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#20: Shin-Soo Choo - 2002
04/11/2007 3:17 PM ET
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Each Wednesday will countdown the top 20 seasons by a Timber Rattler until #1 is revealed on August 29th.  This week: #20

Shin-Soo Choo 2002

.302 batting average, 69 runs, 127 hits, 24 doubles, 8 triples, 6 home runs, 48 rbi's, 34 stolen bases, .440 slugging percentage, .417 on base average

The Seattle Mariners were one of the first teams to aggressively scout Asia , and Choo was one of their biggest signings.  An outstanding high school pitcher and outfielder in Korea , Choo signed with the Mariners as an 18-year old in 2000 and was made a full-time outfielder.  Many teams felt that his best position was pitcher, as the left-handed Choo threw in the mid-to-high 90's.  He would make his professional debut in the States in 2001, appearing in 51 games with the Arizona Mariners, followed by a three game stint in Wisconsin .  He hit .462 (6-13) in those three games, knocking in three runs while stealing two bases.  It was a glimpse of what was to follow.

The starting right fielder on Opening Day 2002, Choo was the one constant on offense for a Rattler team that went 53-86.  He led the team in batting, games played, at bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, walks, stolen bases, slugging percentage, on base percentage, and tied with Greg Dobbs for the RBI crown.  Besides that, he used his speed and strong arm to become a solid outfielder.  His talent and effort quickly made him a fan favorite and Choo was honored with his very own bobblehead.  Unfortunately, Shin-soo was moved up to High-A San Bernardino just before the date of the giveaway, so he was unable to enjoy his special day.  He was selected as a Midwest League All Star, appeared in his first All Star Futures Game (held at Miller Park ), and was named Seattle 's Minor League Player of the Year.

A career .303 hitter in the minors, Shin-soo struggled in his two trips to the Majors with Seattle , hitting .056 and .091 in limited chances.  Seattle then traded him to Cleveland in July of '06, where he got an opportunity to play everyday.  He responded by hitting .295 in 146 at bats and even hit a game winning home run against the Mariners.



This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.