Power move with potential: Cardinals land standout teenage outfielder from South Korea as international signings begin


St. Louis Cardinals gear rests on the dugout during Cardinals summer camp at Busch Stadium on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Photo by Chris Kohley, ckohley@post-dispatch.com

Chris Kohley

Derrick Goold

A year after the Cardinals described an internal goal to expand the map of their international amateur acquisitions, they reached across the Pacific to South Korea and signed one of the most intriguing and unexpectedly available talents.

In the opening hours of this year’s international signing period, the Cardinals finalized an agreement with center fielder Won-Bin Cho, a power-packed 18 year old who withdrew his name from the KBO draft to pursue an opportunity in Major League Baseball. He is the first amateur player from Asia signed by the Cardinals.

Cho, a lefthanded-hitting outfielder, grabbed attention from MLB scouts with his performance in a National Power Showcase at Globe Life Field in Texas back in November 2020.

During the home run derby, Cho showed his remarkably advanced swing and hit a pitch 468 feet with an exit velocity of 112 mph. He topped that with a 485-foot shot that left his aluminum bat at 115 mph.

Listed at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Cho will play the coming season at 18 and turn 19 in August. Like his size, he’s considered above average in all facets of the game. A video from the National Power Showcase showed him throwing a ball 89 mph from right field.

In addition to Cho, the Cardinals…

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