Saturday, November 30, 2013

Choi Hyang-nam Scouting Report

According to reports out of Korea, Choi Hyang-nam of the KIA Tigers is aiming to come to the United States to play baseball. It wouldn't be the first time the right-handed reliever came to the States trying to pitch in the Majors, as he was famously posted for 101 dollars and pitched for the Dodgers AAA in 2009-2010 and Cleveland's AAA in 2006. He never made it to the Majors, but the now 42 year old (will turn 43 in Spring Training) had a very good year in AAA in 2006 as both a starter and a reliever, followed by a solid year in 2009 in relief, before struggling in 24.2 innings (despite not giving up a homer) in 2010.

In the Korea Baseball Organization, Choi has pitched for Haitai (who eventually turned into KIA in the KBO), LG, KIA, Lotte, and then KIA again after returning from the States from a second time. In 2013, he only threw 30.1 innings, and was above replacement in all three metrics, with FIP favoring him the most and ERA favoring him the least (meaning his strikeout/walks/homers was better than his runs per game average, and he allowed just one "unearned" run). He was less than half a run below KBO average according to runs per game, but that is also not adjusted for relievers, so he was most likely a little worse than that. In 2012, his numbers were a little better, but he threw just over 20 innings. The lack of innings and his age severely hurts his value. However, he was pretty efficient, getting an out every 5.52 pitches, about the same as Lee Jae-Hak

Bizarrely, Choi doesn't have a Naver Scouting Report. Here is a look at his delivery:

I couldn't find any high quality video of his time in AAA, but this is a sideview of what he looks like before releasing the ball

His finishing point in his delivery reminds me a lot of what you see in some Dominican pitchers or sinker ballers, landing hard on the front leg and firing his body forward, shoulders square to the plate. Alexi Ogando's delivery is an example, without as much movement at the first of delivery. He has a high release point for his height, and the overall motion is unique enough that it seems deceptive. At times, the motion looks like he isn't even trying

Here are the pitches I saw him throw in the 2013 season:
81-83 some sink, a little arm side movement
78-79 slider, mostly vertical
77-78 change, looks like the sinker with just a little bit taken off.

Choi struggled with everything staying up when I saw him. I saw him get his fastball up to about 85-86 in 2012. I did not see this velocity in 2013 outings.I also saw a curveball at about 72-74 in 2012 video, but did not see it in 2013 outings.

Ideally, Choi takes advantage of over aggressive hitters by slightly changing speeds and throwing pitches both in and out of the zone. It maybe a skill set that will still work for him in AAA, though returning to a hitter friendly park in the PCL like in Albuquerque would most likely lead to a lot of homers because of diminished stuff. If he didn't have the stuff for MLB teams (specifically Cleveland in 2006) in the past, he certainly doesn't now.

No comments:

Post a Comment