Prospect Highlights

Video Highlights For Jung-Ho Kang

Video Highlights For Jung-Ho Kang
John Dreker

It was announced today that the Pittsburgh Pirates won the exclusive negotiating rights for Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang. They now have 30 days to work out a contract or he will have to wait another year before he can be posted again. Below are some videos of Kang to get yourself acquainted with the new(possibly) player.

Here is one video link of interest to Pirates fans because it also includes a pitcher they signed, Radhames Liz.

Here are highlights from KBO Highlights covering the 2013 season. This one is good because it has defensive highlights as well.

Here is more defense, with a strange beginning to the video.

Slow-motion hitting mechanics…or go to the next video if you just want to see homers.

If you have the time, watch all 40 of his home runs in one video.

  • BostonsCommon

    Haha, someone better explain to him what pimpin a HR is, and what results from it in MLB… hopefully nothing gets lost in translation.

  • William Wallace

    I couldn’t understand the narrative —sounded Chinese to me? Looks like Miggy.

  • John Janesko

    The hardest fastball I saw was 90mph (converted from kph) and the deepest part of any of the parks was 390. I would love to see his average flyball distance and also a spraychart showing how many homeruns would have left PNC. Any idea if this data is available? I’ll probably look into it tonight if I’m bored

    • John Dreker

      I hope you’re bored and let us know later!

    • Mike Adamson

      Man you guys are a buzz kill… I mean I’m thrilled even though I expect this ownership group just bid on him to pretend they were going to spend money!!! JK sorta.

    • John

      I don’t think that the 390 meant much on all but 2 of the homers in the the first video clip since the other homers were absolute bombs with one leaving the park in left field.

    • John Janesko

      This is the best thing I found, its a little on the pessimistic side but it discusses how the issue may not be that the fences are shorter, but that the balls are livelier. The craziest thing is they average 11 runs a game.
      http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a-bit-outside/story/jung-ho-kang-getting-ready-to-gamble-121914

      • John Janesko

        To add to this, I’m surprised at how much the reports on his defense vary. I’ve seen that the Pirates should put him at shortstop right off the bat and make Mercer utility, that hes best suited for third, that he doesn’t have the glove for third and second is the best option, and even right field was mentioned.

        • jaygray007

          he looks at least as good as… say…Jay Hay with the glove. you don’t necessarily feel great about him at SS, but a game here and there will be fine to watch.

          He isn’t the most talented in the field, but he really looks to give 110% and to have a lot of #want.

          • John Janesko

            I just feel that you can’t judge defense from a highlight reel, only from watching whole games to gauge range and such things.
            Also, something else to watch is that hes played 32 games at catcher. Since the one thing scouts agree on is his plus arm, he could have above average athleticism for catcher with plus offense for the position. Who knows what the plan is, but if Cervelli doesn’t quite work out that is the Pirates biggest weakness.

            • bucsws2014

              Agree. That’s a highlight reel. No routine plays that show whether he’s got the dreaded d’Arnaud double clutch or other flaws.

        • Lukas Sutton

          Whoever said they should start him and make Mercer a bench player should be shown tape from Mercer last year. Mercer will be the OD SS and should be.

      • John

        Here is a league link.
        http://www.mykbo.net/home

    • freddylang

      He was loading up and hitting some balls pretty deep. His signing would make spring training a lot more interesting.

  • honus1

    The pirates must see value (on offense and on defense) beyond his right handed pull power, which would die at PNC park.

  • R Edwards

    Does anyone know what his physical size is?

    • piratemike

      6″ 180lb

      • John Janesko

        I saw 210 as well, he may have bulked up, leading to the power increase and the drop off in steals.

  • jaygray007

    i’m no scout, and i’m not gonna watch all 40 homers, but his swing really reminded me of Josh Harrison.

    • bucsws2014

      The thing that most reminded me of Josh Harrison among those videos was the runner that got called same at 2b by planting his leg just short of the tag, then stabbing the bag with his other leg. That was pretty incredible.

      • jaygray007

        that whole video is nuts haha. lots of weird plays.

  • piraddict

    Looks like he can give Mercer a run for his money! Could be great addition as #25. I am really, really pleased that the Pirates addressed their biggest weakness, hi level depth at 3B/SS. Hope they can sign him!

  • bucsws2014

    If Kang makes it to MLB and hits 75% as well as he did in Korea (30 HR, 89 RBI), I’ll happily stop by Golden Pig on my way to PNC and bring him a bucket of bulgogi every game I attend.

  • Dave Mccombie

    I have watched a lot of tape of Javier Baez and I see a lot of similarities in their swings. I am guessing a lot of no doubt homeruns and a lot strikeouts to go with it.

    • NMR

      I can see the similarities, Dave, but Kang is much, much more balanced and controlled through his swing. Kang is actually quite rotational, getting a ton of torque out of the separation between his hips and shoulders (freeze the slow-mo around 0:17).

      He also doesn’t have anywhere close to 80-grade bat speed, as does Baez, so we’ll see.

    • Jack

      That was my first thought as well.

  • a few gap shots in there, but otherwise Kang looks like a dead-pull hitter. his range a SS looks to be average… he may be better suited to 3b or 1b?

  • st1300b

    It’s hard not to love watching this kid. Frankly I’d put him at short and let Jordy compete for the job. I really think Jordy’s defense was above average last year, and Barmes really rubbed off on him but this bat should be in the lineup as long as he’s productive. Keep in mind the average was like .345 so he’s not just hitting bombs.

  • KauaiCoffee

    Highlight films are misleading, of course, but one thing that should concern Pirate fans is Kang’s weird leg-kick. I understand Asians tend to use this odd kick, but it seems like so much extra movement that NL pitchers will be able to exploit it.

    • NMR

      That’s certainly the first thing that jumps out in his swing, but I think this type of leg kick is different from what we’re used to seeing in the States. Kang starts his sooner, and actually makes adjustments during the movement. Highly unusual, but you can definitely see him hesitate a split second on breaking balls so he doesn’t get too far out in front, and he gets himself into a good baseball position on foot strike.

      These are, as you note, highlights. Of course he’s going to look good in them. Should be interesting to see how this translates.

  • st1300b

    Maybe signing Kang is the key to getting his partner in crime Park, the 1b for the Heros to sign as well. We could use a power 1b and the guy is a hell of a fielder too… I love his bat speed.
    Kang in 2014 and Park in 2015??

  • freddylang

    A lot of moving parts in his swing and load. Steps in the bucket a little. Swings hard. You have to expect he will need to tone all that down in the MLB. He’s got a nice glove and hands and arm and appears to be pretty athletic…hopefully his range ends up being decent.

  • rburgh

    On the defense highlights, at about 1:25, he makes a play that is just unreal. Also the first highlight, where he gets the force at 3rd on a ball in the hole – that’s a very difficult play to make. His head is in the game, and he definitely has a hose.

    A very pessimistic projection of his KBO numbers would translate to .240/.305/.480. That doesn’t play very well at 3B (looks a lot like Pedro), but on the other hand he looks like he has a quick first step and so his 3B defense might be pretty good. His arm looks horribly overqualified for 2B.

    If the balls were juiced, that would make everyone in the field look slow because the ball comes off the bat faster.

    As for the leg kick, weren’t they crediting J.D. Martinez’s season to adding a leg kick to his approach? The leg kick isn’t bad per se, but it’s just different and baseball scouts HATE different.

    I fully expect him to start in AA or AAA and, if he looks solid there early, maybe Sean Rodriguez gets flipped for prospects.

    • John

      Somebody said he only has right handed pull power. Watch the 36 minute video of his 40 home runs and watch some of those shots to centerfield. The park is only 387 (118m) to dead center but there is a wall about 80 to 100 feet tall 10 feet behind the fence and he hits a low outside pitch at the top of that wall. I think its between the 12 to 15 minute mark on the video.

  • John
    • John Janesko

      Notice that his weight is listed at 211, I’m very interested to see how this guy translates to the majors.

  • Monsoon Harvard

    All this talk about how much of a hitter’s league this is should make everyone a lot more enthused about the signing of pitcher Radhames Liz. If this is such a hitting league, Liz sure put up some good numbers in it. It makes his good pitching results even better than they already show.

Prospect Highlights
John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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