Jun-Seok Shim was the Pirates’ big get from last off-season’s international deadline. Shim was projected as the top pitching prospect in the KBO’s draft. But instead of going to the KBO, Shim opted to take his talent to the United States and land a contract with an MLB team. That team was the Pirates.
Shim missed most of the 2023 season due to injury. He only pitched eight innings but struck out 13, walked three, and allowed one run, along with three earned runs. It was a solid, small sample size, but nothing you can make a concrete conclusion on.
Shim was considered the best South Korean high school prospect for a reason. The right-hander was hitting triple digits with his fastball at 18 years old. Although he can hit 100 MPH, Shim typically sits 94-97 MPH, which is still impressive for a kid who isn’t 20 yet.
Shim’s slider has the potential to be an above-average pitch, as does his curveball. His changeup needs some work, but it’s the only pitch in his arsenal that doesn’t look like it could become an above-average offering. Still, that’s four pitches he could rely on in the future.
Shim has a strongly built frame for a young player. He is listed at 6’2”, 215 pounds. He could add a few more pounds of muscle to his body by the time he reaches the big leagues. Shim also has good make-up, showing off athleticism on the mound, as well as good mechanics, which should help his command in the long run.
A good season by Shim may propel him into a borderline top-100 prospect. 2024 will be Shim’s age-20 season, so he should open the year at Low-A Bradenton. If he stays healthy and pitches a whole season, Shim will get a good chance to show off what he can do, and it should be enough to boost his prospect status significantly.