The Los Angeles Dodgers made a splash on the international market this past August by coming to terms with top Korean pitching prospect Hyun-Seok Jang. The agreement was part of the 2022-2023 international signing period that ends on December 15.
Jang pitched at Masan Yongma High School in Changwon, South Korea, this year, going 3-0 with a minuscule 0.33 ERA and collected 49 strikeouts in 27.1 innings.
The 19-year-old also helped the Republic of Korea capture the gold medal during the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou in China that were held from September 23-October 8.
In South Korea, all able-bodied men ages 18-35 must serve in the army, navy or air force for 18-21 months. However, athletes who win a gold medal at the Asian Games are not required to serve.
So with the win, Jang and his teammates are now exempt from the mandatory military service. For Jang specifically, he will be able to begin his Minor League career with the Dodgers in the United States next year rather than delaying his path in professional baseball by more than a year.
The right-hander is listed at 6’4 and throws a fastball that touches 97 mph, in addition to a slider, sweeper, curveball and changeup.
Four Korean-born players have played for the Dodgers, beginning with Chan Ho Park in 1994. Hee-Seop Choi, Jae-Wong Seo and Hyun-Jin Ryu have also suited up for L.A.
The Dodgers will further add to their ties with South Korea by beginning the 2024 regular season in Seoul, for a matchup with the San Diego Padres. The Seoul Series is being played from March 20-21, 2023.
Hyun-Seok Jang was surprised to sign with the Dodgers
Jang, who bypassed the opportunity to enter the 2023 KBO Draft in favor of pursuing an MLB Draft, said during his introductory press conference that he was surprised to sign with the Dodgers.
Jang received a $900,000 signing bonus from L.A. and could be a fast-riser in their system. The Dodgers acquired bonus pool money in a trade with the Chicago White Sox that helped them sign Jang.
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!