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Report: Pirates ‘in running’ for top international free agent

The 18-year-old Korean free agent is the 10th international prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

Teller Report

The Pittsburgh Pirates could land one of the top international free agents, according to recent reports.

In a tweet Thursday morning, insider Sung Min Kim announced that the Pirates and two other teams are “in running” for 18-year-old Jun-Seok Shim, an international free agent pitcher from Korea.

Shim is the top Korean free agent, according to MLB Pipeline’s international prospect rankings for 2023. He also ranks 10th overall on the list, joining Cuba’s Luis Morales as the only two pitchers in the Top 10.

The young right-handed pitcher stands in at six feet, four inches and weighs 215 pounds, and is compared to a young Chan Ho Park.

Shim features a four-pitch mix consisting of a four-seam fastball, 12-6 curveball, changeup, and slider. His fastball, graded a 60 by MLB Pipeline, tops out at 100 miles per hour and finds heavy consistency in the 94-96 mile-per-hour range. Also graded a 60, Shim’s curveball exemplifies his ability to control pitches.

MLB Pipeline says his slider and changeup are “emerging” and could develop into “plus pitches” in the future.

To give more historical context, Shim notched the mid-90s on his fastball as a high school freshman. Meanwhile, when I played ball as a freshman, I was handling the team’s equipment.

In short, he’s a stud.

Shim opted out of the KBO draft last year in order to play in the MLB, and while it’s not clear which team Shim will end up with, Kim reports the Pirates are the “most aggressive.”