The LA Dodgers gave Jang Hyun-seok the number 18…grow up and become an ‘ace’
Jang Hyun-seok (19-Masan Yongmago), a highly touted prospect for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball, wears the number 18. The number, which has come to symbolize his future, was handpicked by Pacific Rim scouting director John Dibble. Dibble is a former Boston scout who helped bring Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to the big leagues. 메이저놀이터
The number 18 is the number of the “ace” in Japanese professional baseball. It is also the number worn by Japanese pitchers such as Hiroki Kuroda (formerly of the New York Yankees) and Hisashi Iwakuma (formerly of Seattle) when they reached the major leagues. The Dodgers gave Jang Hyun-seok this number in hopes that he would develop into an ace.
The Dodgers recognize Jang’s potential so much that they don’t waste a single number on him.
Jang is a 6-foot-3 right-handed “fireballer” with a fastball that can reach speeds in the low 150s. He also has a good mix of pitches, including a curveball, changeup, and slider. The Dodgers are confident that they will be able to maximize Jang’s development through the club’s developmental system.
“It’s no secret that the Dodgers are good at developing pitchers. The coaching staff is so good that no matter who they bring in, they can develop their skills,” he said, adding, “We have complete faith in their minor league development system, which will help Jang’s growth.”
Aside from being confident in Jang’s success, the Dodgers needed to be “decisive. The truth is, the Dodgers didn’t have the money to sign Jang. They had already exhausted their International Amateur Bonus Pool, which is subject to salary cap rules.
“I knew the Dodgers didn’t have any bonus pool money, so when they first approached me, I wondered if it was really possible,” said Jang’s agent, Lee Yerang of Rico Sports Agency. The Dodgers ended up signing Jang for $900,000 (approximately $1.19 billion), using the money they had freed up by trading two of their other top prospects.
The Dodgers are ready to fully support Jang at the club level. Dodgers President Andrew Friedman sent a congratulatory video to Jang’s introductory press conference, saying, “With his talent and the Dodgers’ coaching staff, he has a bright future ahead of him, and I look forward to seeing him pitch at Dodger Stadium.”
The Dodgers were also optimistic about Jang’s international experience after he was named to the Korean National Baseball Team for the Hangzhou Asian Games. “The Dodgers are committed to supporting Hyun-Seok Jang as he represents his country in international competition, including the Asian Games and the upcoming World Baseball Classic,” Dibble said.