#49 Jin-Ho Shin
Acquired: Signed as International Free Agent in March 2009 for $600K
From: Hwasun-gun, Korea
Jin-Ho Shin's entire prospect standing among Royals' fans like myself comes primarily from his $600K signing bonus. At the time he received it, the bonus was one of the largest ever the Royals had ever issued for an international free agent. He was considered the first major acquisition into the Pacific Rim talent pool for the Kansas City Royals. (Except for the Trey Hillman, of course.)
Upon his signing I recall Shin being promoted as a strong kid, with an advanced approach at the plate. According to scouting reports, he projected to have solid average power potential with above average discipline at the plate.
Shin also garnered high praise for his defensive game. Like current Royals' backstop Salvador Perez, Shin catches from the flat footed technique, a technique that is preferred by most scouts. As a professional Shin has allowed 16 passed balls in in 72 games behind the plate, while only throwing out 14% of would be base stealers. While pitchers in rookie ball often struggle to control the running game, these aren't exactly impressive numbers.
Offensively, Shin has done even less at first glance. After all a career .189/.293/.277 line in rookie ball isn't getting it done. Shin did show improvement in 2011 and upped his OPS from .480 to .681 and if we throw out all of his at bats against those pesky lefties Shin's line in 2011 was actually .268/.341/.423.
Hopefully Shin's poor results against throwers from the opposite are due to lack of experience rather than a technical problem in Shin's approach and/or swing. If Shin can improve through experience against southpaws he could turn into a very interesting prospect fast.
Whatever potential Shin has, he has yet to start fulfilling it. He is only twenty-years-old and given his background it isn't shocking that he has struggled thus far. There is still time for Shin to turn his baseball body and potential into results, however if Shin never reaches High-A ball he wouldn't be the first bonus baby to flame out.
Shin makes this list simply because of the cache of being a bonus baby. I debated about including him at all, but in the end I decided to give the young catching prospect one more free pass before I held him accountable for his poor results.