Korean star Jung-hoo Lee expected to be signed by MLB teams following the 2023 season

January 3, 2023

Even though the current offseason has six weeks left, it’s never too early to start planning for the following one. After the 2023 season, the Kiwoom Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization stated they would trade league MVP, Jung-hoo Lee to MLB teams. In May 2020, Lee was ranked among the top 10 KBO players.


The Heroes stated, “After internal talks, we agreed to honor the player’s intent to play in Major League Baseball. “We will offer the player whatever assistance is required.”


In the 144-game season in 2022, Lee, 24, batted.349/.421/.575 with 23 home runs and only 32 strikeouts. After being the first player in KBO history to enter the league right out of high school, he was crowned Rookie of the Year in 2017. With a lifetime batting average of.342/.407/.495 and more walks (334) than strikeouts (281) in six complete KBO seasons, Lee is primarily a center fielder.


Because of the team’s support when I was a rookie, Lee stated, “The team has assisted me in developing as a player, allowing me to start dreaming about playing abroad.” I’ll put my own goals on hold and focus solely on the upcoming season as I work to help the club win the Korean Series.


Lee is a phenomenal bat-to-ball hitter who swings with the left hand and is also starting to develop some power. According to source, Lee has one of the prettiest swings on the earth, and he excels at flattening his bat path to slam fastballs at the top of the zone.


Lee has the moniker “Grandson of the Wind” because Jong-beom Lee, a KBO celebrity in 1990s and 2000s, also went by “Son of the Wind” throughout his career. With 84 stolen bases, Lee the Elder maintains the KBO single-season record. At the time of his retirement in 2011, he was a former league MVP who was the second-most stolen bases in KBO history.


The current posting agreement between MLB and the KBO is the same as the posting deal between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball of Japan. The team that contracts after 30 days of discussions, Lee will pay Kiwoom a posting fee based on the value of the contract. After Kiwoom posts Lee, MLB teams have 30 days to negotiate and sign him.


A $16.775 million posting fee would be charged for a hypothetical $100 million contract. Given Lee’s experience (he turned 25 in August) and skill at a high-demand position, he should command a high price next offseason. The Los Angeles Dodgers granted left-handed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu a six-year, $36 million contract in December 2012, the richest contract ever given to a Korean athlete transitioning to MLB.


When Baseball America surveyed scouts in 2020 regarding their skill level in Asia, the consensus was that the KBO was between Double-A and Triple-A. NPB is the Japanese equivalent of Triple-A and MLB.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.