Tag Archive | "KBO"

New Tournament with South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan


There is a new tournament in town. Nippon Professional Baseball announced a new three-way tournament between Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. The national teams from each country will compete with one another this November 16-19 at the Tokyo Dome.

The teams will play a round-robin before the top two teams facing off with one another  in the final. It is being called the Asia Championship.

Players eligible for the tournament will be those under 24 and it is limited to players in their third year or less. Each team can also add three players that are over aged. The NPB is looking to help the young talent leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Currently the tournament is scheduled to be held this year and in 2021 in conjunction with the KBO and CBPL.

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Korea: Lee Dae-Ho returns to the Lotte Giants


SEOUL – Dae-ho Lee is returning to the Lotte Giants in South Korea. The former Seattle Mariners and Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks slugger has signed a 4-year contract with the Giants of the KBO.

Last season in 104 games with Seattle, Dae-ho blasted 14 home runs over 292 at bats while hitting .253. The 34-year old returns to Busan where he began his career playing 11 seasons and winning the 2010 KBO MVP with the Giants before heading to Japan.

He is a career .309 hitter in the KBO with 225 home runs, including 44 in 2010. He is a 2-time Japan Series champion (2014, 2015) with the Hawks and won the Japan Series MVP in 2015.

According to the Korea Times, his deal with Lotte is worth 15 billion won, $12.9 million, which is the largest contract for a free agent in KBO history.

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Korea: A Look at the Foreign Imports Part 2


A few days ago we looked at the foreign imports in the KBO for the Samsung Lions, Nexen Heroes, NC Dinos, LG Twins, and Lotte Giants. Today we will finish out the KBO by taking a look at the imports for the other five teams and where they have been previously.

So let’s get going. Here are the imports for the rest of the league and where they have been over the past few seasons either in the US or abroad.

KIA Tigers

Philip Humber – Humber might be one of the more recognizable names in the KBO, at least from a MLB stand point. He spent parts of eight seasons in the MLB with the Mets, Twins, Royals, White Sox, and Astros. He is remembered for a couple things. First, he was the third overall pick in the 2004 draft out of Rice University, where he pitched his team to the College World Series title in 2003, by the New York Mets. He made his MLB debut just two years later. However, perhaps what he is most remembered for is the fact he pitched the 21st perfect game in MLB history in 2012 while with the White Sox. He spent 2014 pitching mostly out of the bullpen for Triple-A Sacramento.

Brett Pill – A former San Francisco Giant, Pill has appeared in over 100 MLB games. He put up nice numbers in 2014 as a member of the Tigers hitting .309 with 19 home runs and 66 RBI. Look for him to improve on these numbers in 2015. He has the power, some speed, and will hit for average.

Josh Stinson – A tall right handed pitcher, Stinson spent a brief time with the Baltimore Orioles the past four seasons. While his MLB numbers are unimpressive, mainly due to his lack of game time, he has at times impressed in the minors. He can struggle with the walk at times, but he has the ability to be a nice addition to KIA.

Hanwha Eagles

Shane Youman – Youman is no stranger to the KBO having spent the past three seasons with Lotte. While his numbers have gotten progressively worse in the KBO, his ERA has risen from 2.55 to 5.93 over the three seasons, look for him to rebound this season in Daejeon if he can get back to his career numbers. Despite his high ERA last season he still won 12 games.

Mitch Talbot – Talbot returns to the KBO after having pitched with Samsung in 2012. That year he went 12-3 before returning to the USA. Most of his time since leaving the KBO has been spent in AAA with two different organizations. However, he has only pitched in 13 games over the past two years.

Nyjer Morgan – Another name that many know from the MLB, Morgan spent parts of seven seasons with different MLB clubs. Morgan spent 2013 in Japan with the Yokohama DeNA Baystars where he hit .294 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI. In 2014 he returned to the MLB with the Cleveland Indians but only appeared in 15 games. He has stolen 120 bases in the Major Leagues and should provide speed and solid outfield glove.

KT Wiz

Phil Irwin – The tall right handed pitcher was one of many that got a start for the Texas Rangers in 2014. He spent most of his time in 2014 in Triple-A. He strikes out nearly one an inning and walks only half of what he strikes out. If he can find his control he could have a nice year for the Wiz.

Andy Marte – Marte was once thought of as a big prospect for the Atlanta Braves where he started his MLB career in 2005 before being shipped off to Cleveland for Edgar Renteria. He played in parts of five seasons for the Indians, but never lived up to expectations. He has showed power at almost every stop though. Look for him to provide some big power and possibly hit for a nice average. He is a career .282 hitter in the minors and last season in Triple-A hit 19 home runs.

Chris Oxspring – Chris has seen playing time all over the world. He spent time in the MLB, NPB, KBO, and the ABL. The last two seasons he has spent with the Lotte Giants where he want a combined 23-15. If he can stay healthy, he will be 38 this year, he will put up good numbers for the Wiz.

Andy Sisco – Sisco spent the 2014 season in the Futures League in Korea with the Wiz. He has MLB experience and has put up good numbers in the past in the minors. He is not an overpowering pitcher and will strike out less than one an inning. In order to be effective he needs to find his control.

SK Wyverns

Merrill Kelly – The 26-year old right handed pitcher has no MLB experience. He spent most of the past two seasons with the Durham Bulls in Triple-A. He posted an impressive 9-4 record with a 2.76 ERA in 2014 for Durham. Over 114 innings he struck out 108 and walked only 37 in 2014.

Travis Banwart – Travis spent some time last season with the Wyverns pitching in 11 games. He put up great numbers over that time going 9-1 with an ERA of just 3.10. He has impressive minor league numbers and is only 29 years old.

Andrew Brown – Brown has 144 games at the MLB level where he hit 14 home runs but struggled with the average hitting just .220. He has been much more impressive in the minors posting a lifetime .286 average where he has showed power. In 2014 in 103 games at Triple-A, he hit 21 home runs.

Doosan Bears

Yunesky Maya – The former Washington Nationals pitcher is back for his second year in the KBO. Pitching for the Bears last season, Maya went 2-4 in 11 starts. He has some good minor league numbers and could provide Doosan with a solid starter through the season if he can find his control.

Zach Lutz -Lutz has some time with the New York Mets at the MLB level, but most of his time has been spent at the Triple-A level. He spent a few games in 2014 with the Rakuten Eagles in Japan where he hit five home runs in just 15 games. Most of the past few seasons he has spent at Triple-A where he put up good numbers and has a lifetime .295 average.

Dustin Nippert – The former Texas Rangers pitcher has found a home in the KBO where he has thrived. He arrived in Korea in 2011 and has not looked back. Over his four seasons with Doosan he has gone 52-27 with an ERA of 3.25. Last season he went 14-7. Look for him to continue his dominance of the KBO hitters.

Again if you haven’t done so, head on over to MyKBO.net and check out the daily happenings of the KBO. There is a lot of information there, and it is easily the best site for the KBO in English.

Also if you want to play the KBO in a simulation game, check out the Out of the Park Baseball 16. It’s the best sim game on the market and now features international leagues like the KBO. You can purchase the game below and help out our site a little bit.
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Korea: A Quick Look at the Foreign Imports in the KBO


The 2015 KBO season has kicked off in Korea. For the first time in the league’s history it features ten teams as the KT Wiz begin play this year. Once again the team to beat is four-time defending champion Samsung Lions.

As we kick off the season, we thought we would take a look at the foreign imports this year for each team. Many of the names you might recognize from the minors or MLB.

Samsung Lions

Alfredo Figaro – Figaro has had a cup of coffee with two MLB teams (DET/MIL) with most of his MLB experience coming in 2013 out of the bullpen pitching in 33 games. Overall he has put up solid numbers in the minors both as a starter and reliever.
Yamaico Navarro – Navarro had a big season last year with Samsung hitting .308 with 31 home runs, 96 RBI, and 25 stolen bases.
Tyler Cloyd – Cloyd pitched last season with Triple-A Columbus in the Cleveland minor leagues. He has a little bit of MLB experience, all with PHI in 2012 and 2013.

Nexen Heroes

Andy Van Hekken – Van Hekken had a great year last season with Nexen going 20-6. He is back for his fourth year with the Heroes.
Ryan Feierabend – A former 3rd round pick by Seattle, Ryan has a small bit of MLB experience. Most of it came early in his career with Seattle, but he was in six games last season with Texas. The left handed pitcher has over 230 minor league starts with success at different levels.
Brad Snyder – Another one that got in a few games for Texas in 2014, Snyder has very little MLB experience but he has put up good numbers at all levels of the minors and has a lot of AAA experience. He played in a few games last season with LG as well.

NC Dinos

Charles Shirek – This will be Charlie’s third year in the KBO, all with NC. He pitched well last year posting a 12-8 record.
Eric Thames – Eric had a huge year at the plate for NC last year hitting 37 home runs. It was easily his best season as a professional. He hit .343 with 121 RBI.
Eric Hacker – Hacker is back for his third straight year with NC. He improved last season to 8-8 after going 4-11 in his initial season although he posted a bit better ERA.

LG Twins

Lucas Harrell – Lucas pitched the past four season with the Houston Astros. He led the league in losses in 2013 with 17. His numbers in the minor leagues are much better but he is looking for a nice comeback year in 2015.
Henry Sosa – Sosa is not new to the KBO. He pitched for two season with Kia in 2012 and 2013. Then came back and pitched for awhile with Nexen in 2014.
Jack Hannahan – Jack has a lot of MLB experience with over 1800 plate appearances with Detroit, Oakland, Seattle, Cleveland, and most recently Cincinnati. He has never shown much pop in the bat (13 home runs in AAA is a high) and can struggle with the strike outs from time to time.

Lotte Giants

Jim Adduci – Jim had a few at bats with the Texas Rangers the last two seasons but has spent most of his career in the minor leagues. He has some speed (high of 35 stolen bases) and has shown some recent pop (16 home runs in 2013 with Triple-A Round Rock).
Brooks Raley – The big lefty hurler has a little time in the MLB with the Cubs, but little success. However, he doesn’t walk many batters and has posted 2+ SO/K ratios over several seasons.
Josh Lindblom – The former 2nd round pick has had some success in the MLB with Philadelphia and a few other teams. His best season in the MLB was 2012 when he pitched in 74 games for Philadelphia and the Dodgers posting a 3.55 ERA in relief. He has more relief experience and even some as a closer.

This is part one of two looking at the foreign imports for the KBO. Next time we will look at the players from KIA, Hanwha, KT, SK, and Doosan. Thanks to Dan over at MyKBO.net for the names of the players. If you haven’t done so, check out what he does over there for the most comprehensive coverage of the KBO in English anywhere.

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Korea: A Review of the 2014 KBO Season


The Samsung Lions claimed their fourth straight KBO title in 2014 defeating the Nexen Heroes in six games. The Lions pounded the Heroes in Game 6 to claim the Korean Series winning 11-1 to finish off the series.

The Heroes have made one of the biggest turnarounds in KBO history. Since joining the league in 2008 the Heroes have been a perennial doormat of the league. In 2013 the Heroes finally made the playoffs finishing the regular season in third place. This year they finished just a half game behind the eventual champion Lions for first place in the regular season.

The Lions are arguably the most successful team in KBO history. While they have not won the most titles (KIA has 10), they have made the championship seven more times than KIA finishing the runner up nine times.

The Lions were boosted by some solid years from their foreign imports. Rick van den Hurk had a great year on the mound going 13-4 with an ERA of just 3.18 in 25 starts. J.D. Martin didn’t fair as well but did a good job in the rotation going 9-6/4.78. However, perhaps the biggest impact came from infielder Yamaico Navarro who finished the season hitting .308 with 31 home runs, 96 RBI, and 25 stolen bases.

Some other names you may recognize that had big years in the KBO included:

Eric Thames (NC Dinos) hit .343 with 37 home runs and 121 RBI.

Jorge Cantu (Doosan Bears) hit .309 with 18 home runs and 72 RBI.

Felix Pie (Hanwha Eagles) hit .326 with 17 home runs and 92 RBI.

Travis Banwart (SK Wyverns) started 11 games going 9-1 with an ERA of just 3.11.

Dustin Nippert (Doosan Bears) went 14-7 with an ERA of 3.81 in 30 games.

Charles Shirek (NC Dinos) went 1208 with an ERA of 3.81 in 28 starts.

Henry Sosa (Nexen Heroes) went 10-2 in just 20 starts with an ERA of 4.61.

Andy Van Hekken (Nexen Heroes) went 20-6 in 31 starts posting an ERA of 3.51.

Another big surprise this season was the quick emergence of the NC Dinos. A year after finishing 20 games under .500, the Dinos finished in third place and made the playoffs in only their second year of play in the KBO.

Final Regular Season KBO Standings

1. Samsung Lions 78-47-3
2. Nexen Heroes 78-48-2
3. NC Dinos 70-57-1
4. LG Twins 62-64-2
5. SK Wyverns 61-65-2
6. Doosan Bears 59-68-1
7. Lotte Giants 58-69-1
8. KIA Tigers 54-74-0
9. Hanwha Eagles 49-77-2

Photo courtesy Yonhap

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Korea: KBO Makes Changes to Imports and Will Expand


There are a lot of changes going on in the Korean Baseball Organization that could really change the landscape of the game in the Land of the Morning Calm.

For years now there has been a limit of two foreign players for each team, and over the past few years all of these spots have been taken up by pitchers. However, the league has decided to expand the roster spots for foreign players to three beginning with the 2014 season.  The teams have quickly begun snapping up some former MLB talent to add to their rosters including some position players.

Already signed this off season has been infielder Jorge Cantu by the Doosan Bears, outfielder Felix Pie by the Hanwha Eagles, and infielder/DH Luke Scott by the SK Wyverns.

Another change deals with the foreign players as well as the league is lifting the salary cap on these imports. Previously players were maxed out at a level of $300,000 for a year. Many of the contracts were reported as $250,000 salary with a $50,000 signing bonus. Now that will be lifted and should bring in some bigger talent to the league.

This is the the third time the salary cap has been changed. Initially the cap was at $120,000. It was then raised to $200,000 in 1999 and to $300,000 in 2004.

The third and final change to take place will happen in 2015 when the league expands to 10 teams with the new KT Wiz take the field for the first time. The league currently sits at 9 teams after the NC Dinos joined in last season.

The Samsung Lions will look to defend the three straight titles won over the past few seasons in 2014, but with the addition of some new bats they will be challenged like never before.

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Korea: A Second Racist Incident in a Year for the KBO


Recently there was a racist cartoon published by a group of cartoonists under the pen name of Bounce Kim. The cartoon, published on the site Nate.com, was apart of a weekly series called “Fastball and Jokeball”, but there weren’t many that found it too funny.

The cartoon depicted Dominican pitcher Radhames Liz of the LG Twins being hounded by the Ku Klux Klan.

In a recent game, Liz hit Samsung Lions batter Bae Young-seop in the head which lead to Bae being taken off the field on a stretcher. Later in the inning, after striking out the side, Liz ended the inning with a little hop and fist pump after the last strikeout. Apparently that show of emotion was too much for these cartoonists.

This isn’t the first time there has been a racist incident this year in the KBO. Earlier in the year all-star Kim Tae-kyun apologized after making racist comments about American import Shane Youman who pitches for the Lotte Giants.

From the outside all of this makes the Korean people in general look very racists. And while racism exists in every part of the world, it is not the everyday way of life for Koreans.

Immediately after the cartoon was released, there was an outcry from Koreans that demanded some sort of discipline for the offenders. However, that was not the case as their employer, Nate.com, and the parent company SK Communications have said there will be no discipline taken in the matter.

The cartoon was taken down after only 30 minutes and Bounce Kim did release an apology saying:

“We didn’t have enough knowledge on the subject matter, and we were trying too hard to come up with something new and compelling. More than anything, we fully understand that this was borne out of our sheer stupidity.”

The LG Twins also expressed their desire for the situation not to get escalated and made no official comment on the matter.

Sheer stupidity or not, I don’t understand why the team could not issue a statement to back up its own player. A player who has been with the team since 2011.

You can see the cartoon below.

comic

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Korea: Teams Fight For Playoff Position in KBO


With just a few more weeks to go in the KBO season, the playoff races are still in full force. While the final four teams are almost set, the race for positioning between the teams is in full swing.

Currently the LG Twins lead the league (70-47) bu they are only 1.5 games up over the two-time defending champion Samsung Lions. The Twins are one win away from being secured a spot in the final four which would be the first time they have made the playoffs since 2002. That was also the last time the Twins had a winning record.

Currently in second place are the Samsung Lions (67-47-2). The two-time defending champs are looking to secure their spot once again at the top of the league’s standings.

However, the biggest surprise is the team that is currently in third place, the Nexen Heroes (65-49-2). The Heroes, while they have only been a team since 2008, have their first winning season in team history. So far their best finish has been 6th in 2009 and 2012.

The final playoff team for 2013 looks to be the Doosan Bears. If, or when, the Bears make the playoffs this year it will mark the eighth time in the past ten years they have played in the postseason. However, they haven’t won a title since 2001.

This is also the first season for the NC Dinos after playing last season in the Future’s League, the KBO version of minor league baseball. They have been respectable so far this  year and a lot of that goes to a foreign import, Charles Shirek.

Shirek, who hails from the University of Nebraska, was drafted in the 23rd round of the 2007 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox. However, he never did make it to the big leagues getting as far as Triple-A Charlotte in 2012.

After a solid year with the Charlotte Knights, Shirek made his way to Korea and the NC Dinos. So far he has been nothing short of spectacular. In 27 games this season, Shirek has pitched 176.2 innings. He has posted a nearly 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio (105/57) and a 2.39 ERA which leads the league. Perhaps the biggest key to his success has been keeping the ball in the yard. Through his 27 starts so far this year he has given up just five home runs.

KBO Standings:

1. LG Twins 70-47
2. Samsung Lions 67-47-2
3. Nexen Heroes 65-49-2
4. Doosan Bears 65-50-3
5. Lotte Giants 56-55-4
6. SK Wyverns 56-56-2
7. KIA Tigers 48-64-2
8. NC Dinos 48-67-4
9. Hanwha Eagles 37-77-1

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Korea: KT Announced as Owner of 10th KBO Franchise


The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) approved KT to be owner of the 10th team in the league on Thursday.

The company, one of the biggest telecommunication companies, was in a battle with construction firm Booyoung for the next franchise. KT has partnered with the city of Suwon, just outside of Seoul, to bring a team back to the city that once was home to the Hyundai Unicorns.

The two companies submitted bids that a committee went over recently to determine who would be the better fit for the league. The committee came back with more positives to say about the KT application.

The KBO will have nine teams this year making scheduling an issue after the NC Dinos are coming on as the 9th franchise in the league. The new KT team will play in the minor leagues, just as NC did this past season.

Suwon Baseball Stadium - South Korea

Suwon Baseball Stadium – South Korea

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Korea: SK Wyverns Sign Pitcher Jo Jo Reyes


Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that the Anaheim Angels have released pitcher Jo Jo Reyes so he can sign with the SK Wyverns of the KBO.

Reyes signed a free agent contract with Anaheim in mid November last year after spending the year in the minor leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

Reyes has had trouble at the Major League level going a combined 12-26 over 70 games in 5 years. He seems to have a problem finding the strike zone walking nearly 4 batters per 9 innings. However, in the minor leagues he has done much better.

In 58 games at the AAA level, Reyes is 16-10 with an ERA of 3.01. Last season with Indianapolis of the International League, Reyes went 6-2 in 17 games (9 starts) with an ERA of 2.67.

Reyes should fill the roll of a starter with the Wyverns as they look to collect their 4th Korea Series title.

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Korea: KT Takes Step Toward New KBO Franchise


KT took a big step forward in getting the 10th KBO team recently.

KT is locked in a battle with another Korean corporation Booyoung for the 10th franchise in the league. Both companies have applied for the franchise, but KT received more positive reviews from the 22 evaluators that looked over the applications this week.

Both companies are trying to bring a team back to an area where teams have failed in the past. KT has teamed with the city of Suwon where they would base their new team. Suwon was the former home of the Hyundai Unicorns. Booyoung is looking to bring the new franchise to Jeonju, North Jeolla Province where the Ssangbangwool Raiders were once located.

There are two sides to the argument of adding a 10th team. One side is looking for this to happen quickly. In 2013, there will be nine teams in the KBO creating scheduling problems. So in order to fix that, many people want to add the 10th team as soon as possible to even out the league and the schedule.

On the flip side of things are those who feel 10 teams will only dilute the talent pool in the KBO making the league suffer a bit in the long run. Right now the league is experiencing record attendance, but many fear if the talent is diluted too much it will drive away fans with the poor play.

Under the league’s rules, expansion is only possible with approval of at least two-thirds of the teams owners. Officials from the league have said they hope to finish the process in January.

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