Monday, January 12, 2009

Top 15 Hitters: #6 Kyeong Kang

Kyeong KangKyeong Kang
6'0'' 200 lbs DOB: 2/6/88
Bats: Left | Throws: Left
2008: Hudson Valley
Acquired: 2006, 15th round, 439th overall

One of the last ever draft-and-follow players(MLB put an end to that possibility with the 2007 draft), Kang has come along slowly so far, but he'll be sent to full-season ball in 2008 and is a breakout candidate, even controlling for the fact that he'll be 21 in low-A.

Originally from South Korea, Kang attended high school in Georgia and became the first from his native country to be drafted into professional baseball. He spent 2007 with Princeton before moving up to Hudson Valley in 2008. There, he hit .278/.338/.463, including 15 doubles, 7 triples, and 6 home runs. Also keep in mind that Hudson Valley's home stadium is generally regarded as a pitcher's park, and the statistics reflect that: At home, Kang's line was just .231/.312/.347; on the road, he hit .321/.363/.567. Of course the stadium isn't the only factor, but it'll be interesting to see how his splits are in Bowling Green next year(of course, we won't have much data to determine whether BG's home park leans hitter- or pitcher-friendly).

Kang doesn't have a standout tool, but he has above-average power and could develop into a 20-25 HR threat down the line. He probably won't be able to post .300 batting averages on a regular basis, but he gets his fair share of hits and will settle in the .270-.290 range each year. His on-base skills aren't anything special, and his walk rate actually regressed from '07 to '08. He has decent speed, but he's not a stolen base threat. And while he played CF for the Renegades, he'll have to shift to a corner outfield spot, where he'd be an above-average defender.

Kang will be old for his league again in 2009, and even if he hits very well, the Rays might leave him in the SAL the whole year. For me, the two things I want to see: a) his power continue to translate into games, and as a result, a 20-homerun season, and b) his walk rate improve while his strikeout rate stays the same, and for him to get his on-base percentage over .350.


  1. Hudson Valley is not pitcher's park any longer.

    His primary posion is LF/RF.

  2. Here are Rays affiliate park factors:

    The one thing that stands out about Hudson Valley is how much it holds down homeruns. If you look at the 3-year numbers, everything else is fairly neutral, except for an above average rate of doubles.

  3. As the official scorer of the Renegades for 2008 and the media relations assistant/baseball ops assistant that season, I want to point out the ONLY games he played CF is when he was the only option due to injuries. That duty went mostly to Anthony Scelfo after the loss of Jason Appel (now released).

    Kang primarily played in left, and that's where he belongs. His arm is good but isn't good enough for RF. He's an incredibly disciplined individual and a pleasure to deal with as an individual. I look forward to seeing him play for Korea during the 2012 WBC as well as in the bigs in 2011.

  4. If Kang gets 53 plate appearances in the next 11 games, he will qualify for the league leaderboard in rate stats, where he would be 7th in OBP, SLG, and OPS, and tied for 10th in AVG. Pretty good for a 16-team league.