In this article, family names are written before first names for all Korean names.
It’s been confirmed! We have a new pitcher!
This is Chong Tae-Hyon (Hangul: 정대현). He’s from the KBO. He is amazing and you will love him.
Per Aerys Sports’ resident Korean Baseball Organization expert Tara Franey, who sent me this information upon learning that he was signed by Baltimore:
Chong Tae Hyon, who will be the first KBO player to move to MLB, is a right-handed relief pitcher who has played 11 seasons with the SK Wyverns of the KBO. Racking up 99 saves and 76 holds in that time, CTH is not the premier closer in Korea, but he might be best situated for moderate MLB success, as his low delivery is not particularly common in the majors right now. A sort of best plausible case is probably brief but notable success a la Hideki Okajima.
The stats from Korea are not comprehensive, but we do know that he has a reasonably low H/9, but he walks a lot of guys (3.27 BB/9) especially compared to the low number of strikeouts he has (7.08 K/9). His principle strength appears to be an extremely low HR rates. For the last three seasons, he’s allowed only one HR per season, for a 0.19 HR/9. Of course, KBO hitters are not generally keen sluggers, but keep in mind that Munhak Stadium, home field of the Wyverns is pretty tiny – at 393 ft in center field, it is much smaller than any MLB park.
Chong Tae Hyon has also had some experience with major league hitters in international competition. He appeared in the 2009 WBC in limited time against Japan and Venezuela (gave up a couple hits but no runs). He also appeared in the 2006 WBC – he struck out the side in an inning against Mexico, but allowed two runs against the US, and he picked up two saves in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
If you’re looking for a first glimpse of the newest member of the Orioles’ bullpen, there is some video, including this appearance against the Dodgers in the spring training games before the 2009 WBC:
You can also get a brief look at his delivery in this video:
He’s definitely a true submariner.
If you’re looking for him on the internet, Chong Tae-Hyon is the romanization of his name that he’s used in international formats, and so is pretty standard on the internet, but it could also appear as “Jung Dae-Hyun,” although there’s another pitcher in the KBO by that name. (Jeong Dae-Hyeon is the official standardized romanization.) The definitive Hangul version is 정대현 .
I don’t know about you, but I am extremely excited to see what he does over here. Besides, it’s clear that at the very least, he’ll be great fun to watch.
To celebrate a member of the KBO finally coming to America, here is my all-time favorite thing to ever come out of South Korea:
Special thanks to Tara Franey for her amazing amount of information on Chong and his pitching! What would I do without her?