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I’m going to go on a little rant here for a minute.
I’ve read a lot about players from Japan or Korea or elsewhere and how they shouldn’t be considered for the Rookie of the Year award. The thinking behind this is that they played professionally in another countries highest league.
This is a load of crap.
Let’s take Hyun-jin Ryu for example. Ryu pitched in the KBO before making it to Los Angeles. While the KBO might be the highest league in Korea, its not as deep as the Pacific Coast League. There is a lot of talent in the KBO. But top to bottom, the talent doesn’t quite stack up to the Triple-A level as a whole. So why should someone who pitched in Triple-A for a few years be considered when Ryu shouldn’t?
That’s not a slight to the KBO or Ryu either. It’s a very good league and he’s a very good pitcher. And while I’d love to see him with the NL ROY there is a guy in Miami and perhaps a teammate of his that will have a thing to say about that.
The same goes with players from Japan or Cuba. While they might have played in the highest league in the land, it doesn’t quite always stack up to the leagues in the USA. Of course, Japan is as close to the big leagues as you can get in my opinion, its still not quite equal.
Luckily there aren’t many that make the argument but when I see it it drives me crazy. Now if we could only get people to realize that there is more than one country in Asia that plays baseball we’ll be all set. But that’s a story for another time.
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Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.