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Korean third baseman Jeong Choi may head to Major League Baseball after 2014 season

Apr 27, 2014, 4:37 PM EDT

jeong choi getty Getty Images

Melvin Roman, the Puerto Rico-based agent for Korean third baseman Jeong Choi, told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports on Sunday that his client is seriously considering leaving the KBO’s SK Wyverns after the 2014 season. “He has a strong desire to come and play in the major leagues,” Roman said.

Choi, who has been compared to Mets star David Wright for his good looks and well-rounded skillset, hit 28 home runs with a .429 on-base percentage and .551 slugging percentage in 2013 for SK Wyverns.

The 27-year-old has managed an OPS over .900 in four straight Korean Baseball Organization seasons.

Heyman suspects that the Diamondbacks, White Sox, and Red Sox could all be in the market for a big-time third baseman next winter — along with the Padres and Giants. Pablo Sandoval, Chase Headley, and Aramis Ramirez are among the current major league third basemen headed for the free agent market.

  1. doctorofsmuganomics - Apr 27, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    Luke Scott is chasing people out of a country already.

    • doctorofsmuganomics - Apr 27, 2014 at 5:28 PM

      Tough crowd. Sheesh.

  2. cmtill14 - Apr 27, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Saw him play a few times last year when I was stationed in Korea. If he comes to the majors he will be fun to watch. Good ballplayer.

  3. lyon810 - Apr 27, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    Not sure if they have the payroll for it, but would love to see the Angels try their hand at him. Haven’t had a decent 3B since Troy Glaus…I still dream of Brandon Wood

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 27, 2014 at 4:46 PM

      Hey Mark Trumbo was pretty decent, right?

  4. mmeyer3387 - Apr 27, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    Clearly, baseball is slowly becoming more of a diverse and international game. Its great to see Korea producing is own talent. Best wishes and luck on your career in America Jeong Choi.

    • renaado - Apr 27, 2014 at 5:56 PM

      Absolutely man! I”m smellin that the Philippines is probably the next in line of producin ballplayers there? Truly this sport is an international game, not slowly becomin one cause it’s already worldwide sport all around.

      • mmeyer3387 - Apr 27, 2014 at 7:30 PM

        I wonder if you are similar to the people that claimed Ichiro Suzuki would not amount to much? Especially, after Suzuki had faced American pitching? Furthermore, I don’t think that many people would object to me stating that Ichiro Suzuki was the best contact hitter of the last 15 years. He also clearly belongs in the Hall of Fame. Moreover, I wonder how great Ichiro Suzuki would have been if came here when he was younger? However, when we think about it, a great ball player could come from country. Even if they come from South Korea, right?

      • renaado - Apr 27, 2014 at 9:45 PM

        Certainly, Ichiro definitely belongs there in the Hall of Fame. Not a fan of the team he’s playin but truly this guy is top class. If only he came to the Major Leagues at the age of 22 there in the states I have no doubt he can pass Ty Cobb there in the hit list, he’s work ethic and determination of him strivin to improve is something anyone can truly admire. As for South Korea, ballplayers there have a lot of pride same to the country of Japan. They won’t give up even when they’re struggling. They’ll use that failure as a motivation to improve themselves. Everyone of us has abilities not just in one thing but also at everything which makes us very special.

        Oh about that statement “I’m smellin that the Philippines is probably the next in line of producin ballplayers there?” that question mark in the end should be a period, sorry about that.

    • mmeyer3387 - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:23 PM

      Renaado, I think we are in agreement about Choi. and others that may come come from the East. Yes, I also wonder what may have been if Ichiro Suzuki had playing in America when he was 22. Additionally, I do wonder if Ichiro Suzuki may have given Cobb a run for the record books. You also made me think of Ty Cobb and Ichiro Suzuki. I can’t help but to wonder that their playing styles are similar in certain ways, both great slap hitters. That being said, our conversation is just one of the many examples of what makes baseball so special. Great ideas, be well Renaado.

  5. flickflint - Apr 27, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    Don’t think he’ll be signing with the Padres lol

  6. luz56 - Apr 27, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    He’s not gritty enough for the Dbacks… Besides KT traded Justin Upton for 3B Prado and a P that can’t throw so things are working out just fine in the desert

  7. captainwisdom8888 - Apr 27, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    Just a thought, but this guy is very lucky he’s in South Korea as opposed to the neighbors to the north. Their idea of “sport” generally involves sadistic torture for the enjoyment of meth-fueled psycho soldiers. If this guy had been from North Korea and decided to go play pro baseball in America, his ENTIRE family would be imprisoned or worse…and he would know this even before he left.

    • Uncle Charlie - Apr 27, 2014 at 5:24 PM

      What would it be like if he was from Somalia, or better yet nazi Germany?

    • mmeyer3387 - Apr 27, 2014 at 7:00 PM

      Just about anyone that lives anywhere else besides North Korea is lucky. It’s like a modern version of Marxist Russia or Nazi Germany, historic places whose governments each killed countless millions.

  8. spyder9669 - Apr 27, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    Good looks?? Said who???

    • renaado - Apr 27, 2014 at 5:49 PM

      Dan Kurtz and Luke Scott.

  9. mikhelb - Apr 27, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    Hopefully his tools translate well to MLB, in the KBO there have been former majorleaguers having tremendous seasons there, but when they came back they weren’t all that good. Others simply were not given a second chance in the US.

    Former Dodger and Yankees OF Karim García was one of the best players in Korea for a few years, he never got a chance to play again in the majors. Jorge Cantú I think is having a good season over there, and mexican pitchers who do not have a lot of velocity but great offspeed pitches and a varied arsenal of pitches, have had good seasons in Korea; it could be that most of their league throws fastballs and to thrive, hitters nees to hit those fastballs but in the majors the average velocity is higher than in KBO, mix offspeed pitchers here and there and it is a harder league (unlike the minors where players who can only hit fastballs have success because there are more young inexperienced pitchers throwing hard to impress scouts but with less experience and command/control).

    Still… if the guy makes it to MLB and can hit 0.270 AVG / 0.360 OBP / 0.770 OPS with a mix of speed, a bit of power (10-15 HRs), and good defense, he could be a very good & constant player in the majors batting 6th or 7th, maybe even 3rd if his tools really do translate well.

    A fine defensive third baseman with above average batting, speed and power is gonna attract lots of suitors.

    • anxovies - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:38 PM

      Makes me think of Yankee pitcher Chien-Ming Wang, who was from Taiwan, and the sad circumstances where he was hurt running the bases. What a fine pitcher he was until he was injured. It shows that athletic talent and skill can come from anywhere.

  10. tfbuckfutter - Apr 27, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    If (when) the Dodgers sign him, Donald Sterling would love to rent him an apartment.

  11. beefytrout - Apr 27, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    Don’t be surprised if the Rangers jump into the fray. Established Asian presence and Beltre can’t play 3rd forever.

  12. renaado - Apr 27, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    Been watchin a ton of videos about this guy, based on my observation offensively he can really hit inside pitches with ease there especially breaking pitches where he can drive them to left field and center with tremendous power. The guy’s also a slap hitter when pitchers throw him outside pitches where he can take them the opposite way, defensively… he’s somewhat average or below the Major League category (probably cause the 1st Baseman’s there in that league can’t handle much bounders when the ball’s been thrown to em.) but still the guy’s has a tremendous throwin arm, not to mention he’s a pitcher back in High School there in his country. But I have no doubt this guy can definitely adjust well playin for a different country. He’s pride on aimin to become a role model for kids back there in South Korea is his number one motivation for himself to become a better athlete and becomin a better all around ballplayer.

    To any of you guys curious to know much more about the league there you can look some of the videos here in this site.

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