Tokyo's Imports: Chang-Yong Lim

Lim has been integral to Tokyo's success this season.

Mr. Lim is currently enjoying his moment in the sun at the All-Star game up in Hokkaido (and down in Hiroshima tomorrow), and boy has he earned it in 2009.

Voted in by the fans, the second-year Tokyo closer gave up only one earned run during the first half of the season and is currently making a strong case for a possible future move to MLB in 2011. The birds have him through 2010, but don’t be surprised to see him leave after that. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Tokyo (the bulk of the league, really) is not in the business of doing business (ie. they don’t pay to keep good players around).

Judging by the way he’s playing now, Lim is definitely the type of guy you’d want to keep around. He’s currently second in the Central League in saves (22) and sports an ERA of 0.23 through 38 2/3 innings pitched.

The 33-year-old was born in Gwangju, South Korea and has played for both the Kia Tigers (formerly the Haetae Tigers–sometimes romanized as Haitai Tigers) and the Samsung Lions in the KBO.Lim has already made 38 appearances for the Swallows this season.

He has yet to give up a home run and has surrendered only 10 walks and a single HBP. Meanwhile, he has recorded 31 strikeouts, and opposing batters are hitting .145 against him. His sub-0.50 RIP is obviously testament to his dominance thus far.

And all this comes after a very, very solid 2008 campaign. Righties hit .287, and lefties .264, against him in his first season in Japan. He had a 1.29 RIP through 51 innings of work, and he watched 17 earned runs cross home plate. His season ending ERA was an even 3.00 on his way to an excellent 33 saves (for an underperforming team).

So it should be interesting to see if Lim can continue his push to drastically improve on last year’s very impressive tallies. He’s obviously off to an amazing start, and we here up in the Tokyo bleachers hope that the 33-year-old helps spearhead a second-half assault on second place in the Central League.

About Christopher Pellegrini

Christopher is a budding sabermetrician and long-time supporter of Tokyo's more lovable team, the Swallows. He has publicly volunteered, several times, that he plans to buy the team at some point in the future. When he finally runs the joint, it is likely that he will fine any player who swings at the first pitch or sac bunts (unless it's a pitcher, of course). Follow him on Twitter: @chrispellegrini