KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals have signed Um Hyung-chan, a high school catcher out of South Korea.
Um, son of former Myrtle Beach Pelican (A – Atlanta Braves affiliate) catcher Um Jong-soo, becomes the first South Korean catcher to join the MLB since 2011.
According to Phil Dale with the team’s scouting department, Um was noticed before the COVID-19 pandemic started and shut down sports worldwide. Once things opened back up in South Korea, his development was noteworthy.
The 18-year-old possesses a strong arm and top-notch receiving skills in addition to strong batting ability.
Um comes from Gyeonggi Commercial High School in the South Korean capital of Seoul. This season, he has a .452 batting average and has hit 3 homeruns and 25 RBI in 14 games.
The Um’s now become the first father-son duo from South Korea to have signed with with MLB clubs.
Dale says Um possesses above-average skills for someone his age and was a top draft prospect for the Korean Baseball League. With his father having played in the US, Um’s desire to play in the MLB made him and his family excited to sign with the Royals.
His on the field skills, coupled with his off the field and leadership qualities, would make him a top prospect anywhere, according to the scout.
Um is also proficient in English, which will help in his transition to the United States next year.
Like with most prospects, there is no timeline for when Um could suit up for the majors, but the club is looking forward to his development as he gets acclimated to the Royals organization.