Korean big leaguer rooted in ‘100 Miles of Dream’, anticipation of birth after 27 years
Park Chan-ho is the only Korean major leaguer to throw a 100 mph fastball.
On June 28, 1996 (Korean time), Park Chan-ho threw a 100-mile fastball at Coors Field, Denver, home of the Colorado Rockies. Coors Field is located at a height of 1,600m, so air resistance is low, so the pitcher’s pitch and batter’s batting speed are faster than in other places.
However, there is no data left to objectively prove Park Chan-ho’s arrest at the time. At that time, pitchers’ speed could be seen through the electric signboard with the number stamped on the speed gun at the baseball field.
It wasn’t until 2008 that a unified pitch and batted ball tracking system, or Statcast, appeared. According to Baseball Savant, which provides Statcast data, Park’s highest velocity during his last three seasons in the major leagues from 2008 to 2010 was 98.5 mph. It was a high fastball thrown against left-handed hitter Paul McAnulty in the bottom of the 5th inning against the San Diego Padres on June 13, 2008, when he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Statcast shows that during those days when he was active as a bullpen pitcher, Chan-ho Park’s fastball velocity consistently maintained in the late 90s.
After that, the Korean big leaguer who threw 100 miles did not appear. Although the velocity of major league pitchers has increased overall, the velocity of Korean pitchers has not been noticed at all.
However, a Korean pitcher looking at 100 miles soon signs a contract with a major league club. He is Deoksu High School right-hander Shim Jun-seok. He gave up last year’s KBO draft and declared a major league challenge early.
Signed with Super Agent Scott Boras. It is news that he will sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates as an ‘international amateur player’. His down payment is likely to be over $1 million. Shim Jun-seok has to sign a minor league contract according to the Korea-US player agreement, but he is expected to be on the mound in the major leagues someday. 스포츠토토
Shim Jun-seok drew attention by throwing the fastest 157km fastball in last year’s national championships. Converted to miles, it is 97.6 miles. He predicts that if he advances to the United States and gains strength and skills, he will be able to cover more than 100 miles. Park Chan-ho also reached 100 miles in the major leagues after throwing a 156 km (96.9 mile) fastball during his time at Hanyang University.
In the International Prospect section, Fangraphs said of Shim Jun-seok, “He’s a big right-handed pitcher with tremendous arm strength and occasionally throws fastballs in the high 90s. He said the mid-70s curve has a clear drop width and trajectory and he can develop into a traditional big-league level curveball.
MLB.com’s MLB Pipeline, which specializes in prospects, ranks Shim Jun-seok as the 10th overall international prospect and 1st pitcher this year, saying, “His fastball averages around 95 mph and can reach 100 mph.” He also has a curveball, slider and changeup, and he will turn 19 in April. He introduced, ‘It can be compared to Park Chan-ho, who left the big leagues at the end of 2010.
If Shim Jun-seok is promoted to the big leagues this year and throws 100 miles, it will be the first Korean 100-mile big leaguer since Park Chan-ho in 1996. Of course, we cannot guarantee promotion to the big leagues.
There are numerous 100-mile pitchers among Japanese professional baseball graduates. Shohei Ohtani threw a fastball of 101.4 mph against the Houston Astros last September, and had 40 balls over 100 mph. New York Mets Senda Godai and Oakland Athletics Shintaro Fujinami, who entered the major leagues this offseason, are confirmed to have already spread 100 miles. Rocky Sasaki, who will one day hit the major leagues, already throws a fastball that exceeds 100 miles.
According to Statcast, the average fastball velocity of major league pitchers last year was 93.9 mph. This season, it is expected to easily break through 94 miles. Fastballs are essential in the major leagues, where hitting with power is being strengthened. This is why Shim Jun-seok is in the limelight, hearing the nickname ‘the second Park Chan-ho’ from the local media.