May 23, 2021

Jay Seo: Former Korean Born Mets Pitcher (2002-2005)

Jae Weong Seo was born May 24, 1977 in Gwangju, South Korea. He brought his South Koren Inha University team all the way to a Korean College championship in 1997. He pitched one season in the Korean Baseball league before getting signed by the New York Mets in 1998.

He went 3-1 with a 2.31 ERA for the St. Lucie Mets at the A ball level that season. The next year he was 2-0 & needed reconstructive elbow surgery missing all of the 2000 season.

The surgery took a lot of speed off his fastball & although he had a good change it effected his pitching. At times he showed good control when he was pitching well other times he struggled. He got to the Mets staff by 2002 for one game after a 6-9 minor league season.

In 2003 he made the Mets rotation debuting against the Montreal Expos on April 6th earning no decision after allowing three runs over 4.2 innings. On April 17th he earned his first win of the year, it came in Pittsburgh in a 7-2 victory.

At the end of May he started a personal four game win streak pitching eight innings to beat the Atlanta Braves 4-2. He then won a 3-2 squeaker against the Seattle Mariners & an 8-2 victory in Texas over the Rangers, both of those outings lasted 7 innings.

On June 17th, he went into Mets history combining with David Weathers & Armando Benitez to throw the 25th one hitter in Mets history. Seo allowed a base hit to Juan Encarnacion in the 5th inning. He went into the 7th inning seven inning,  striking out four & walking no one before being relieved by Manager Art Howe. It came in front of  just 10,000 South Florida fans.

The Mets went on to win the game 5-0 as David Weathers & Armondo Benitez combined with Seo on the 25th one hitter in Mets history. The one hitter lowered his ERA to 2.66 one of the best on the staff. Seo would be streaky the rest of the way, losing six in a row then winning three straight before losing another four straight.

He started out 2004 going 0-3 but battled to best his record at 4-5 at the end of June. Things just got worse for him as he lost five straight not earning another victory untiol his last outing of the year. He finished up the 2004 season at 5-10 with a 4.90 ERA. In 2005 he began the year at AAA Norfolk getting called up in early August.

He was popular in Flushing with the large Korean population, as many of his native people would come to watch him pitch.

Unfortunately he did not get along well with Mets pitching Coach Rick Peterson, who tried to keep changing his pitching style to make up for his lack of a good fastball.
He finally seemed to use Peterson’s advice and developed a splitter & good slider.

He soon had the most success of his career, going 8-2 in 2005 including a six game personal winning streak starting in early May. He then missed two months of action but when he returned went 4-0 in August. On the year he posted a career best 2.59 ERA in 90 innings pitched over 14 starts.

In January of 2006 he was traded with Tim Hamulack to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Duaner Sanchez and Steve Schmoll.

Seo would struggle going 3-12 with a 5.33 ERA pitching for the Dodgers & Tampa Rays that season. In 2007 he pitched in just eleven games closing out his big league career.

In six seasons he was 28-40 with a 4.60 ERA340 strike outs 184 walks in 606 innings of work in 118 games pitched 102 starts.

He pitched for South Korea in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, pitching six scoreless innings against Japan in the semi finals.

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