Baseball America (BA) is an American baseball magazine that has been covering amateur or minor league prospects for over 40 years. It regularly sheds light on players who will enter the Major League (MLB) draft and announces the rankings of minor league prospects. The ranking of minor league prospects handled by BA boasts such high public confidence that it is evaluated as the future of MLB clubs.
BA’s public confidence was also proven through the 2009 World Baseball Classic (WBC) prospect rankings 14 years ago. At the time, BA announced a prospect ranking based on the players who competed in the WBC at the time the 2009 WBC was concluded. There were 9 Japanese players, 4 Korean players, and 7 Cuban players in the top 20, and most of them have since entered the MLB.
The highest-ranked Korean player was Ryu Hyun-jin, who ranked fifth. Following Ryu Hyun-jin, Kim Gwang-hyun was in 9th place, followed by Yoon Seok-min in 18th place and Kim Hyun-soo in 19th place. In fact, Ryu Hyun-jin signed with the MLB club in 2013, Yoon Seok-min in 2014, and Kim Hyun-soo in 2016. Kim Gwang-hyun also successfully entered the MLB wearing a St. Louis uniform in 2020. 먹튀검증
After 14 years, BA has released their rankings again ahead of the 2023 WBC. Three Korean players rose to 10th place: Lee Jeong-hoo (4th place), Kang Baek-ho (7th place), and Kim Hye-seong (9th place). Of the three, only one, Lee Jung-hoo, is likely to advance to the MLB next year, but it is clear that all three are receiving attention from MLB scouts.
In fact, a number of MLB scouts gathered at the Tucsonkino Complex in Arizona, USA, where the Korean WBC team trained, and recorded their every move. Prior to the WBC camp, San Francisco, LA Dodgers, and Boston scouts looked at Lee Jung-hoo, Kim Hye-seong, and Ahn Woo-jin at the Kiwoom camp.
The one who is receiving the most attention is Lee Jung-hoo, who confirmed his MLB move after the 2023 season. BA evaluated Lee Jung-hoo as “he can become a center fielder who can start every day in MLB.” ESPN renowned reporter Jeff Bankan also predicted, “After the 2023 season, Shohei Ohtani, Teoscar Hernandez, Ian Happ, Matt Chapman, and Lee Jung-hoo as wild cards can be cited as the best hitters in the free agent market.”
Korean baseball won the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2009 WBC runner-up thanks to the international stage performances of Ryu Hyun-jin, Kim Gwang-hyun, and Kim Hyun-soo, who were rookies. The good performance on the international stage led to the KBO League box office explosion, and the 21st century Korean baseball renaissance era opened. And the Beijing Kids, who were elementary school students at the time, such as Lee Jung-hoo, Kang Baek-ho, and Kim Hye-seong, followed their seniors and stared at the WBC and MLB stage.
BA will update its report at the conclusion of the 2023 WBC. In addition to Lee Jeong-hoo, Kang Baek-ho, and Kim Hye-seong, Ko Woo-seok and Jung Woo-young are also being scouted for this WBC team. After about a month, attention is focused on whether the BA report will remain as another legend.