Baltimore Orioles Former Hyun Soo Kim Off to Good Start in KBO
The 2020 Baltimore Orioles are sitting idle as we all wait for news on whether or not any MLB games will be played.
But over in South Korea, Hyun Soo Kim, former Baltimore Orioles outfielder, has had success in his first three games.
Kim played for two seasons in the MLB. He played all of 2016 with the Orioles, but in 2017 they traded him in July to the Phillies for Jeremy Hellickson. While Kim was a big deal in the KBO, he didn’t quite pan out as expected in the MLB.
When the O’s signed him in late 2015, he was a KBO batting champ and had multiple fielding awards, all with the Doosan Bears. In South Korea, he was considered to be the Cal Ripken Jr.of the Bears. His best season in Doosan was 2015, when he hit .326/.444/.541 with 26 home runs and 121 RBI. He walked 101 times and struck out only 63 times in 630 plate appearances. It’s easy to see why anyone would want a player who could do that.
The O’s signed him for $7 million, hoping to benefit from his left-handed bat and defensive ability. It wasn’t that Kim wasn’t a good player in 2016 or 2017. He just didn’t deliver in the way that the O’s had expected. In his rookie season (at age 28), he hit .302/.382/.420 with 6 home runs and 22 RBI. But he only had 246 plate appearances.
After his two years with the MLB, he returned to South Korea and has kept up his run of success. He is consistent at the plate, and is continuing this in the 2020 season. So far, the slugger has gotten on base in his first three games and is batting .417.
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He’s not the only former Oriole playing in the KBO. Dan Straily pitched for the Orioles in 2019. Now, he’s with the Lotte Giants and has had one start earning himself an ERA of 3.18 with a WHIP of 1.06. The Giants defeated the KT Wiz 7-2 under Straily’s start.
Aaron Brooks is another former O’s pitcher who is seeing time in the KBO. He plays for the Kia Tigers and had his first start on May 6. He had a good outing against the Kiwoom Heroes, striking out six and giving up one run. The Tigers lost to the Heroes 3-2.
One more former O’s pitcher who is worth watching in the KBO is Odrisamer Despaigne. In the MLB, he played for five teams, including the O’s for some of 2016. His career ERA in the MLB is a head-shaking 5.11. But, in the KBO for the KT Wiz, he shines. He faced Straily on May 5, and his first start, Despaigne pitched six innings striking out eight and giving up one run. His team lost, but not because of his pitching.
Baseball is out there, but if you want to see it, you either have to wake up (or stay up) to see it in the early morning hours. Or, record it and watch it later.