Hee-Seop Choi 2004: 132 OPS+
Six-foot-five, 235 lb. lefty-hitting first baseman Hee-Seop Choi is a native of Hwasun, South Korea. A well-regarded prospect, Choi was ranked as highly as number 22 in all of baseball, in Baseball America’s pre-2003 poll.
After signing with the Chicago Cubs through free agency, Choi made his professional debut in 2000, and his first major league appearance two seasons later. In 2002, in 24 games for the Cubs, Choi went nine-for-50 from the plate with two home runs. 2003 would see him hit .218 in 80 contests for Chicago, with eight homers and 28 RBI. After the 2003 campaign, the Cubs traded Choi with Mike Nannini to the Florida Marlins for Derrek Lee.
Choi hit .270/.388/.495 in 95 games for Florida in 2004, with 15 home runs and 40 RBI. His 132 OPS+ led the club despite his limited time, just ahead Miguel Cabrera‘s mark of 130. On April 10, Choi lifted two out of the park in a 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
At the trade deadline, the Marlins traded Choi with Bill Murphy and Brad Penny to the Dodgers for Juan Encarnacion, Paul Lo Duca, and Guillermo Mota. After slashing .238/.328/.419 for LA in just over a season with the club, Choi was selected off waivers by the Boston Red Sox, and later signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He never appeared in the majors for either club, and eventually signed with the Kia Tigers in the Korean Baseball Organization. In eight years there, he hit .281/.388/.479 with 100 home runs and 393 RBI.