Ranking the 4 remaining International pitching options for the Cardinals

Most of the top talent from NPB and the KBO have signed but there are still ways for the Cardinals to find pitching talent internationally

Korea v Orix Buffaloes
Korea v Orix Buffaloes / Kenta Harada/GettyImages
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#1 - Woo-Suk Go (KBO, LG Twins)

Unlike NPB, talent from the KBO has mostly been under the radar this offseason. It's puzzling why the Giants gave such a large contract to Jung Hoo Lee, as almost all Korean bats struggle in their first few seasons in MLB, but perhaps the "Grandson of the Wind" will adjust to Major League pitching faster than most.

One name that has gone almost completely overlooked is Woo-Suk Go, Jung Hoo Lee's brother-in-law and thus the "Grandson-in-law of the Wind." Go has been one of the premier relievers in the KBO since his age-22 season in 2021. He recorded a 2.17 ERA in 2021 with 30 saves and a 1.48 ERA in 2022 with 42 saves. He battled some injuries this past season, recording a 3.68 ERA and 1.364 WHIP, but his strikeout rate has steadily increased from 10.6 per 9 innings in 2021 to 12.1 in 2023.

At just 24 years old, Go should bounce back to his career norms next season if healthy, so the Cardinals shouldn't worry too much about a weaker performance in 2023. With elite strikeout rates in a contact-focused environment in Korea, Go should maintain similar swing-and-miss stuff in America making him one of the highest-ceiling options for the Cardinals out of the bullpen. They've been linked to some of the top bullpen names such as Josh Hader, but it's unlikely they'll meet his asking price. Between Woo-Suk Go, Phil Maton, Jordan Hicks, and other mid-tier relief options, Go might be the cheapest while also boasting the highest upside.

It's no guarantee Go's talents will translate well to MLB, but at a cheap and short-term contract, it's absolutely worth the risk for the Cardinals. The Cardinals already struck gold with Kwang Hyun Kim out of the KBO in 2020 and 2021. Like Kim, Go could prove to be an effective high-leverage asset out of the bullpen for many years to come.

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