Hands down the most talented player in the Korean Baseball Organization, shortstop Jung-Ho Kang might just be one step closer to a career in Major League Baseball.
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According to Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com, the Nexen Heros who Kang has played for his entire nine year career posted him on Monday, making him available to the highest bidding American team. From there, the highest bidding MLB team would need to etch out a contract with Kang after they had already paid his former team. The posting fee should not be too high though as it should land somewhere in the $5-$15 million range.
Even though he is a shortstop, Kang might be better suited to play elsewhere on the diamond. Defense did not appear to be a problem for him in Korea, but he was not exactly a standout and does not have the best range for a shortstop.
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Kang who is 27 years old had an absolutely huge year at the plate this past season. He hit .356 with a .459 OBP in 117 games for the club and smashed 40 home runs in total. Kang will finish his Korean career as a .298 hitter in 902 games with 139 career blasts.
Although these numbers are outstanding and by far the best in the KBO, it is tough to tell how well they will translate in America. The skill level in Korea seems to be a tick behind AAA baseball in America but still better than AA. The pitching is not great in Korea however, as the teams average 5.7 runs per game as opposed to the 4.1 averaged by MLB teams.
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Luckily for Kang, there is a low-supply and high demand for shortstops in the free agency market which may make him a hot commodity. CBS Sports reported on Monday three teams that may be interested in his services which are the New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics.
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Seeing how Kang performs will be important for MLB teams because if he plays well in America, it may open the door for even more Korean players in Major League Baseball.