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What to expect from St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Seung Hwan Oh

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Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Continuing with the "What to Expect" series, we turn out focus on St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Seung Hwan Oh.

I hesitate to call him a "rookie." While technically true by Major League Baseball regulatory standards, Oh isn't just some obscure guy making his way: he was one of the best pitchers in Korean baseball history, an excellent closer from 2005 through 2013 with the Samsung Lions. In 2014 and 2015 he pitched for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan and remained successful, saving 80 games over two seasons.

All told, between Japan and Korea Oh posted a 1.81 ERA in 646 innings with a 772/149 K/BB and 357 saves.

He signed a contract with the Cardinals this past January, one year guaranteed with a club option for a second year, totaling a potential $11,000,000. He threw 9.2 innings in spring training, giving up two earned runs with a 4/1 K/BB and earning a spot in the bullpen. He's already appeared in four of St. Louis' seven games, throwing 3.2 innings of shutout baseball. He's fanned eight and hasn't given up a hit, but he's walked four.

Oh's fastball is clocked between 90 and 94 MPH, averaging 91.5 so far in the majors. He mixes in a slider a bit less than half the time and also has a change-up, though he hasn't used it much. The fastball/slider combo makes him an extreme ground ball pitcher and hitters have had a hard time squaring him up so far, though he needs to reduce his walk rate.

Barring injury disaster with other pitchers, Oh isn't likely to pick up saves with the Cardinals, but he looks to be an effective middle man.