All you need to know about Korean star and brand new Pirate Jung Ho Kang
All you need to know about Korean star, Jung Ho Kang
Update: Kang officially joined the Pirates on Friday, passing a physical Thursday and signing a four-year deal. Read our primer on Kang below:
On Monday it was revealed that the Pirates had won the right to negotiate with Korean shortstop, Jung-ho Kang, for $5,002,015. The team will now have the next 30 days to negotiate with the star of the Nexen Heroes.
While that's a killer name for a team, Kang's first club was even better: Hyundai Unicorns. (Unfortunately, the Unicorns went the way of the of the real Unicorns and no longer exist. They became the Heroes when Hyundai ran into financial problems.)
But beyond starring for some wonderfully named teams, what else do we know about the player?
He can rake
Last season, the 27-year-old hit .356/.459/.736 with 40 HR in only 117 games. He was second in the KBO in HR and on-base-percentage, third in RBI and fourth in average.
All together it looked like this:
Just loop those, project them on a wall and throw a little euro-techno behind them and you've got yourself the world's greatest discotech.
And during the World Baseball Classic, Kang did this:
While the home runs are flashy, there is some concern over how Kang's bat will translate to the Majors. Though he hit 40 home runs last season, he had never hit higher than .314 with 25 homers in his previous campaigns and the KBO is known as an offense-friendly league. Meanwhile, some scouts and pundits worry that Kang's power won't translate to the big league level.
He's got the glove
What helps makes those gaudy numbers stand out is that Kang plays shortstop. There have only been three players in Major League history to hit 40 or more home runs in a season and only seven different shortstops have hit .350. No one has managed to do both in the same season.
When he takes the field, Kang's glove is smooth as peanut butter or the "jazz" music that my Dad listens to:
There are scouts that think that his range will force him to second or third base, while others believe Kang should be given the chance to stick at the position as his bat could make up for any defensive shortcomings.
Get ready for these fan chants
While the Pirates will spend the next 30 days feverishly trying to ink Kang, baseball fans will spend the next 30 days trying to come up with clever puns on Kang's name.
There is the obvious Kang and Kodos connection from The Simpsons. Expect to see roughly 8.3 million clips of Kang saying "When I was a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball." (Relevant section at 3:51)
And for a player coming from a team named the Heroes, there will surely be some who will associate him with the time traveling Marvel villain, Kang the Conqueror:
(image via The ISB)
And if fans wanted to get into the spirit with some English soccer-style chants, they could do worse than re-appropriating "The Trolley Song" by singing "Kang, Kang, Kang goes the dinger, Dong, Dong, Dong goes the ball."
Now then, I must Secret Santa myself this Unicorns jersey.