The Orioles have signed South Korean left-hander Jung-Hyun Yoon, the organization’s first signing in South Korea since last year’s failed signing of 17-year-old high-school pitcher Seong-Min Kim.
The 21-year-old Yoon most recently pitched collegiately at Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. The Orioles like his smooth delivery and the fact that he owns a solid curveball with significant upside.
Yoon will report to the Orioles spring training complex in Sarasota to begin working out and then be re-evaluated before being assigned within the minor league system.
Two offseasons ago, the Orioles signed Kim – regarded as the top left-handed high school prospect in South Korea – but the signing sparked outrage among the Korean Baseball Organization professional league and Korean Baseball Association governing body because the Orioles didn’t conduct a mandatory status check of Kim’s signing rights with the KBO.
The Orioles later apologized for an “unintentional breach of protocol,” but at one point, the KBA banned Orioles scouts from all high school and college games in the country. Since then, the Orioles hadn’t been active in signing players out of South Korea -- until Yoon.
In other international news, the Orioles have signed Italian-born shortstop Federico Castagnini, their 30th-round draft pick out of Creighton, but he still needs to receive his work visa before he can be assigned to a minor league affiliate.