Pittsburgh Pirates Internatioal Free Agent Target: RHP Jun-Seok Shim

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The Pittsburgh Pirates are the favorites to sign top international pitching prospect Jun-Seok Shim, so what could he bring to the organization?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have $5,825,500 to spend on international free agents this winter. One of the top international pitchers available is South Korean hurler Jun-Seok Shim. As of right now, the Pirates are the favorites to sign the right-hander, so what could he bring to the organization?

Shim opted to skip the Korean Baseball Organization draft (KBO), so he will head stateside. The hard-throwing right-hander stands at 6’4”, and 215 pounds. Not only does he have a strong stature, but Shim also has clean actions and motions. He’s also been praised for his athleticism on the mound. His delivery is quick, and he’s been compared to Chan-Ho Park.

Shim has topped out at 100 MPH with his fastball. He typically sits in the 94-97 MPH range, so he has plenty of velocity. His curveball is a second pitch that could be elite. It has a nice 12-6 shape to it, though he can be predictable with it, according to FanGraphs. Batters have picked up on it some, though there’s no massive flaw in the offering. 

Shim tosses a slider and a changeup along with his fastball and curveball. His fastball and curveball are his best offerings but don’t sleep on his change-up and slider. They both have the potential to be above-average pitches. Even better is that he’s displayed the ability to locate all four pitches.

Shim currently ranks as the 10th-best international prospect on MLB Pipeline. FanGraphs isn’t nearly as high on him, ranking him as the 40th-best international prospect. But keep in mind that FanGraphs’ list also includes players who have already played at a professional level (such as the KBO or NBP), while MLB Pipeline’s list does not and is mostly composed of players who are 18 or younger. Kodai Senga, for example, is ranked on FanGraphs’ list but not MLB Pipeline’s.

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Shim is one of the best young international pitchers available on the market. According to MLB Pipeline, he’s the second-best international pitcher. If and when the Pirates sign Shim, the soon-to-be 19-year-old would likely report to one of the Pirate affiliates in the Dominican Summer League or Florida Complex League at the start of the season.

However, he could potentially debut at Bradenton. Shim is an advanced young arm, and the Pittsburgh Pirates were willing to give highly-touted teens like Bubba Chandler and Anthony Solometo an extended look at Bradenton this year.