When I woke up, I became a teammate of Shohei Ohtani (29) of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lee Jung-hoo (25) of the San Francisco Giants has also become a rival team player. Jang Hyun-suk (19), who is about to enter the U.S., said, “I am puzzled by all this.
Last summer, Jang signed a contract with the U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB) Dodgers for a down payment of 900,000 U.S. dollars. Jang Hyun-suk, a right-handed orthodox pitcher born in 2004, drew attention from MLB scouts early on by throwing fastballs in the mid 150km/h range that come out of excellent physical conditions (1m90cm tall and 90kg weight). Jang, who was agonizing over advancing to the KBO League and the U.S. early, decided to cross the Pacific.
Jang is going through a fierce winter season. He is sweating profusely while training according to weight training programs prepared by Dodgers. He is also studying English under the supervision of domestic agency Ricoh Sports. He is given only two hours of personal time due to his hard work that lasts from morning to late evening. However, such a schedule is not difficult considering the excitement of life in the U.S.월카지노
In the midst of such a hectic schedule, Jang got the good news. Last month, the Dodgers signed a mega free agent contract with Ohtani worth 700 million U.S. dollars for a 10-year contract. At the Dodgers joining ceremony, Jang said, “Otani is the second Asian player I respect after Yu Darvish (San Diego Padres),” but his idol became a teammate overnight.
A few days later, pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, 25, also joined the Dodgers. Yamamoto became the first player in the Japanese professional baseball (NPB) to win four consecutive awards including multiple wins, ERA, strikeouts and winning percentage for three consecutive years by throwing fastballs measuring up to 160 kilometers per hour. Japan’s two best pitchers became teammates at once.
“At first, I thought, ‘What is this?'” Jang said with a smile. “It feels weird to think that I’m actually seeing players I’ve only seen through video clips. I’m excited because I’m a player that I really missed and liked (Ohtani),” he said. “As a pitcher, I’m sure you want to see and learn everything from players who left impressive mark in MLB and NPB. “It would be nice to meet them at spring camp, but I’m a minor leaguer, so I won’t be able to meet them for a while. I’m going to try to find something to learn (from Ohtani) after adapting myself to this place first.”
While I was having fun imagining meeting Ohtani, I heard that even Lee Jung-hoo built a nest in the same team in the West Division of the National League (NL). Lee Jung-hoo signed a six-year contract with the San Francisco Giants, a longtime rival of the Dodgers, worth a total of 113 million U.S. dollars. Expectations are high for a showdown between Jang and Lee Jung-hoo. “If we face off each other, I will throw my all to win the Dodgers,” Jang said, imagining his meeting with Lee Jung-hoo.
Jang Hyunsuk’s number 18, Yamamoto’s number 18
All this is a sweet imagination when Jang moved to the Major League after landing in the Minor League. Jang is realistic. “I’m looking forward to the day when I take the mound at Dodger Stadium (home of the Dodgers),” he said. “I gave up my expectations for a while to be on the big league stage as soon as possible. I’ll make up my mind and adjust little by little to my pace.”
When Yamamoto joined the Dodgers on April 28, he wore Jang Hyun-suk’s jersey number (No. 18). When Jang joined the team last summer, he wore No. 18, but he handed over his jersey number to Yamamoto, who had worn No. 18 since he was an NPB player. When Jang joined the team, John Deeble, the scouting director for the Pacific region, once said, “The best players in Asia always wore No. 18. I thought it would be good for Jang to wear No. 18 along with them, so I put it on my uniform.” However, a few months later, I gave up Yamamoto’s jersey number.
However, Jang didn’t care. “It wasn’t even my number in the first place,” he said. “No. 18 was not my official uniform number, and it’s just the number that the club gave me, saying it was a number that many Asian players wore,” he said. “I’m a player who has to start from the minor leagues. I’m glad that I can adjust comfortably if I play with the mindset that I don’t have my number.” “Since it’s my first season in the U.S., I’ll bump into each other more and experience more,” he added.
Jang’s dream is to become like Park Chan-ho and Ryu Hyun-jin, Korean legends of the Dodgers. “My dream is to become a player who comes to mind when it comes to Dodgers like my predecessors,” Jang said. “I want to be a one-club man since Dodgers is most familiar to Korean players and my first professional team. I will become a pitcher who can continue the legacy of Park Chan-ho and Ryu Hyun-jin.”
Jang Hyun-suk, who received military service benefits from the Asian Games gold medal, will enter a training center on January 2 and undergo basic military training. After returning from his military service, he will do volunteer work and leave for the U.S. to begin his big league career.