is pretty straight forward and looks like this:

WBC Final Bracket

click to enlarge

The winner of Pool 1 from Round 2 will play the runner up of Pool 2 and vice versa in the semi-finals and the winners will faceoff in the final. The times will be brutal for Korea because all final round games will be held at the beautiful AT&T Park in San Francisco, California.

Here they are so you dont have to think about it:

Semi Final:
Monday,  March 18th 10:00 am Korea time  W1 vs. R2
Tuesday,  March 19th 10:00 am Korea time  W2 vs R1

Final:
Wednesday, March 20th 9:00 am Korea time

So there you have it!

Broadcasts of the WBC in Korea will be done by JTBC, which according to Wikipedia is channel 15. The broadcasts will feature former MLB star Park Chan-ho and some other guys who will provide analysis in Korean and:

“JTBC also plans to introduce broadcasting technology that will allow Korean players to be shown more frequently than in previous international appearances aired by other local broadcasters.

‘They will be able to watch the plays by Korean players in more fun and varied ways,’ said a JTBC official. ”

So that’s awesome?

Special thanks to Wikipedia and the official WBC site for all their help with this. Hope it’s useful.

Player Profile: Park Jeong-Kwon

Park Jeong-Kwon  #36

ParkJeongKwon

Position:  1st Baseman, Right Fielder,
Birth: July 21st, 1981
Height: 187cm
Weight: 93 kg
Nickname: Mr. October

Clutch

adj.
being able to perform under extreme pressure

For my first time using a squatter toilet, that was very efficient and clean. Especially considering my panicked desperation. That was clutch!

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In baseball circles, you often hear about the fabled “clutch hitter”. A player that is able to, time and time again, come through when his team needs it most. The person every fan wants to see step to the plate with the game on the line in the 9th inning.

Generally, the labeling of players as clutch is misguided.  Excellent players are often thought of as clutch because they succeed in big situations more frequently than other players, but this doesn’t make them clutch hitters, it just makes them good hitters.  Very rarely can it be shown that a players performance actually measurably increases when thrust into big situations.

Park Jeong-Kwon, in his career thus far, has proved to be one of those rare cases.  Known as the “Mr. October” (Sheewol-Shee ㅋㅋ) of Korean baseball, Park has made a living out of coming up big in the playoffs for the Wyverns. The playoffs are in October…get it?…. A .265 hitter through 7 KBO seasons, Park hits at a near .370 clip in the playoffs. To go with the impressive 100 point bump in batting average he was also named the MVP of the 2010 Korean Series. He probably would have won the award in 2009 as well, had SK not dropped the 7th game of the series to KIA despite Parks 2-run homer. While Choi Jeong and Jeong  Keun-Woo are probably superior hitters at this point in their careers, when things get serious, Park Jeong-Kwon has always been the man for SK.

Mr October

Mr. October



Interestingly, although left-handed himself, Park hit left-handed pitching better in 2012  than he did right-handed pitching (.266 to .244), although he had significantly more power against righties. He was especially effective against submarine type pitchers, hitting .318, in a ridiculously small sample size of 22 AB… but still… he owns submariners, he’s like a sea mine.

SeaMine

Submariners beware.

Park adds value in the field with his versatility. He is a good defender at first base and is capable of  playing decently in right field when called upon to do so.

The SK lineup will be counting Park this year to step up with the departure of cleanup hitter Lee HoiJun. For some this increased pressure to perform would be daunting, but I think Mr. October can handle it.

SK Wyverns Roster

A reasonably up to date roster of the SK Wyverns. Like the one on Wikipedia except: it’s updated to include only players who actually play, everyone has numbers, and all players link to their KBO/Baseball Reference stat pages… No big deal.

Pitchers
Starting rotation

Bullpen

Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Manager


Bench Coach 

Pitching Coach

Notably Foreign Coach

Top English Blog

Player Profile: Jeong Geunwoo

Jeong Geunwoo  #8

JeongGeunwoo

Position:  2nd Baseman
Birth: October 2nd, 1982
Height: 172 cm 
Weight: 75 kg
Nickname: Wyverns  Naelsandulee (best player?)

The heart and soul of the team, the engine that makes the lineup go, an adorable little guy. These are all things you could say about Jeong Geun Woo. Geunwoo truly is the catalyst for the SK lineup combining his solid approach at the plate, ability to spray line drives between outfielders, and his well-earned reputation as an elite base stealer.

Jeong was a highly ranked infield prospect after attending Korea University and was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2005 KBO draft. In his sophomore season he won the Gold Glove at 2nd base and stole 45 bases. Since then, he has consistently been among the league leaders in hits, batting average and stolen bases, while earning a 2nd gold glove in 2009.

On the international stage Geunwoo has performed admirably at many international tournaments. Most notably he was instrumental in Korea capturing gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he hit a home run off Canadian pitcher Mike Johnson to propel Korea past the Canadians 1-0 to make a 16 year old Brett Lawrie really sad :(. He was even more remarkable in the 2010 Asian games in Guangzhou hitting .563 as Korea again took the gold. As mentioned in the Kim Kwang hyun profile, winning a gold medal in either of these competitions earns Korean players an exemption from their 2 years of military service… Assa!!

Geunwoo vs Brett Lawrie

Brett Lawrie questions his view on fitness and manliness.

Last year in the playoffs Jeong Keunwoo put the team on his back  (like Greg Jennings) hitting over .500 in the semi final round and doing all he could in the Korea Series in a losing effort.

When Geunwoo gets on base the fans do a chant that basically just says “RUN RUN RUN RUN!!! RUN! RUN!!!” Over and over. This may seem like it’s sacrificing the element of surprise in a stolen base attempt, but honestly every pitcher in the league knows that SK spark plug is probably going to attempt to steal the base… Except when they bunt him over to 2nd base… which happens much too often.

A joy to watch at the plate, in the field and on the bases Jeong Geunwoo looks forward to another season atop the SK order. HWIGHTING!

hwighting

http://www.koreabaseball.com/Record/HitterDetail1.aspx?pcode=75808

Player Profile: Jo-Jo Reyes

Joseph “Jo-Jo” Reyes # 37

Jojo pie

Position: Starting Pitcher (LHP)
Birth: November 20, 1984, West Covina, California, USA
Height: 6’2
Weight: 230 lbs
Nickname: Jo-jo? 

With the departure of Mario Santiago and Dave Bush a new pair of foreign born players join the SK roster this year. The more notable of the two is former major leaguer Jo-jo Reyes.

Reyes inexplicably pitched in the major league with 3 different teams, each with the misguided hope he could contribute as a 5th starter (the worst one).

He began his career with a ton of promise being selected out of Riverside Polytechnic High School in the 2nd round of the 2003 MLB draft by the Atlanta Braves. Aside from a few injury plagued years in the minors Jo-jo worked his way up and was at one point considered to be the Braves best minor league pitcher.

Unfortunately for the Braves, and later the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, Jo-jo was awful at the MLB level. With a career record of 12-26 and a 6.05 ERA Jo-jo’s once bright future in baseball has dimmed considerably. He heads to Korea this year to make some money and avoid the mediocre pay and soul sucking bus rides of baseball’s minor leagues.

While unsuccessful at sticking around in the big leagues, Jo-jo did manage to get his name in the record books as a member of the Blue jays on May 25, 2011, when he lost to the New York Yankees. It was his 28th consecutive start without earning a win, tying the Major League record set by Cliff Curtis (1910–11) and Matt Keough (1978–79).

Blue Jays fans like myself will remember Reyes as the man who was given countless chances to succeed but consistently failed. He even failed to break the record by winning his next start throwing a complete game victory against the Choo Shin-soo led Cleveland Indians.

The silver lining for SK fans hoping for big things from Jo-jo is that despite his undisputed track record of complete failure, top baseball talent evaluators continued to see some sort of potential in the young left hander. Jo-jo would show flashes of brilliance… or at least competence during his longer than expected major league career. Just when you thought he was absolutely hopeless he would string together a few decent innings and make you think: “maybe this guy isn’t as terrible as everyone thinks he is…”

On the strength of that sentiment, Jo-jo joins SK this spring with a hope for a fresh start in Korea. Jo-jo is like a lot of people I see coming from America… the job market back home isn’t great for left-handed pitchers who don’t win baseball games or politics majors who don’t get law degrees… But here in Korea you don’t need to have the greatest career track record, you just have to not embarrass yourself when you get here and you’ll be surprisingly well compensated for it!

So here’s to hoping that Jo-jo doesn’t embarrass himself with SK because at 29 years old, this might finally be his last shot.

Bonus link!: Clint Hulsey of “I R Fast” did an interesting study correlating KBO pitchers’ average fastball velocity and how well they pitched. It’s probably a bit numbery for some and I find it a bit simplistic, but he put a decent amount of work into it and apparently Jo-jo ranks 13th among KBO pitchers with a 90.3 MPH average fastball. Cool.

Rankings: http://irfast.blogspot.kr/2012/12/kbo-war-and-velocity-again.html
Jo-jo:  http://irfast.blogspot.kr/2013/01/jo-jo-reyes-and-vicente-padilla-in.html