By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Aug. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korean high school senior Kwon Kwang-min, who recently signed with the Chicago Cubs, has all the physical tools to eventually become a major league player, a veteran scout for the team said Monday.
Paul Weaver, the Cubs' international scouting cross checker, said Kwon, formally introduced as a Cub at a press conference in Seoul, has the necessary skill set to move up the minor leagues "fairly fast."
"There's no doubt that he has the physical tools to become a big leaguer," Weaver said of the Jangchung High School outfielder in Seoul. "I think he can become a top-10 prospect in our system."
It's high praise coming from a scout of the organization that boasts one of the most stacked farm systems in the majors. This year alone, hot-shot rookies Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber have made their big league debuts. Bryant, in particular, finds himself in the thick of the National League Rookie of the Year race with 16 home runs and 66 RBIs, both second on the Cubs.
More so than physical abilities, Weaver said the key will be to make adjustments to different aspects of life on and off the field.
"Not only do you have to have abilities, you have to be blessed not to be injured," Weaver said. "There's a lot of work involved. It's difficult a lot of times internationally. Some kids adjust faster than others, from learning the language to diet and different customs. We're trying to be respectful of that."
Weaver said Kwon's tools resemble those of the retired outfielder Paul O'Neill, a five-time All-Star for the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Yankees. A lifetime .288 hitter, O'Neill won five World Series rings over his 17-year career and retired with 281 home runs, 1,269 RBIs and 2,105 hits in 2,053 games.
"Generally, it takes four to six years for guys who sign out of high school to make it to the major league," Weaver added. "I think (Kwon) is a real good athlete and has a real good chance to hit."
Kwon himself said his goal is to reach the majors in three years.
"I know other players (who signed with the Cubs) haven't made it to the majors, but I am confident I can do it," he said. "I am not afraid of anything."
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