The Pittsburgh Pirates were considered the early favorites to sign one of the top international pitching prospects. It appears there is a deal in place.
One thing that certainly has changed under Ben Cherington and his Front Office regime, has been the aggressiveness on the International Free Agent Market. The Pittsburgh Pirates signed two of the top 25 best prospects in last year's international class in Yordany De Los Santos and Tony Blanco Jr. Two of the highest-rated International prospect signings in team history.
This year it looks like the Front Office of the Pittsburgh Pirates will be adding another big-time International prospect. A few weeks ago it was projected by FanGraphs that the Pittsburgh Pirates were the favorite to sign South Korean pitching prospect Jun-Seok Shim. This was later followed up with a report that they were the favorite but there were at least two other teams involved with him.
Well, it appears the 6'4'' right-handed pitcher has made up his mind. According to Daniel Kim, a Korean Baseball League insider, Jun-Seok Shim will indeed be signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kim announced the news on his Twitter:
The 18-year-old pitching prospect has a fastball that already sits in the upper 90s and the makeup of a pitcher who could move quickly through the system. He is physically mature standing at 6'4'' and already weighing 215 pounds. He is currently ranked as the #10 prospect on MLB Pipelines' Top International Prospect list for 2023. Here is a little more on the projected Pittsburgh Pirates signing:
" "Shim pitch makes a case that he is the best arm in this year’s international class. What’s not to like? He throws a fastball that tops out at 100 mph and consistently sits in the 94-96 range. He features a true 12-6 curveball and shows good command of all of his pitches. What’s more, the big and strong-bodied Shim has been praised for his clean arm action and his athleticism.""- MLB Pipeline
Another note is that Shim was expected to be the top selection in the KBO amateur Draft, however, he decided to forgo that process to join a Major League Baseball team sooner. Looks like the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to benefit from that. This is a big-time pickup for a team that needs to continue to bring in prospect talent.