Jae-gyun Hwang headed back to Korea after 'unforgettable and disappointing' year


Jae-gyun Hwang headed back to Korea after 'unforgettable and disappointing' year

The year didn’t go as planned, but the dream was made. Jae-gyun Hwang can always say he played Major League Baseball. After a year in which Hwang spent the majority of his time in Triple-A and fulfilled his dream in 18 games with the San Francisco Giants, Hwang is heading back to Korea where he has been a star in the Korean Baseball Organization. He elected free agency on Nov. 2.

“We are pursuing a contract in Korea for 2018,” Hwang’s agent Han Lee revealed to NBC Sports Bay Area.

Hwang took a risk. He was a star in the KBO for his success on the field and a star off it on YouTube for his eccentric bat flips.

The Giants signed Hwang in January to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. He hit .333 with five home runs, but the Giants sent him to Triple-A with the Sacramento River Cats. 

"Jae's first experience with MLB was both unforgettable and disappointing," Lee said. "Being in an unfamiliar environment, there were several challenges that Jae was unaccustomed to."

Success didn't follow Hwang to the majors in 2017. With the Giants, Hwang only hit .154 and knocked one ball over the wall. He also hit .285 for the River Cats and totaled another 10 home runs as one of the team's top hitters in 98 games. Before signing with San Francisco, Hwang was coming off a monster year in the KBO with the Lotte Giants. Over 127 games, he posted career highs with a .335 batting average, .394 on-base percentage, .570 slugging percentage, and 27 home runs.  

"Ultimately as a player, Jae understands that it was up to him to perform. And because he was unable to do that (at least not to the level to convince the team to give him another look in September), he has no regrets," Lee said.

Hwang arrived in the majors on June 28. It was a huge event in his hometown Seoul, South Korea, with family, friends and fans waking up early in the morning to watch him take the field at AT&T Park. And Hwang came with a bang. 

The Giants were all tied up with the Rockies, 3-3, in the sixth inning as Hwang took a 2-0 fastball and blasted it over the left field wall to give the Giants the lead for his first hit as a major leaguer. Drop the mic (bat). 

The ball landed in the bleachers at 6:32 a.m. in Seoul.

"Being able to play in a big-league stadium, and hit a home run in his first game, is something that he will always remember," Lee said. 

Along with the moment every ballplayer dreams of, Hwang will also always cherish the little moments. Lee says Hwang learned a lot from his teammates and coaches alike. Hwang is thankful for the opportunity and the warm welcome. One player in particular sticks out for Hwang in his experience with the Giants. 

"He would like to thank the veteran guys for making him feel welcome in the clubhouse, especially Hunter Pence," Lee said. 

Brandon Crawford breaks down what happened on A's walk-off single

Brandon Crawford breaks down what happened on A's walk-off single

Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford made highlight play after highlight play during the last three games of the Bay Bridge Series. In the aftermath of Sunday's extra innings loss to the Oakland A's, the All-Star was asked about one he didn't.

A's third baseman Matt Chapman chopped a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give Oakland possession of "The Bridge." The ball bounced helplessly off of Crawford's foot and into center field, handing the Giants a second straight loss.

Crawford told reporters after the loss that he charged at the ball because he thought Chapman would beat the throw to first if he didn't. 

"it was a high enough hop that I thought I could get it on that first big hop," Crawford told reporters from the visiting clubhouse at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. "But it came down a lot steeper than I thought it was going to. I think that's what caused me to miss it.”

Crawford entered Sunday 10th among MLB shortstops in fielding percentage (.981), as well as second in putouts per nine innings (1.59) and assists per nine innings (3.07). 

The three-time Gold Glove winner made a pair of impressive catches against the A's on Saturday. He covered the vast foul territory at the Coliseum to make a sprinting catch in one instance, and snagging a ball over his shoulder in shallow center field in another.

A's manager Bob Melvin felt Crawford was in a tough spot on Chapman's chopper on Sunday, and had to react quickly on a "tough play" in order to get Chapman out.  

"But man, how many runs did he save for them in this series," Melvin continued. "He's as good as [shortstops] get. And not only is he a perennial [Gold Glove winner], he's a tough at-bat for them... [He's] a great player. That's not an easy play."

Giants can't complete comeback vs A's in Bay Bridge Series finale

Giants can't complete comeback vs A's in Bay Bridge Series finale


OAKLAND — Jeurys Familia got the win in his Oakland debut, Marcus Semien scored from second base on Matt Chapman’s infield chopper in the 10th inning, and the Athletics beat the San Francisco Giants 6-5 on Sunday.

Familia was acquired in a trade with the New York Mets on Saturday for two minor leaguers and $1 million in international signing bonus pool allotment. The right-hander, who had 17 saves with New York, arrived in Oakland about an hour before the game, but managed to pitch two scoreless innings.

Khris Davis and Matt Olson each homered twice to help the A’s win the inaugural Bay Bridge series trophy before a third consecutive sellout crowd at the Coliseum.

Semien drew a leadoff walk against Ty Blach (6-6) in the 10th and advanced to second on Stephen Piscotty’s deep flyout to center. After Davis was intentionally walked and Olson flew out, Chapman drove in Semien with an infield single that bounced just past All-Star shortstop Brandon Crawford into left field.

Familia (5-4) allowed a leadoff single to Austin Slater in the ninth, and then retired his next five batters. Alen Hanson bounced into an inning-ending double play in the ninth.

Andrew McCutchen homered for San Francisco. Austin Slater collected three hits, Pablo Sandoval had a pinch-hit, two-run single and Nick Hundley added two hits and scored twice.

San Francisco didn’t have a baserunner until the fifth inning and trailed 4-1 before scoring three in the seventh and one in the eighth.

McCutchen homered on a 3-2 pitch from former San Francisco reliever Yusmeiro Petit in the eighth.


Giants: 2B Joe Panik (groin) ran before the game.

Athletics: All-Star 2B Jed Lowrie was given the day off after getting hit by a pitch and fouling a ball off his body near the same area Saturday. ... OF Chad Pinder is nursing a sore wrist and thumb after stumbling over the leg of Giants infielder Hanson and falling hard to the turf a day earlier. Mark Canha (hamstring) was also rested.


Giants: Head to Seattle for a two-game series beginning Tuesday. LHP Andrew Suarez (3-6, 3.94 ERA) starts for San Francisco and is winless since June 29.

Athletics: LHP Brett Anderson (1-2, 6.08 ERA) pitches in Texas on Monday in his first start against the Rangers since 2015.