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MLB teams are lining up to sign slugging SS Kang Jung-ho
By The Korea Times Los Angeles staff
27-year-old South Korean star shortstop Kang Jung-ho is most likely on his way to the U.S. to make the move from the Korea Baseball Organization to Major League Baseball for the 2015 season.
Although his current team, the Nexen Heroes, is currently finishing up the KBO postseason, Kang will be eligible to take is talents overseas once the season is over.
“The Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, Kansas City Royals, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks have scouted Kang in Korea,” according to a Global Sporting Integration report.
During the 2014 KBO regular season, Kang batted .365 with 40 home runs and 117 RBIs — stats that are almost unfathomable for a middle infielder at any level. Such numbers, if duplicated in the U.S., would put him on par with baseball’s elite offensive players such as Mike Trout or Nelson Cruz.
Baseball scouts are most likely approaching him with caution though because a similar performance in the MLB is unlikely. Not to say that the KBO does not host quality players, but the standard of talent in the MLB is the highest in the world.
An unnamed MLB scout addressed this issue in the same GSI report:
“I think Kang has a functional arm at SS, but he may be better suited at 3B or RF. He doesn’t have the range to play SS and I don’t think he has the glove to play 3B. He may be able to play RF but that position will require better offensive production. He certainly has the arm to play RF.”
Regardless, Kang is immensely talented despite the skepticism and has even been dubbed “the Korean A-Rod” for his offensive prowess by Korean press.
Fellow South Korean major league player Ryu Hyun-jin claimed the two were “best friends” and expressed interest in playing alongside him.
“The Dodgers would win many more games if Kang Jung-ho joined the team,” said Ryu during a South Korean press conference.
It it probably safe to say the the Korean American community would love to see what this duo would be able to accomplish together.