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Pirates Top 30 Prospects No. 13: The Enigmatic Jun-Seok Shim

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Jun-Seok Shim, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pirates prospects

This is one in a series of stories breaking down PBN’s Top 30 Pittsburgh Pirates prospects.

On Jan. 26, 2023, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed Korean pitcher Jun-Seok Shim. Shim signed with the Pirates as an 18-year-old for a signing bonus of $750,000. 

Shim could have gone into the KBO, but opted to come to the United States and play for the Pirates organization. At the time, Shim was regarded as one of the top international prospects. Shim was the tenth-ranked international prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

The youngster from Korea has been able to hit 100 mph with his fastball, but you will typically see him sit in the mid-90s. In addition, Shim offers a curveball, slider, and changeup. 

FanGraphs currently has Shim’s arsenal ranked as follows. 

Fastball- 55/60 fv

Slider- 20/55 fv 

Curveball- 45/50 fv

In addition, Shim’s command is rated 20/45. 

Unfortunately for Shim, he suffered some setbacks during the season with the Pirates, enduring some nagging injuries. As a result, Shim could only pitch in four games during the ’23 season.

All we have to go on is projections, but we did get a minor sample size at the end of the season with Shim. In four games, Shim carried a 3.38 ERA, an xFIP of 2.48, and an opposing batting average of .111 in eight innings pitched. 

All we can ask for next season with Shim is a healthy season and a much larger sample size to dive into. The Pirates have found some potential gems in the Asian market, and Shim has the potential to be the brightest one. 

One aspect that most young pitchers need help with is control. The part about Shim that needs to be clarified is his control.

One scout admires his “feel for the strike zone,” and then you have another mentioning control issues. In his eight innings of professional ball, Shim walked three. 

Barring an unhealthy season, we should see which report has more merit. Regardless it will be fun to keep up to date on the promising pitcher.

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