Choi with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2020
|Tampa Bay Rays – No. 26|
|First baseman / Outfielder / Designated hitter|
|Born: May 19, 1991|
Incheon, South Korea
|April 5, 2016, for the Los Angeles Angels|
|MLB statistics |
(through 2020 season)
|Runs batted in||128|
|Revised Romanization||Choe Jiman|
Ji-Man Choi (Hangul: 최지만; Hanja: 崔志萬; Korean pronunciation: [tɕʰwe̞.dʑi.man]; born May 19, 1991) is a South Korean professional baseball designated hitter, first baseman, and outfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Los Angeles Angels in 2016, New York Yankees in 2017, and Milwaukee Brewers in 2018. He was a member of Korea's U12 and U18 national baseball teams.
Choi signed with the Seattle Mariners before the 2010 season. He was sent to their Arizona League affiliate to begin his professional baseball career. With the Arizona League Mariners, Choi batted .378 with 23 runs scored, 51 hits, 15 doubles, two triples, one home run, 23 runs batted in (RBIs), and 10 stolen bases in 39 games played. Amongst league batters, Choi was second in on-base percentage (.459), and slugging percentage (.541). Choi also played 11 games with the Class A-Advanced High Desert Mavericks of the California League that season. On August 24, in a game against the Inland Empire 66ers, Choi hit his first and only home run with the Mavericks. With the Mavericks, he batted .302 with seven runs scored, 13 hits, one double, one triple, one home run, and seven RBIs. Combined between the two teams, Choi batted .360 with 30 runs scored, 64 hits, 16 doubles, three triples, two home runs, and 30 RBIs in 50 games played. On defense between the two clubs, he played 34 games as a first baseman and 10 as a catcher, committing two errors; and making 39 assists, and 326 putouts. After the season, he was named the Arizona League Most Valuable Player. The Seattle Mariners named Choi as their top position player on their Arizona League affiliate.
Choi played for the Jackson Generals of the Class AA Southern League in 2013. He was named to the World Team roster of the All-Star Futures Game. Choi was added to the Mariners 40-man roster on November 20, 2013. On April 17, 2014, Choi was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for methandienone.
Choi sustained a fractured fibula in the first game of Mariners' spring training in 2015, as he leaped at first base to try to save an errant throw from farmhand Tyler Smith at shortstop. The next day, he was designated for assignment when the Mariners re-added left-hander Edgar Olmos.
Los Angeles Angels
Choi was selected by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 2015 Rule 5 draft. Choi made the Angels' Opening Day roster, and he made his major league debut on April 5. The Angels designated him for assignment on May 11. On May 15, Choi cleared waivers and accepted an outright to the Salt Lake Bees of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League, thus remaining with the Angels. Choi returned to the majors on July 9 in place of injured C. J. Cron. Choi hit his first career major league home run off the Texas Rangers starter A. J. Griffin at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 19, 2016. On December 23, 2016, Choi was designated for assignment. He was released.
New York Yankees
Choi signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees, receiving a non-roster invitation to spring training. At the end of spring training Choi was assigned to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders of the Class AAA International League.
The Yankees promoted Choi to the major leagues on July 4, 2017. In his first game with the Yankees, Choi hit a 457-foot (139 m) two-run home run. He was designated for assignment on July 19, 2017, and assigned outright to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on July 23, 2017.
On January 15, 2018, Choi signed a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. His contract was purchased by the Brewers on March 28, 2018, and he was assigned to the Opening Day roster. After assignment to the Brewers AAA minor league team, Choi was recalled on May 18, 2018 to the Brewers active roster. Choi homered in his first at-bat as designated hitter against the Minnesota Twins.
Tampa Bay Rays
The day after his grand slam with the Brewers, Choi was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for infielder Brad Miller and cash. Choi was immediately optioned to AAA Durham. The Rays promoted Choi to the major leagues on July 11, 2018. On September 10th, Choi hit a walk-off two run home run against Brad Hand of the Cleveland Indians. In 49 games for the Rays, Choi hit .269 with 8 home runs and 27 RBIs.
In the 2019 Choi established himself in the major leagues for the first time in his career. Choi's defense and power against right-handed pitching earned himself consistent playing time with the Rays. He played in 127 games, hitting .261 with 19 home runs and 63 RBI. On September 24th, Choi hit a 12th inning, walk off home run against the New York Yankees. In the postseason, Choi had 3 hits in 23 at-bats, recording one solo home run. The Rays were defeated by the Houston Astros in the Division Series. In his first full year with the Rays, Choi established himself as a fan favorite due to his performance and his attitude while on the field.
On July 26, 2020, Choi made his first appearance as a switch hitter in his career, batting right-handed twice against left-handed Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Kay. In his second appearance against Kay, Choi hit a home run. Choi ended the year batting .230/.331/.410 with 3 home runs in 42 games. In game one of the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees, Choi hit a two-run home run against Gerrit Cole. This was his second home run against Cole in 2020, improving his career numbers to 10-19 with 4 home runs against the Yankees ace.
- "Ji-Man Choi Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
- Smith, Daren (August 31, 2010). "Choi named Arizona League MVP". MiLB.com. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
- "Choi helps Mavs knock off 66ers". Victorville Daily Press. Freedom Communications, Inc. August 24, 2010. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
- Dybas, Todd (September 17, 2010). "Mariners hand out Minor League Awards to Poythress, Pineda". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Seattle Media, LLC. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
- Johns, Greg (July 2, 2013). "First baseman Choi added to Futures roster". MLB.com. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
- Johns, Greg (November 20, 2013). "Mariners add four to 40-man roster before deadline". MLB.com. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
- "Seattle 1B Choi banned 50 games for positive test". ESPN.com. Associated Press. April 17, 2014. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
- "Mariners Designate Ji-Man Choi For Assignment". Retrieved July 9, 2016.
- Eddy, Matt (December 1, 2015). "Minor League Transactions: Nov. 21-27". Baseball America. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
- "Angels expect Rule 5 picks Deolis Guerra and Ji-Man Choi to make big-league team". Los Angeles Times. December 10, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
- "Ji-Man Choi ready to show off his quirks". Los Angeles Times. April 5, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
- "Alden Gonzalez on Twitter". Retrieved July 9, 2016.
- Monagan, Matt (July 19, 2016). "Ji-Man Choi got the silent treatment after his first home run, so he high-fived his imaginary friends | MLB.com". M.mlb.com. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
- "Angels agree to terms with OF Ben Revere". MLB.com. December 23, 2016. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 16, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Tasch, Justin. "Yankees DFA Chris Carter again, call up Ji-Man Choi". NY Daily News. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
- "South Korea first baseman Ji-Man Choi homers in Yanks' debut". Washington Post. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
- "Brewers' Ji-Man Choi: Makes Opening Day roster". CBSSports.com. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
- Bloss, Joe (June 9, 2018). "Choi's 1st career grand slam lifts 1st-place Crew". MLB.com. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
- Associated Press (June 10, 2018). "Day after Ji-Man Choi's grand slam helps Brewers get win, the 1B/OF is traded to Rays". WKTY. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
- "Ji-Man Choi's walkoff home run lifts Rays past Indians". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
- "Tampa Bay Rays' Ji-Man Choi delivers walk-off homer to beat Yankees". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
- "Ji-Man Choi Postseason Batting Game Logs". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
- "Why the Yankees should worry about Ji-Man Choi, the most fun player left in the postseason". www.sportingnews.com. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
- "Rays' Ji-Man Choi: Homers right-handed". CBS Sports.
- "Choi continues ownage of Yankees ace Cole". MLB.com. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
- "Choi Ji-man is first Korean to pick up a World Series hit". koreajoongangdaily.joins.com. Retrieved October 22, 2020.