MLB has named Jung-hoo Lee (25, Kiwoom Heroes) and Eric Peddie (30, NC Dinos) as “players we could see in the major leagues soon.
Lee was ranked No. 13 on MLB.com’s list of the top 25 free agents for the 2023-2024 offseason.
On Wednesday, MLB recognized eight players who spent the 2023 season in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) and Nippon Professional Baseball as “big league ready.
Among the KBO players, native outfielder Lee Jung-hoo and foreign pitcher Pedi were highlighted.
MLB wrote, “Lee could be an intriguing option for major league teams in the Stove League. The relative dearth of quality hitters in the free-agent market this offseason has fueled interest in Lee,” said MLB.com. “However, Lee underwent ankle surgery during the offseason (to repair an anterior cruciate ligament, the membrane that wraps around the tendons in his left ankle), and some believe the timing of his posting (non-tender offer) is not ideal from a physical standpoint.”
Lee Jung-hoo is the best active KBO hitter.
Since turning pro in 2017, Lee has played in 884 games with a .340 batting average, 65 home runs, 515 RBI, 69 doubles, and an OPS of 0.898. This is the highest batting average of any player in the KBO with more than 3,000 plate appearances.
This season, he only played in 86 games due to an ankle injury. His projections for 2023 include a .318 batting average, six home runs, and 45 RBIs.
However, major league clubs remember what Lee looked like before his injury. In recent years, Lee has made a full recovery from his injury.
MLB.com cites Ender Inciarte, who won three consecutive Gold Gloves with the Atlanta Braves from 2016 to 2018, as his inspiration, saying, “Lee is sometimes called the ‘grandson of the wind.’ His father’s (LG Twins coach Lee Jong-beom) nickname is ‘Son of the Wind’.”
In 868 games in the big leagues, Inciarte has a .280 batting average, 42 home runs, 263 RBIs, and a .715 OPS.
“With the KBO still in the midst of the postseason, Lee won’t be posted for another two weeks,” MLB.com said, adding that the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, and San Francisco Giants are among the teams that could be interested in the talented outfielder.
On the same day, MLB.com also released its top 25 offseason free agents, with Lee ranked 13th.
MLB.com said, “Lee is the 2022 KBO Most Valuable Player. He batted .429 in the 2023 World Baseball Classic,” said MLB.com.
Pedi, who dominated on the mound in the KBO this year, is also expected to return to the big leagues next year.
“Merrill Kelly, who grew up in the KBO, was a key part of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ National League title run this year,” said MLB.com, “and major league officials predict that Peddie will return to the big leagues and break into the starting rotation.”
Peddy made his big league debut in 2017 and has pitched in 102 career major league games (88 starts) and 454⅓ innings, posting a 21-33 record with a 5.41 ERA.
He was the fifth starter on the 2019 team that won the World Series with the Washington Nationals. In 2022, he was again the fifth starter in Washington, but after going 6-13 with a 5.81 ERA, Peddy spent the 2023 season in the KBO.
This year, he went 20-6 with a 2.00 ERA and 209 strikeouts, leading the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts.
Several major league clubs took notice of his rebound and added him to their rosters for the 2024 season. 사설토토