Friday, November 9, 2012

Asia Series: Perth Heat and Lotte Giants

Here are some notes on the Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League and the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization, who played in the Asia Series earlier this week.

Corey Adamson is a 20 year old that was signed out of Australia by the Padres and has been in their system since 2009. He has made it to A-ball, but has really struggled offensively, not putting up good numbers at any level. Here is some video I took of him, and you will notice that he does not have a good swing:

 Adamson was fooled badly on breaking pitches and off-speed, chasing way out of the zone.

Adam Welker another LHB, is listed at just 5-11 looks taller than that. He was picked in the 44th round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2010. He has good build, but like Adamson, he really struggled with breaking pitches. In the minors, he has had some success, as the 24 year old had a OPS + of over 110 and wOBA + of 104 in AA this year. He hits a lot of ground-balls, but walks some and doesn't strike out a ton. He is not much of a runner, even though he played some centerfield this year.

Michael Ohlman was the catcher in the Orioles organization that was suspended for 50 games for using drugs of abuse (not PEDs). After being suspended, he went on to have his best offensive season of his minor league career. In the game, he had some pretty weak swings on outside pitches (it does make some sense to note that the KBO is a more advanced league than the lower minors). His plate discipline does seem to be an issue, especially on breaking pitches, but he does have good size and we will see if the increase in power was fluky or part of his development. He was picked in the 11th round by the Orioles out of high school in 2009 and has been mostly stuck in A-ball. 

Seung-Jun Song was signed by the Red Sox way back in 1999 for 800,000 dollars and was rated as the 60th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America in 2002. Song would never make it to the Majors though, as his good numbers in the lower levels did not quite translate to AA or AAA (where he was still okay, with ERAs just over 4). Since 2007, he has been pitching in his home country in the KBO for the Lotte Giants. In the game against Perth, Song hit 90.5 MPH and according to his scouting report, he can hit 92.38. You saw him break off the curve in the video above, and he showed he can throw it for strikes. Despite this, he had really spotty control, especially with the fastball. When he was on, he was locating well to the outside corner to lefties. Song has a good 81.22 MPH to 84.32 MPH slider with late break. He also showed off the forkball, which broke like a really nasty changeup. He really dominated the hitters with those three breaking pitches when he controlled them. His heat map kind of gives you that impression as well. He isn't afraid to live in the strike zone, and he also throws low forkballs and sliders:

You can see both why he was a prospect and why he failed as a prospect. The delivery is pretty messy and his landing point seemed inconsistent. It doesn't look like he has average MLB stuff, mainly because the fastball is fringy and he hasn't exactly been overly successful in Korea thanks to his command, which is a shame considering how good his breaking pitches can be when he is on.

I wrote last year that there were no KBO hitters that were MLB prospects, at least not statistically. However, here are a couple of scouting reports as we try to see if that is true scouting wise. 

Min Ho Kang:
Despite being a catcher, Kang was one of Lotte's best hitters this year with a .822 OPS. Here is some video of him hitting (Independent Leaguer Virgil Vasquez is the pitcher.):

That swing doesn't seem to be workable, as it is far too violent, uncontrolled, and long. His spray chart shows that he relies heavily on pulling the ball, and that is where all his power comes from:
Behind the plate, his receiving skills were pretty poor. I can't imagine you would want him back there ideally, probably making him a first baseman.

Sung Heon Hong is an outfielder with Lotte that also had some solid numbers.

 This is a cleaner swing than Kang's, but it is still really long. He has a pretty good eye, but I think there are a lot of offensive flaws to overcome for a guy who doesn't look like he has a lot of tools. His spray chart shows that he uses both sides of the fields pretty well and hits for power to all fields:


  1. You might want to do your homework...Michael Ohlman was suspended for a drug of abuse, not a PED as you state. You should also know that he failed two days after a serious roll over accident that occured during his non-roster invite with big league spring training and which was caused and cited to a lady who failed to yield. It left him with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He was undergoing physical therapy for 5 months before his first appearance. So, yes, he had an amazing season and was selected as the Orioles comeback player of the year.

  2. I am going to have to step in and agree with 'Anonymous.' Clint...can I call you Clint? You may want to do some more research before you publish blogs on a subject you obviously know very little about. Now, I understand you never had the athletic ability to pursue a career in baseball and I'm sure that eats away at you everyday...I get it. So this "blogging" as you call it, is the next best thing for you. Now, the Orioles did suspend got that part right. Yet, you are wrong about the drug...there is no report out there that says it was a PED. Clint, I know you love to believe that every professional baseball player cheats or does steroids because of the deep bitterness you feel towards the ones who succeeded. And again, I get it. So I don't need to go over what was already discussed above. But just to give you a briefing on what I know about the situation on a personal basis...Ohlman was in a traumatic car wreck that could have easily taken his life. So after the suspension incident and rehabbing a torn labrum, Ohlman came back and had a wonderful season. Not "ironically" due to any performance enhancing drugs. So Clint, I hope I inspired you to maybe step out from behind the computer in your parents basement and maybe pick up a different hobby, one other than being a wannabe sports analyst.

  3. Corrected.

    Also, Ad Hominin attacks are pretty hilarious (especially "step out from your mother's basement"), especially from anonymous commenters.

    But thanks for reading.