[IS Eye] The Two-Year Moratorium on Going Abroad and Jang Hyun-seok’s MLB Challenge

Amateur baseball pitcher prospect Jang Hyun-seok (19, Masan Yongmago) has announced his entry into the Major League Baseball (MLB). Controversy over “sufficiency” is accelerating inside and outside the baseball community over him, who was selected for the final entry of the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) baseball team in September.

Jang Hyun-seok announced his position on the 1st through the management company Rico Sports Agency, saying, “I have determined my desire to challenge the world’s best stage (MLB).” The deadline for accepting participation in the 2024 꽁머니사이트 KBO rookie draft was August 15. Jang Hyun-seok was evaluated as the “newest fish” early on as a fireballer who throws a fastball in the 150km/h range. Although he was likely to be nominated as the No. 1 overall, he clearly expressed his intention to negotiate with the MLB club without submitting an application for participation in the draft.

Promising players’ overseas expansion is close to an annual event. Last year, Shim Joon-seok (graduated from Deoksu High School), the biggest pitcher, signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cho Won-bin (a graduate of Seoul Convention High School) is also wearing the St. Louis Cardinals uniform. Jang Hyun Suk has a slightly different texture. It is a sense of challenge to the world’s top stage, which deserves applause, but there are many question marks in that he is the representative of Hangzhou AG baseball.

Jang Hyun-suk was named in the Hangzhou AG baseball team’s final entry (24 players) announced in June. AG, which is given military service benefits when winning a gold medal, is a “dream competition” that professional baseball players want to play. AG baseball, where Japan and Taiwan do not transfer professional players, is one of the most promising gold medals for the national team to win four consecutive games. The final entry was set through a high competition rate, and Jang Hyun-seok was the only baseball player to be selected.

At the request of the Korea Baseball Softball Association, Jung Jae-bok (then Hanyang University), Jung Min-hyuk (then Yonsei University), Kim Myung-sung (then Chung-Ang University), and Hong Sung-moo (then Dong-ui University) wore the Taegeuk mark as amateurs in 2002. Jang Hyun Suk is the first high school student ever. Depending on the AG results, he could become the first high school player in history to sign a contract with an MLB club with military service benefits. This is where the controversy over the suitability of the national team arises.

Currently, the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) is systematically preventing reckless outflow of promising players. Article 107 [Special Cases for Foreign Players] of the KBO Regulations states, “A player who attends a high school or higher in Korea and has signed a player contract with a foreign professional club without registering as a Korean professional club player cannot sign a player contract with a KBO club for two years from the end of the player contract.” Players who challenge MLB have to wait at least two years to play in the KBO League, even if they organize their lives in the U.S.

Jang Hyun-suk, who skipped the draft, will also be subject to this clause if he signs with a big league team in the future. Critics point out that it does not make sense to provide military service benefits to players who violate special provisions related to overseas expansion. A professional baseball official said, “Isn’t the generational change of the baseball team declared by the KBO considered the KBO League first?” “The selection of Jang Hyun-suk is not in line with the purpose of the two-year grace clause for overseas players,” he pointed out.

The Hangzhou AG Technical Committee (then chairman Yeom Kyung-yeop), which was formed in February last year, discussed that even if an amateur player is selected for the final entry, the player should not have an intention to advance abroad. They agreed with the grand purpose that the great benefit of military service benefits should be used for the development of the league. However, due to the influence of COVID-19, the competition was postponed by one year and the existing policy was abolished as a new power reinforcement committee (Chairman Cho Gye-hyun) was established.

It was a scheduled step for Jang Hyun-suk, the largest fish in high school, to join the national team amid his move. Depending on the results, his baseball career is expected to run. An amateur baseball official asked back, “No matter how high school’s best player he is, he doesn’t play an ace role in the AG national team.”

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