The Byung-Ho Park experiment has gone well for the Minnesota Twins, and it is roughly the only thing that has this season.
Last offseason there was a lot of intrigue in KBO prospect Byung-Ho Park. He was scouted by a majority of the teams in Major League Baseball. After posting 105 home runs in his last two season, MLB teams were looking for a prospect with batting power like Park’s.
The Minnesota Twins ended up winning the Park lottery, signing him to a four-year $12 million contract. Some did not know how Park’s skills would translate to the MLB as the competition in the KBO is nowhere near the level of the MLB.
Today Bleacher Report put together a list of their stock watch of the Rookie of the Year candidates. They have Park listed as the number 2 candidate in the American League, only behind Nomar Mazara, right fielder for the Rangers.
Here is what they had to say about Park.
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"Lee is a good Korean success story, but he’s no Byung Ho Park.The power that led to 105 home runs over Park’s last two seasons in the KBO has translated well to the majors. The 29-year-old has given the Minnesota Twins a .790 OPS and nine home runs, the most of any AL rookie.Park’s home runs have been easy on the eyes, too. According to ESPN Stats and Information, they’ve traveled an average of 421.1 feet. Only four players in the majors are averaging more distance on their dingers.Like Lee for the Mariners, Park has also played a solid first base for the Twins when Joe Mauer has needed a breather. He hasn’t yet booted a ball and is getting good ratings from the metrics.Also like Lee, however, consistency has not been Park’s strong suit. He swings and misses a lot, striking out in 32 percent of his plate appearances. He’s only hitting .224 with a .305 OBP, and has been slumping with just two hits in his last 25 at-bats.You know that one Bleacher Report dingbat who tabbed Park as the leading candidate for AL Rookie of the Year last week? He wants you to know it seemed like a good idea at the time."
This being maybe the only bright spot in the Twins season, Park is batting well. The risk involved in paying this sizeable contract to an overseas prospect has seemed to work out for the Twins so far.