The future of the Philadelphia Phillies may lie of all places in South Korea. On Thursday night 27-year old Jae-Gyun Hwang clubbed a game-tying solo home run in the ninth inning at Masan Baseball Stadium in Changwon, South Korea for the Lotte Giants.
Now in his 8th season in the KBO (Korea Baseball Organization), Hwang is eligible for the Posting System at the end of this year and will become a true free agent after the 2016 season. He was originally drafted in 2006 by the Hyundai Unicorns (now defunct – which then turned into the Nexen Heroes).
Throughout his career, Hwang has always been regarded as a better defensive than offensive player, even with numbers of .321/.388/.475 with 33 2B and 12 HR, 76 RBI last season. This past offseason however he focused on offensive power, gaining 15 pounds of muscle. With 21 HR, 21 doubles and 61 RBI at the halfway mark of the KBO season, the off-season work is showing huge results in more ways than one.
The game-tying homer was huge — no doubt about it — and Hwang made sure others knew it too. After clubbing the game-tying home run, he paused for several seconds as the ball sailed out of the park and calmly executed one of the best bat flips in baseball.
Maybe we could see Hwang in a Phillies uniform sometime soon? The Phillies’ future may be only a bat flip away. The bat flipped the wrong way for the Lotte Giants, as the NC Dinos came back to win the game in the bottom of the ninth 3-2.
— Han Lee (이한길) (@1Way_2) July 2, 2015