Fantasy Baseball StockWatch: Pirates IF Jung-Ho Kang

Updated: January 12, 2015

The Pittsburgh Pirates are nearing a four-year deal with Korean infielder Jeong-Ho Kang, who they won the rights to negotiate with a $5 million posting fee last month. What will this mean for fantasy baseball purposes?

Kang lit up the Korean Baseball Organization last season to the tune of a .356/.459/.739 batting line and 40 home runs.

Some scouts compare the KBO to Double-A and doubt that Kang is anything more than an acceptable utilityman with a little pop. There’s also the chance that Kang blossoms into a power-hitting star shortstop.

On top of all that, the Pirates already have a pretty good shortstop in Jordy Mercer, so Kang may have to settle for a Josh Harrison-type utility role this year.

Projecting a fantasy baseball stat line for Kang is a difficult endeavor, but we came up with a .249/.311/.401 triple-slash with 11 homers and three steals in 345 plate appearances. It’s definitely a hedge, as his ceiling could be more like a .275 average with 25 homers and a floor of not even being able to crack the Pirates roster.

Kang is someone to spend a last-round pick on as a lottery ticket in deep-mixed leagues. In keeper leagues with farm spots, he could be stashed until we get a better idea of what he’s going to be.

We knocked a sizable chunk off Mercer’s projections, which dropped him down a tier in our preseason shortstop rankings. Mercer is best left for NL-only leagues, where grabbing Kang as a handcuff might work out.

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