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Top Prospect Alert - Shin-Soo Choo

By Brian Brunk

Shin-Soo Choo: Despite not playing in the Minors at all during the 2000 season this young lefthanded bat entered the 2001 season as one of the most highly regarded prospects in the Mariners farm system. Choo, 18, was signed as a free agent out of South Korea in 2000 and is currently tearing the cover off the ball in the Rookie-level Arizona League. Through 177 ABs his numbers stand as follows: .311 BA with 47 Rs, 30 RBIs, 4 HRs and 11 SBs. Very Impressive. What catches my eye are his peripherals, such as the .436 OBP and .531 SLG, very impressive indeed for an 18 year old getting his first taste of American ball against the best the states have to offer. This young phenom could end up giving the Mariners one heck of a South Pacific punch in the OF with Ichiro in right and Choo manning center.

However, dont expect those two to be playing together anytime soon. At best, Choo could get a cup of coffee in 3 years. were talking late in the 2004 season and a lot of things can happen between now and then, not all of them good. Choo not only needs to adjust to the rigors of playing professional ball but he must also deal with the cultural adjustments that come with moving half way across the globe. That said, hes not totally alone in this new environment. Byung Kim, the current closer for the Diamondbacks, is also a Korean native and has been a supportive ear for the youngster Choo to call on.

So what lies in store for the youngster Choo? Id like to see the Mariners push him because I think he could be very special player. He could skip a level and go directly from Rookie-level ball this year and open up at high-A in 2002. Its still going to be a few years before Mariner fans will see this talented young OFer in Seattle but dont forget about him because as I said, he could be a very special player.


 

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