Ji-Man was recognized as his hometown of Incheon’s citizen of the year for 2020…the award goes annually to the person who best represents the city…Ji-Man donated 20,000 sterile masks to the Incheon community last year...Ji-Man became the first Korean-born position player to appear in a World Series, and his jersey from Game 2 (his first start) is on display in the “Autumn Glory” exhibit at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown...He went home to South Korea during the 2020 shutdown, but returned to the U.S. with gifts… Ji-Man had a small batch of personally-branded hand sanitizer to share, with “Overcome COVID19” and his name and likeness on the label...Ji-Man is terrified of ghosts and believes to have had many encounters with them, including hugs and whispers…his first ghostly encounter in baseball came while recovering from back surgery in 2011, when he felt a “spirit” on his chest and awoke as he felt the bed slump…he had another encounter at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, where a number of major leaguers have claimed to experience the paranormal...Over the winter, Ji-Man visited a youth baseball club in Chungju, South Korea…he worked with them on fundamentals, gave instruction and helped them with soft-toss and drills…he is one of five active major leaguers born in South Korea… his 39 career home runs rank 4th all-time among Korean-born players, behind Shin-Soo Choo (213), Jung Ho Kang (46) and Hee-Seop Choi (40)...Ji-Man attracted international attention during the 2020 postseason for his defensive acrobatics, especially his ability to do the splits…he credits pilates for his flexibility…before Game 4 of the World Series, he joked “a lot of people think I’m a gymnast instead of a baseball player.”...Rays fans’ love for Ji-Man was on display in Game 4 of the 2019 ALDS at Tropicana Field… groups of fans were heard chanting his name in the parking lot and later the entire ballpark joined in the chant during his at-bats…the moment was later commemorated with an officially-licensed T-shirt and Ji-Man used the audio as his walk-up music last year.
Appeared in 42 games and made 32 starts (31-1B, 1-DH) before suffering a left hamstring strain on Sept. 12 vs. BOS, ending his regular season… returned in time for the start of the postseason...Began the season as a switch-hitter but last batted right-handed on Aug. 14 at TOR, then abandoned the switch-hitting experiment...Hit .300/.404/.500 (12-for-40) with 5 2B, 1 HR and 6 RBI in his last 13 games (11 starts)...Went 5-for-7 with 2 2B, 2 HR and 4 RBI against Gerrit Cole…both his homers as a left-handed batter came off Cole, and was the only player in the majors to homer off him twice…in his career including postseason, is 10-for-21 (.476) with 3 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI and 5 BB against Cole...Made his fourth Opening Day roster and third straight, but did not start vs. Hyun Jin Ryu...On July 26 vs. TOR, batted right-handed for the first time in his major league career and homered in his second at-bat from that side, coming in the 6th inning off Anthony Kay...Prior to the homer off Kay as a right-handed batter, Choi had hit 36 HR in his career—the most of any player before hitting a home run from the opposite side since Stats LLC data is available (1974)…Choi logged 861 PA as a left-handed batter before his first plate appearance as a righthanded batter—third-most of any player since 1974 before “switching sides” behind CHC Javier Báez (2,394 PA as a righty, first hit lefty on Aug. 8, 2019 at CIN against a position player pitching) and TEX Geno Petralli (1,898 PA as a lefty, first hit righty on July 24, 1992 at BAL)...According to MLB.com’s Sarah Langs, Choi’s 861 PA batting lefty were the most from one side of the plate before hitting a homer from the other side since CLE Hal Trosky in 1935...Is the only Korean-born player to homer from both sides of the plate...After his right-handed homer, reporter Jeff Passan said on Baseball Tonight: “Ji-Man Choi is the most interesting man in baseball.”...On Aug. 31 at NYY, reached base in all 5 PA, tying a career-high…recorded three hits, including a two-run homer off Gerrit Cole in the first inning...POSTSEASON...Hit .250/.412/.425 (10-for-40) with 2 HR and 4 RBI in 18 games (12 starts)...Homered off Gerrit Cole in Game 1 of the ALDS vs. NYY in addition to twice in the regular season…was the second player in the modern era (since 1900) to homer in three different games against a pitcher coming off of a 300-SO season, according to Stats LLC…the other was CIN Deron Johnson off LAD's Sandy Koufax in 1964...Became the first Korean-born position player to appear in a World Series.
Appeared in 127 games and made 106 starts (92- 1B, 14-DH) in his first full major league season…missed the minimum 10 days on the injured list from July 3-12 due to a left ankle strain...Hit .250 (23-for-92) with RISP, but .314 (16-for-51) with RISP from May 30 through season's end...Hit 8 HR in his last 26 games (23 starts), compared to 11 HR in his first 101 games (83 starts)… his 19 HR passed his total (17) from his first three seasons combined…his 6 HR in September were his most in a calendar month in his career...Made his third Opening Day roster and first career Opening Day start...On April 17 vs. BAL, hit his first homer to snap a streak of 19 straight games without one, ending the longest homerless drought of his career...On June 27 at MIN, became the first player to enter in extra innings and finish with 3 BB (or more) since NYM Daryl Boston on Sep 24, 1992 at STL, according to Stats LLC…walked in the 10th, 11th and 14th innings, and singled in the 18th… became the first player in franchise history to reach four times in a game he did not start...On Aug 9 at SEA, drew a bases-loaded walk for the second time in his career, both in a 6-game...span…was the fourth time in franchise history a pinch-hitter drew a go-ahead, bases-loaded walk, and the first time in club history that happened in the 9th inning (or later)...On Aug 18 vs. DET, hit a 2-run, walk-off single off Joe Jiménez in the 9th inning, his second career walk-off hit, following Sep 10, 2018 vs. CLE...On Sep 11-12 at TEX, reached base in a franchise-record 10 consecutive plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with 7 BB…his streak was the longest in the AL since LAA Mike Trout (10) from Sep 7-9, 2018…was the second Ray to reach five times (or more) in back-to-back games, joining José Canseco from June 30-July 1, 1999 at BOS...On Sep 11 at TEX, reached base in all 5 PA and recorded the second multi-HR game of his career, following Aug 4, 2016 vs. OAK (with LAA)…hit a game-tying, 3-run homer in the 2nd inning and a solo homer in the 9th…his first homer was the third of his career off a lefty...On Sep 24 vs. NYY, hit a walk-off, solo homer off Cory Gearrin to start the 12th inning, the second walk-off homer of his career...Grounded out in the 9th inning as a pinch-hitter in the AL Wild Card Game at OAK…started at first base for all 5 games of the ALDS against the Astros and finished with 7 BB in 22 PA…his 7 BB were the most in a Division Series since SF Barry Bonds (8) in 2003...In Game 3 of the ALDS vs. HOU, hit a 3rd-inning solo homer off Zack Greinke.
Acquired from the Brewers in mid-June and played in 49 games with 45 starts (44-DH, 1-1B) for the Rays…after joining the Rays, hit .269/ .370/.506 (43-for-160) with 8 HR and 27 RBI...Hit .292/.400/.584 (33-for-113) with 7 HR and 20 RBI in his last 35 games (31 starts), increasing his season avg. from .221 to .263...Following the trade, hit .337 (31-for-92) with 11 2B and 5 HR with the bases empty and .176 (12-for-68) with 1 2B and 3 HR with runners on...On July 21 vs. MIA, his first home run as a Ray came in the 9th inning off Kyle Barraclough and went 460 feet, according to StatCast…at the time, it was the longest by a Ray since Evan Longoria on July 19, 2016 at COL (462 feet) and the longest by a Ray at Tropicana Field since StatCast started tracking them in 2015…including visitors, it was the 4th-longest at Tropicana Field over that span and the longest since SEA Nelson Cruz on Aug 18, 2017 (482 feet, off Brad Boxberger)...Reached base safely in 22 consecutive starts, Aug 9-Sep 12, batting .333/.427/.679 (27-for-81) with 6 HR and 16 RBI over that stretch...On Sep 7 vs. BAL, tied a career high with 4 RBI, all coming on the second grand slam of his career, in the 6th inning off Ryan Meisinger… was his fifth homer with the Rays and first with runners on base...On Sep 10 vs. CLE, hit a walk-off, 2-run homer off Brad Hand, giving the Rays a 6-5 win…it was his first career walk-off hit, and it was the 15th homer of his career and first off a left-handed pitcher…his walk-off homer was the third in franchise history hit by a left-handed hitter off a left-handed pitcher, joining Jake Bauers on June 24, 2018 vs. NYY (Chasen Shreve) and Gabe Gross on June 1, 2008 vs. CWS (Matt Thornton)...On Sep 25 vs. NYY, received stitches for a left ear laceration suffered on a 3rd-inning collision at home plate…missed the final 5 games...Was optioned to Triple-A Durham after the trade…recalled on July 10 and made his Rays debut the next day vs. DET, going 2-for-4...Hit a pinch-hit grand slam on June 9 at PHI, his final at-bat with the Brewers…was the sixth pinch-hit grand slam hit by a Brewer since Baseball Reference play-by-play data is complete (1974)…turned a 3-2 deficit to a 6-3 lead.
Signed as a free agent with Milwaukee on 1/15/18...Signed as a free agent with New York-AL on 1/14/17
Made his Major League debut with the Angels, batting .170/.271/.339 (19-for-112) with 9R, 4 doubles, 5HR, 12RBI and 16BB in 54 games across three stints (4/4-5/11, 7/9-8/21, 9/3-10/2)…had just 4PA vs. left-handed pitchers (0-for-3, 1BB)…made his MLB debut as a defensive replacement (LF) in 4/5 loss vs. Chicago-NL…notched his first Major League hit in 4/23 win vs. Seattle with a seventh-inning single off Felix Hernandez…was designated for assignment on 5/11, offered back to Baltimore (declined), and outrighted to Triple-A Salt Lake on 5/15…had his contract selected from Salt Lake on 7/9…hit safely in a career-best six consecutive games from 7/10-19…hit his first Major League home run in 7/18 win vs. Texas (fifth inning off A.J. Griffin)…collected his first career multi-hit game and multi-homer game and had a career-high 4RBI in 8/4 loss vs. Oakland, going 2-for-5 with a solo HR in the second and a three-run HR in the third, both off Jesse Hahn…was optioned to Salt Lake on 8/21 and recalled on 9/3…committed 1E in 165TC (.994) between 1B (27G/15GS) and LF (20G/14GS)…in 53 games with the Bees, hit .346/.434/.527 (65-for-188) with 31R, 17 doubles, 1 triple, 5HR, 31RBI and 31BB…in his final 15 games with Salt Lake, drew 12BB while striking out just once…was designated for assignment on 12/23/16, outrighted on 1/5/17 and elected free agency on 1/11/17…
Limited to 23 games last season but posted a .290 (20/69) average with five doubles, a home run and 18 RBI with Triple-A Tacoma (Seattle) and the AZL Mariners. Suffered a broken leg March 4 in the 9th inning of Seattle's Cactus League opener vs. San Diego... Played in first minor league game of the season Aug. 12 with the AZL Mariners... Went 3-for-12 in five games with the Club before being moved to Triple-A... In 18 games with the Rainiers, hit .298 (17/57) with four doubles, a home run and 16 RBIs. Participated in the Dominican Winter League, batting .231 (12/52) with a double, triple, three home runs and nine RBI in 15 games for the Estrellas de Oriente. Signed a minor league contract with Baltimore in the off season before being selected by the Angels in the Rule 5 Draft , Dec. 10.
Appeared in 74 games with AAA Tacoma (70 G) and AA Jackson (4 G)during the season…hit .282 (70x248) with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs and 35 RBI... Opened the season batting .394 (13x38) with a 1.045 OPS in ﬁrst 9 gamesbefore serving 50-game suspension... Hit .318 (21x66) with 13 runs, 4 home runs and 10 RBI over his ﬁnal 28games (July 30-Sept. 1)... On MLB suspended list April 17-June 9 (50 games) after testing posi-tive for a performance enhancing substance... Appeared in 14 games for Tigres de Aragua in the Venzuelan WinterLeague (.220/11x50, 10 R, 2 2B, HR, 7 RBI)…experimented with switch hitting.
Hit .295 (125x424) with 64 runs scored, 36 doubles, 6 triples, 18 home runs, 85 RBI and 63 walks in 122 games combined between A High Desert (4/4/-6/2), AA Jackson (6/3- 8/18) and AAA Tacoma (8/19-9/2). One of 20 minor league players to record at least 60 extra-base hits. Career-high 21-game hitting streak from April 27-May 22, 3rd-longest in the California League (.422/35x83, 20 R, 15 2B, 3B, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 13 BB). Promoted to Jackson on June 4…appeared in only 61 games with the Generals, finished T2nd on the team with 9 home runs, including a team-high 2 grand slams (6/29 vs. Birmingham and 7/31 vs. Huntsville). Also appeared in 13 games with Tacoma to close out the season.