The 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) will begin the second half of the season on April 15 after a short four-day break.
Two Korean big leaguers will start the second half of the season in the big leagues: Ha-seong Kim (27, San Diego Padres) and Ji-Man Choi (32, Pittsburgh Pirates).
Kim Ha-seong is expected to play against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies at 7:05 a.m. on July 15 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
In the first half, Kim batted .258 (71-for-275) with 10 home runs, 31 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases.
The home runs were close to his career high (11), and the stolen bases already surpassed his previous season high (12). His batting average is the best it’s been since he arrived in the big leagues.
His defense is even better. Kim ranks fifth in the majors with a 4.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in the first half, according to baseball stats site Baseball-Reference.com.
With such a strong position on the team, he has the potential to have a career-high season in 2023.
Choi struggled early in the season and was sidelined in mid-April with a torn left Achilles tendon.
After rehabbing, Choi returned to the big leagues on July 8 at the end of the first half.
Choi struggled in his first two games back, going 1-for-8, but he showed promise in the second half of the season, recording his first multi-hit game (two or more hits in a game) in 89 days with a home run against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks on July 10.
Choi’s overall numbers for the first half of the season are .159 (7-for-44) with three home runs and four RBIs in 12 games.
Choi, who is eligible for free agency after the 2023 season, will look to rebound in the second half.
Korean baseball fans await the return of the “Korean Monster,” Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto Blue Jays).
Ryu underwent ligament splicing surgery on his left elbow on June 19 last year and has been rehabbing for over a year.
“My goal is to return to the major leagues in July 2023,” he said shortly after the surgery.
So far, his rehab is going according to plan.
He pitched out of the bullpen in May, threw a live game in June, and threw in the minors in July.
After two successful minor league rehabilitation appearances, Ryu is expected to make two to three more live tests before deciding when to return to the big leagues. 안전놀이터
In 175 career big league games, Ryu has a 75-45 record with one save and a 3.27 ERA.
After being stopped for more than a year, Ryu’s win clock is starting to tick again in the second half.
Bae Ji-hwan, who has been on the disabled list (IL) for the past three days with a left ankle sprain, is also preparing to return to the big leagues.
Bae played in 76 games in the first half of the season, hitting .238 (51-for-214) with two home runs and 20 stolen bases.
Once back in the big leagues, Choo Shin-soo (now with the SSG Landers) will be on pace to break the record for most stolen bases in a season by a Korean big leaguer (22), which he accomplished with Cleveland in 2010.