Pittsburgh Pirates’ infielder Jung Ho Kang has been named the National League Rookie of the Year for the month of July.

In 25 games last month, he had a .379/.443/.621 slash line, with 18 runs scored, eight doubles, two triples and three homers. It was nearly double the production Kang put up in June, when he had a .596 OPS over 25 games.

On the season, he has a .294/.367/.454 slash line in 88 games, with 42 starts at third base and 27 at shortstop. According to Baseball-Reference, Kang’s 3.5 WAR is the best total on the Pirates.

The last Pirates’ player to win the award was Gerrit Cole back in September 2013. The last Pirates’ hitter to win the award was Pedro Alvarez back in September 2010.

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18 COMMENTS

    • Pillbo, I think it will all work itself out. I’m guessing Kang won’t stay this hot but you never know. Harrison will be able to play RF against some lefties and Kang will also spell mercer and Harrison, and mercer or Harrison can rest walker a little down the stretch. Kang will play plenty. I also like Kang starting some games and mercer coming in on defense. It will be a huge luxury if everyone can get healthy.

      • Kang has made mercer an expendable, tradeable piece this offseason. Much in the same vein as snider. With younger cheaper players in the minors as backup options and kang signed to a four year deal I expect to see mercer moved in the off season. As for harrison getting slotted back into third as a regular will depend on how well ramirez is hitting, no doubt josh is here long term and probably at third as he should be, in the short term I.e. the next two months into october he best serves the pirates by doing what he’s best at, being a super u who can play almost anywhere and be productive.

        • Aram can grab some bench when everyone comes back. I don’t see any reason to get rid of mercer. Then again, if the deal is right this offseason…

            • I don’t think a solid defensive SS that can put up a .700 ops is ever expendable in today’s game. No matter how much depth you think you have. You can’t deal him unless someone give you a lot in return.

              • everybody on the team now is not going to be on the team next year. Most likley to go are pedro and mercer. Why do you think the pirates have spent so much time and money developing a strong farm system? Small market teams have to have a pipleline from the minors to the majors so when a player gets too expensive to keep they have a solid alternative waiting in the wings. I don’t get attached to any players for just that reason, I’m a pirates fan not necessarily a player fan, I like all the players the pirates have (some more than others) I also realize they will be in the burgh for at most six years. Sad but true.

                • Agreed. My big thing with Mercer is that there are so few even decent shortstops and he is under control so unless he is bringing some nice return he can be a better Clint Barmes for a year or two. Mercer is still dirt cheap and there is no SS at the top of the minors who is ready to go. Harrison is not necessarily an ideal 3B and I love Kang at 3B so Mercer is still a nice fit that makes the lineup one of the most versatile in the majors when they are all healthy.

                  • Could go either way with mercer, while he is cheap he’s not as cheap as a minor league option and it’s going to be real hard to keep a bat as consistent as kang out of the lineup going forward. I still say the best option is mercer as a defensive backup this year and a possible trade candidate this winter.

  1. Although we have a few high draft picks or high profile prospects who are struggling (Joe, Newman, Kramer, Heredia to name a few) and we lost 3-4 pitchers to TJS, overall I think the system is stronger this year vs. last year It is reflected in the overall success of all the teams from a W-L perspective, although that is unintentional – as winning is secondary to player development. But if you don’t have good pitching, you are going to really struggle. With the exception of the DSL Team, Bristol, and at times Bradenton, almost all of the other system teams had pretty solid pitching – which makes all the difference.

  2. Bizarre stat I noticed over the weekend….Evan Gattis of the Astros – 6’4″ 260 and not exactly fast, even for his size. Coming into this season, he had one career triple. This year? 7 triples! Did the outfielders just fall down on his 7 triples?

  3. Kang is good. He’s got a good swing, a good eye, and the ball absolutely jumps off his bat. Pedro is the only guy on the team capable of hitting it harder, and Kang does it with so much more consistency.

    By the way, I checked up on Byung-ho Park, Nexen’s first baseman, and he’s putting up the sort of average this year that Kang posted last year in the KBO, but he has more power and draws more walks. I really think the Bucs need to make a significant bid to get a chance at him this offseason when he posts.

  4. Wow, that 1.064 is phenomenal! We basically went out and signed Troy Tolowitski to play SS for us at $4M a season. Clearly, this isn’t a fluke. This may turn out to be a transformational signing. Neal is GM OY too.

      • How bout both? I am going to go out on a limb here, for the record, and state my belief that Kang will be a .900+ OPS player here in Pittsburgh.

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