“I’m not young, but I’m not a lot either.”

After a year of stagnation, Los Angeles Dodgers right-handed pitching prospect Hyun-il Choi, 23, hasn’t given up.

Choi is finishing up the season with the high Single-A Great Lakes Runes.

Despite a slightly delayed start to the season and a stint on the disabled list with a strained biceps midway through, Choi finished with a 4-5 record with a 3.75 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, six home runs, 12 walks, and 46 strikeouts in 60 innings over 16 games.

“There were a lot of ups and downs,” he said of the season when we caught up with him at Doe Diamond in Midland, Michigan on Saturday (June 16) for Game 3 of the Midwest League Division Series.

“I’d have one really good game, then one really bad game, then one good game, then one bad game, and so on. But I was fortunate to throw over 60 innings for the first time since I got hurt.”

Choi posted a 3.55 ERA in 106 1/3 innings between Single-A and High Single-A in 2021, earning the Branch Rickey Award, which is given to the Dodgers’ top prospect.

But he hit an unexpected reef in 2022. He started the season strong as the Opening Day starter at high Single-A, but was sidelined with an injury after his first appearance.

“It wasn’t a muscle tear or anything like that. It wasn’t a big injury, but the pain was still there, so I put it off and put it off, and it cost me the season.”

With his season lost to rehab, he made up for lost innings in the Arizona Fall League after the season ended. In nine games, he pitched 13 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits with eight walks and eight strikeouts. He’s gotten some tough experience against some of the top prospects in the game.

“It’s an excuse, but I got the coronavirus right before I went to Arizona. When I think about it now, I wonder what would have happened if I had been in good shape. I didn’t throw well in the first few games, and then I threw well at the end, so it was a good experience to think, ‘I can compete even when I’m not feeling this good, and anything is possible when I’m in good shape’.”

According to the plan, the 2023 season would have been spent in Double-A, but life doesn’t always go according to plan. It’s just unfortunate that the injury set him back a year.

“It is what it is. There’s no point in regretting it,” he said, adding, “My season was canceled due to COVID-19 in 2020 and I didn’t play at all in 2022, so this was actually my third season. I just need to finish well here and do well next year. I’m not young, but I’m not old either,” he said, showing a positive attitude.

The up-and-coming talent on the team is always a big motivator for him. He cites left-hander Justin Robleski, who pitched 102 1/3 innings in 25 games this season with a 2.90 ERA, 35 walks and 109 strikeouts, as the most impressive player on the team.

“He’s got six pitches and his fastball sits up to 98 mph. I think we’ll see him with the Dodgers soon, and I think competing against guys like that keeps me getting better.”

He said he doesn’t yet know which team he’ll be playing for in 2024, but he plans to focus more on strength training, saying, “I think if I strengthen my strength, my velocity will increase.”

The Dodgers have a long history with Korean players. In 2024, another Korean will don a Dodger uniform. Jang Hyun-seok, who signed as an amateur free agent. He is ranked as the 21st best Dodgers prospect by MLB.com, even though he has yet to appear in an official game.

“We have the same Korean management company,” Choi said. The national team contacted me and said, ‘Take care of me,’ so I replied, ‘Don’t worry,'” he said.먹튀검증

“I think he’s better at baseball than I am,” he said with humility, revealing that they hadn’t met in person, but had been in touch online shortly after the news of the signing, “but if I can help him with his life in the U.S. and things like that, I think I can play a senior role. I know a lot of people, so I can help him get to know them,” he said, expressing his willingness to help his junior adjust to the local environment.

“We won’t be playing on the same team because of the age difference and the different levels. Nevertheless, sharing a spring training camp can be beneficial. “It would be nice to help him during the spring camp and speak Korean in between. If I had that opportunity, I think it would be easier for me to adjust to life here,” he said, reiterating his willingness to lend a helping hand “as someone who is chasing the same dream.”

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