Infielder Tae-hyeok Nam on Tuesday became the first Korean high school player signed by the Dodgers, who reached agreement on a Minor League contract with the 18-year-old from Seoul. Assistant Los Angeles general manager Logan White, in making the signing announcement, cited the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Nam's "good power and well above average speed." "Nam is strong physically," White added. "With the help of our player development staff, I'm confident that he will become a fine player."
Nam, a corner infielder, is still playing at Seoul's Jemulpo High School, where he has 22 home runs and 43 RBIs in 65 games, along with a .314 average. Nam was uncovered by Byung-Hwan An, the Dodgers' scouting supervisor in Korea. "I've been watching him throughout his high school years," An said, "and believe that his excellent work ethic will push him up to the big leagues." Nam already sounded thrilled about joining the Dodgers family, as quoted in a club release announcing the signing. "I grew up watching Major League Baseball and the Los Angeles Dodgers are my favorite team,"Nam said. "I am very excited to be a Dodger and I can't wait to play in a Dodger uniform." Nam's signing comes 15 years after the Dodgers' signing of pitcher Chan Ho Park, who in the same 1994 became the first Korean native to play in the Major Leagues. Other Koreans to have appeared with the Dodgers are first baseman Hee-seop Choi and right-hander Jae Weong Seo.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.