SOUTH HILLS – Jung Ho Kang is starting to look like quite the find and quite the steal given the paltry $17 million committed to him over four years.
The Pirates deserve much credit from scouts on the ground in South Korea — the Pirates sent in multiple scouts for multiple looks – to the analytics staff that tried to translate his gaudy KBO production to MLB numbers (while there had never been a KBO position player to transition to the majors there had been many KBO hitters to go to Japan and many Japanese hitters to come to MLB. It’s believed that two degrees of separation is how the translation was accomplished), to Neal Huntington and ownership for pulling the trigger.
Kang leads the Pirates in pitches seen per plate appearances (4.1) and is second in on-base percentage (.363) and has been great and a critical time since filling in for Josh Harrison, batting over .410 since July 6. Oh, he can handle third base and short, defensively.
Over his first 80 games, Kang produced two Wins Above Replacement. If you pro-rate that production over 160 games, Kang is a 4-win player, which is worth $20-some million per year on the open market. Not bad.
But was he even the best acquisition of the offseason? Continue Reading →