There's nothing more pure than discovering one's first favorite baseball player. It is a pastime unlike any other. If there was some way to bottle up the feeling and sell it, any number of personal finance problems would be solved.
The shame is that while everyone remembers their first, all subsequent players who fill the role don't quite feel the same. Take it from me, a person who has been chasing that Alan Trammell high for decades. But with the world on fire and panicked, a surprising opportunity has materialized.
The chance to identify and embrace -- from across the globe -- a first favored player from the KBO. And folks, it is my honor to introduce you to a hitter so ferocious that opposing teams should consider employing the Barry Bonds treatment before it's too late.
His name is Mel Rojas Jr. Drafted in the third round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, the outfielder spent eight years bouncing around the minors before wisely choosing to play for the KT Wiz in 2017. All he's done since arriving in Suwon is to tear the cover off the ball. In 2018, his first full campaign, Rojas posted a .305/.388/.590 slashie with 43 homers and 114 RBI. Last season he dipped to 24 dingers but still finished with a stellar .322/.381/.530.
Through 25 games this year, though, he is creating a masterpiece. He's second in the KBO in average (.417), slugging percentage (.738), OPS (1.202), home runs (8), and third in RBI (26). From Opening Day, he's been a force at the plate but has exploded over the past three games, going 7-for-15 with four homers and 11 RBI.
Those of you still sleeping on the KBO may be surprised to know that watching one's favorite team is a rare treat. To date, there have been four KT Wiz games on ESPN. They've lost them all. The rest of the time fans are largely reliant on a Gametracker without commentary. So it was harder to notice just how clutch Rojas has been but it certainly felt as though he was delivering at an absurd pace.
Turns out he's hitting .478 with runners in scoring position. That should be illegal.
As of now, Rojas is either first or second in the MVP race as José Miguel Fernández is also enjoying an otherworldly year. Like most ballplayers he's probably more interested in the win-loss record of his team than individual accolades. But he can rest easy in knowing he's already won the vaunted honor of my second first favorite.
Hope he sees this.