Yoo: Korean baseball’s foreign players thrive with help from SABR member Patrick Bourgo

From Yoo Jee-ho at the Yonhap News Agency on August 23, 2017, on SABR member Patrick Bourgo:

Since the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) started allowing clubs to import arms and bats in 1998, foreign players have accounted for large parts of their teams’ success — or failure.

After a series of changes to the system, teams are now allowed three foreign players each, and at least one must be a position player.


Given the importance of these players and the amount of time and money spent on scouting and signing them, it’s curious at best and mind-boggling at worst that teams aren’t doing more to help these players off the field — making sure that they get acclimated to the new culture and country, and that they have few distractions.

And this is what ultimately led Patrick Bourgo to start working for the KBO’s NC Dinos. He is listed as a manager on the Dinos’ global scouting and baseball analytics team, and what Bourgo does reaches far beyond number crunching. In a way, he’s a utility infielder away from the field, serving as a Mr. Do-It-All for the Dinos’ three American players: Eric Hacker, Jeff Manship and Xavier Scruggs.

While clubs all employ English-language interpreters for their foreign players, no other team aside from the Dinos has an employee who works with foreign players and their families on and off the field the way Bourgo does.

Bourgo, a 39-year-old from Los Angeles, has been living in South Korea since 2004. He is also a co-founder of the Korean chapter for the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR). A lifelong baseball fan and a former high school player, Bourgo had been doing research on Korean baseball history and wanted to find more about foreign players in the KBO, when he recognized one trend.

Read the full article here: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/feature/2017/08/22/91/0900000000AEN20170822010700315F.html

Originally published: August 23, 2017. Last Updated: August 23, 2017.