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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Seung Song

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 6/29/80, Age: 22, Height: 6’1’’, Weight: 190, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Expos - Traded with Sun Kim and a PTBNL from the Red Sox on 7/30/02 for Cliff Floyd; Red Sox - Signed out of Korea in 1999. 2001 Stats: (Low-A - Augusta) 3-2, 2.04 ERA, 75 IP, 56 H, 3 HR, 18 BB, 79 K; (High-A - Sarasota) 5-2, 1.68 ERA, 48 IP, 28 H, 1 HR, 18 BB, 56 K. 2002 Stats: (AA - Trenton) 7-7, 4.39 ERA, 109 IP, 106 H, 11 HR, 37 BB, 116 K; (AA - Harrisburg) 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 5 H, 0 HR, 0 BB, 5 K.

Seung Song is probably the best thing that showed up in return for two, possibly three top-50 prospects and a brief flirtation with competitive relevance, which may say more about what happens when smart front offices know what you are planning than it does about Song’s ability. Song, a free agent signee from Korea back in 1999, is a solidly built right-hander who relies on both stuff and deception to succeed. Song’s best pitch is probably his tailing fastball, which he throws around 90 mph. The combination of the movement, moderate velocity, and Song’s deceptive delivery make his fastball a difficult pitch to strike cleanly. His curveball is nearly at the same level, and his changeup has improved immensely, although it has a similar tailing action to his fastball (the more variation in the style of pitches, the better…big league hitters are extremely adaptable creatures). It seems to me that, run scoring wise, Song got the short end of the stick last season, because his peripherals are quite good. His control is easily good enough for him to succeed, with a bit better than 3.0 K/BB last year, and he keeps the ball down reasonably well (0.9 HR/9). In short, Song has basically everything he needs to be a middle of the rotation starter in the majors. Unfortunately, he has already been shut down twice in three years: once for elbow soreness, and again last season for shoulder soreness. Injuries are just part of the projection for pitchers, and Song hasn’t reached 125 innings in a season yet. Until he can get through one season without shutting it down, I can’t give Song the credit that he may deserve.

A summation of the Expos’ Colon and Floyd experiments: Expos send Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Don Levinski, Carl Pavano, Graeme Lloyd, Justin Wayne, Lee Stevens, Mike Mordecai, and Jorge Nunez in return for Song, Sun-Woo Kim, Claudio Vargas, Tim Drew, Wilton Guerrero, Orlando Hernandez, Rocky Biddle, Jeff Liefer, and $3.5 million. Five top ten prospects for their organizations, Pavano, and some spare parts for two top ten prospects, a pitcher whose age is going to be in question permanently, two interesting mediocre players in Biddle and Liefer, and some other spare parts and a little cash. Oh, and for renting Colon and Floyd for about two months combined while MLB tried to figure out what to do with a team that, quite frankly, deserved better. If they had kept Colon and Floyd, they would have an excellent rotation and three middle-of-the-order threats to build around, which is enough to be moderately competitive with a little work. If they had done nothing, they would have a loaded farm system to either utilize or bargain with. Instead, they now have a bottom tier farm system and a mid-pack team with very little hope of retaining their own free agents as their contracts expire. In short, they are dead in the water, and with them, the hope of baseball surviving in Montreal is likely dead as well. The Expos still have a decent rotation, and a great offensive core to build around in Guerrero and Vidro. Behind the projected rotation of Vazquez, Armas, El Duque, Day, and Ohka, Song is probably the next worthwhile option in the system. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him show up in Montreal sometime in the second half of the season, health permitting of course. Song strikes me as a Ryan Dempster/John Burkett type of pitcher, with perhaps a bit more upside than that. In essence, if he can make it through the next few years healthy, he should be a serviceable #3 starter. The chances of good health are not great for him, but he is a pitcher, after all.


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