Korean Baseball Newsbeat
Monday, March 16, 2015
Partly because of his size, there are believers the power will migrate. Dan Farnsworth, a swing analyst for Fangraphs.com, predicted immediate stardom for Kang, just as he did for another unknown, Cuban hitter Jose Abreu.
The believers include the Pirates. Kang peppered the metal roof of batting cages beyond the left-field fence at a Pirate City back field early this spring. In his second spring at-bat, he homered to right-center against Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada.
While scouts doubt Kang has the range to stick at shortstop, the Pirates wanted the bat. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said he believes in Kang’s ability to hit and adjust. He believes in his power.
“Everyone who watches him take batting practice,” Huntington said, “is going to very quickly realize he can drive a baseball.”
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Not Carlos Correa, South Korea.
Putting a blanket statement on the level of talent in the KBO is an unwinnable situation. Both Nitkowski and Sadowski said that while there are guys there who could not crack a Double-A roster in the U.S., there are players, such as Ryu, who clearly have the talent to be difference makers in the majors.
“I don’t know that there’s a Triple-A team that could roll in and necessarily beat the Doosan Bears,” Nitkowski said. “Even to say that it’s Triple-A, I don’t think that’s necessarily fair. Maybe the rosters don’t run as deep. Maybe they don’t have Triple-A players one through nine, but one through six, one through seven, a lot of teams are really good. I really hesitate to put a number on it or a level on it.”
Sadowski echoes this view, citing Americans who go to Korea as they come down from the peak of their career with no major league teams willing to keep them. “It’s really hard to compare because those guys had major league tools at some point,” he said. “When teams get hurt and their replacements come in, they’re not being replaced by a Triple-A player or a guy who could play in the big leagues. They’re getting replaced by a younger guy who has only been playing two years of professional baseball or may be short on tools.”
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Nobody is sure what to expect of Kang. We’ll find out soon enough.
The easiest way to summarize the risk is this: Kang just finished second in the league in home runs. In third, with 37, was one Eric Thames. Thames also finished with a four-digit OPS, and in North American Triple-A, he slugged .506. Thames, in the majors, has slugged .431. Meanwhile, Yamaico Navarro just hit 31 homers in Korea, with an OPS of .969. He was worse than that in Triple-A, and he never did anything in the bigs. This is the evidence that the KBO is relatively low on overall talent: Thames has mashed there. Navarro has mashed there. Brett Pill, Jorge Cantu, and Felix Pie just had strong seasons. The best pitchers in Korea aren’t the best pitchers in the States, and the worst pitchers in Korea might not even be professionals in the States.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Who is Jeong-ho Kang?
Then there’s Jeong-ho Kang, the 27-year-old Korean who intrigues the Mets enough that they have scouted him in person and on video and convened earlier this week at the Winter Meetings — at the Mets’ behest — with Kang’s agent Alan Nero. Cabrera also is represented by Nero, yet the Mets’ interest lies primarily with Kang.
Monday, December 08, 2014
Kang has consistently put up huge numbers in Korea and posted an amazing .364/.457/.733 slash line in 2014 for the Nexen Heores, hitting 39 home runs in 116 games. The big question is how those numbers translate, which is why he could be viewed as a bargain by some.
Yes, that is the question. Any speculation on how this fellow’s skills translate?
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