Monday, July 22, 2013

Notes from the KBO All-Star Game

The Korea Baseball Organization's All-star game was last week, so I thought it was a good way to get a look at some of the better players in the league, and took some short scouting notes on many of the players in the game.

These aren't notes on everyone that played in the game, but a good number of them. I tried not to focus too much on "foreign" pitchers as they are somewhat known commodities. The broadcast strangely didn't have pitch velocities so I gathered them from Naver's scouting reports. They don't have reports on everyone though, so if there are no velocities are in parenthesis, then there is no available data. Naver also uses large MPH ranges, which should be kept in mind. I also inserted the players' WAA according to my formula next to the player, but I used runs  instead of wins to avoid a lot of decimal points in the post (I also rounded to full numbers), and for position players I only looked at offense. For pitchers, I just used the ERA RAA.

Radhames Liz (9 RAA) of the LG Twins is a foreign pitcher that I think can find a home in a MLB bullpen with his fastball, threw a lot of breaking balls (79-88 on slider, 74-81 on curve) despite his elite fastball (88 MPH to 100 MPH). He didn't get them down real well, and gave up quite a bit of fly-balls.

Right-handed pitcher from Lotte Giants Song Seung-jun (-6 RAA) is somewhat 
short and stocky, listed at about 6 feet 235 pounds. His curve (69 MPH to 79 MPH)
had some serious command problems and there was not a lot of life on his
 fastballs (81 MPH to 92 MPH). It does tail arm side, and he tries to use the back
 door corner against lefties and would also throw the slider (75 MPH to 84 MPH)
 in to lefties. The curve was more to right-handers, and he would elevate more of a
 4-seam fastball to righties, though he would still throw the more 2-seam fastball 
(81 MPH to 90 MPH) to righties as well.


Jung Sung-hoon, the LG Twins (9 RAA) 3rd baseman, seemed solid defensively. He
showed some good athleticism, could block balls in front of him, and could go get 
balls, though he botched a really easy play. He had a really strong arm.

Lee Jin-young LG Twins (10 RAA), is lanky and thin. He's got a lot to his swing,

swings really hard, and was fooled badly on a breaking ball. Lee does stay back
on high pitches well and can drive them up the middle. 

Lee Byung-kyu, also of the LG Twins (16 RAA), has an upright stance, good bat 
speed, and a pretty short stroke, causing him to handle up and in pitches well.
The plate discipline seems to be lacking but he's got good contact skills.

Kim Yong-yi, of the LG Twins (-1 RAA), is pretty thin, but he can pull the ball with 

power, especially on balls up. He holds bat high, with not an extremely quick
swing, so it seems that you can bust him in.

Son Joo-in (-2 RAA) is thicker than a lot of his LG Twins teammates, but he has a

mostly other way stoke. 

I liked Jeon Jun-woo (4 RAA) of the Lotte Giants, especially his bat control.
He showed some raw power to the pull side, with good size, and a little bit of 
speed as well. 

Lee Seung-yeop (-1 RAA) of the Samsung Lions appears to be a low ball hitter,

keeping the bat well away from body. He swings a lot, showing pretty good bat 
control and contact, but his plate discipline is lacking, and you can get him to 
ground out on breaking balls.

Kim Hyun-soo (12 RAA) of the Doosan Bears is a massive left-handed hitter. The

 bat isn't fast, but he will change his swing to where the ball is pitched. This seems 
to hurt him as he will swing at pitches he shouldn't. I thought Kim moved okay for
 size, especially out in right field where he played defensively.

Kim Dae-woo (3 RAA) is a good sized Lotte Giants left-handed hitter. I am not in 

love with the swing, more of a contact pull swing, really robbing him of power. 
Kim does run pretty well. 

Shin Bon-ki (-6 RAA) of the Lotte Giants has a good contact tool, and pulled a low
pitch well. Unfortunately, he clearly has no speed.

Kim Tae-goon (-5 RAA) is the NC Dinos catcher. Sort of a bad body type player, 
and his swing wasn't great either.

Park Byung-ho (29 RAA) of Nexen has size and raw power that you have to like,

but his swing angle may cut into his ability to hit the ball in the air with authority
on a consistent basis against better competition.

Lee Jae-hak (5 RAA) of the NC Dinos is a young right-handed pitcher who throws 

a lot of 2-seamers away. There is a lot of pause and movement in his mechanics 
and in the game, his control was really off. Lee slings his arm at end of his 
delivery and creates a somewhat low arm angle along with a strange body position.
The slingshot action gives him good movement, but the ability to repeat and 
command has to be a question. He was really just throwing the same pitch over
 and over again, but the movement and location made it a little hard to tell where 
it was going. It is most likely a contact pitch and not a whiff pitch, so high is not a
 good location for it. Lee can occasionally take a little off for what looks like some
 kind of changeup, though he would throw it with the platoon advantage.

Kang Yoon-gu (3 RAA) is a Nexen Heros LHP that moves his fastball (86-94) all 

around and out of the zone. It seemed to me that there were two different fastballs,
 as he could move a 2-seamer low in the zone (Naver does not list a two seamer).
 His changeup (75-85) fooled Lotte's Kang Min-ho (-1 RAA), but he never really got 
it low. If he fooled anyone with it, it was just because of speed differential, not 
movement or location. The curveball (64-77) also looked mediocre in both 
movement and velocity.

Kim Sung-bae (4 RAA) is a Lotte Giants RHP with a low arm slot, basically a side 

arm guy. He has a straight down type slider (75-81), though it looks like he is just 
taking some velocity off the fastball and the ball dips a little bit lower. It could be a
 changeup, though he throws it with the platoon advantage. Against lefties, he 
threw arm side off-speed pitches and fastballs (78-89) low and in.

Hong Sang-sam (7 RAA) is a 23 year old Doosan RHP with quite a bit of deception.
It starts with a little bit of a hip turn to the plate, with a slow delivery that must 
drive hitters bananas. His body looks like it is going to come forward, but he stops
it almost mid motion to get his legs going forward before he delivers the ball at a
pretty high 3/4ths angle. He really liked his curveball (68-79), which appeared to be
a really nice pitch with some really good vertical drop. He gets on top of the fastball
86-93), giving it some downward plane, but for the most part, the pitch did not look 
impressive. The changeup (Naver calls it a fork instead of a change, 78-86) is
clearly a work in progress, as it also has vertical movement, and he will throw it to
lefties, but he was having some problems getting it down. 

Kim Hyuk-min (-20 RAA), the Hanwha Eagles RHP, is sort of thin, though too old to 

really expect to add weight. He uses a high leg kick and a mid glove set in his 
delivery to create a little deception. The fastball (87-95) might have a little tail on it
and he seems to get on top of it reasonably well. The breaking ball (slider, 76-87) 
was rare and had real command issues.

Oh Hyun-taek (8 RAA) is a Doosan sidearmer RHP with a classic slurvy breaking

 ball that he used heavily. Hiding the ball with a little bit of a leg kick in his delivery,
 he uses a two seam fastball on the outside part of the plate when he has to face 
lefties.

Song Chang-sik (-1 RAA) is a hefty RHP for Hanwha that showed off a really 

good split/fork, and also seemed to have a separate change that was less 
impressive. His pitching philosophy seemed to be soft, soft, and softer. I thought 
this pitch selection might make him a reverse split pitcher, and so far this year,
lefties have a much higher average against him, but he has a better K/BB against
lefties as well.



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