Park Hits 50th Homerun; Na and Kim Players to Watch in KBO

Major league scouts have been watching the burly 6′0″ 235 pound first baseman after the success of Jung-Ho Kang with the Pirates this season. Kang was the teammate of Park last year for the Nexen Heroes. While Kang hit 40 homeruns Park slugged 52. This year Park again hit more than 50 with his blast yesterday against the N.C. Dinos in their 4-1 win. The Nexon Heroes are in third place in the KBO but five games back of the Dinos. The top five teams make the playoffs in the KBO.

Park becomes the first player in KBO history to hit 50 or more homeruns in back to back seasons. Only Seung-Yeop Lee, who almost signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers has had two seasons of 50 or more homeruns but he did not hit them in consecutive years. He eventually played in Japan before returning to Korea and the Samsung Lions the last couple years. Park could finish with the most homeruns for the fourth consecutive season, also a first in the KBO.

Lee still has the record for most homeruns in a season with 56. Park still needs to hit seven homeruns in a little over ten games to break the record.

With Kang gone the Heroes have replaced him at shortstop with a young 19 year old rookie Ha-Seong Kim. After hitting .188 in a part time role last year as the backup for Kang, Kim is hitting .292 with 18 homeruns this year. Those numbers fall short of Kang, but at 19 years old Kim still has some developing to do. Watch out for him to become an impact player if he continues to progress.

One of my favorite players in the KBO is the 25 year old outfielder for the NC Dinos Sung-Bum Na. He seems to have improved on last year’s numbers when he hit .329 with 30 homeruns and 101 RBIs. This year he is hitting .335 with 28 homeruns and 124 RBIs. His walk to whiff ratio (30/111) is a cause for concern, but he is another player major league teams should be keeping an eye on. He hit in front of Eric Thames earlier in the season, but with the year Thames is having and teams hesitant to pitch to him the Dinos have moved Na to fifth in the order to give teams reason to pitch to Thames.

In a later post myworld will name some pitchers in the KBO that should be watched.

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