The Pittsburgh Pirates made a splash on the international market this offseason when they signed South Korean infielder Jung Ho Kang. Fresh off a 40 home run season in the KBO league, many (MLB fantasy owners included) wondered how Kang’s skills would translate to the American game. Though he almost assuredly will not match the power numbers he put up in Korea, Kang has enjoyed a nice start with the bat in Pittsburgh. In 22 game he is slashing .309/.361/.491 along with two homers and nine RBI.
Kang is currently available in most leagues, making now a good time for owners to decide if they want to take a shot on him. In an encouraging sign, the infielder has been heating up recently. After batting an unspectacular .269 in April, Kang has hit for .345 so far in May.
His main downside, particularly for fantasy purposes, has been inconsistent playing time. Kang’s appearances have been a bit erratic, but that may be remedied if he continues to swing a hot bat. Initially splitting time with Josh Harrison at third base, Kang has been getting the nod more often recently in light of Harrison’s struggles. An All-Star and breakout player in 2014, Harrison has been a major disappointment in the current campaign, batting a paltry .181.
Kang’s present opportunity also presents an opportunity to fantasy owners. He may possess both 3B and SS eligibility in your league, which would lend him additional appeal. Shortstop is, of course, one of the thinner positions in fantasy baseball, so unless you’re really happy with your starting shortstop or don’t have a roster spot to spare, you might consider taking a flyer on Kang.