The most notable move the Minnesota Twins made during the offseason was the addition of Korean first baseman Byung-ho Park. The two-time KBO MVP topped 50 home runs in each of his last two seasons, with 100 or more RBI in four straight seasons, but it was worth wondering if his production would translate with the move to the United States.
Thus far, Park has mostly passed the test. He hit his seventh home run of the season Tuesday night, and Wednesday night he got a hit for the fifth straight game. Park continues to strike out a lot, with two on Wednesday night to give him 27 so far this season in 79 at-bats, which puts a ceiling on his batting average (.253 so far).
Park’s home run in Houston on Tuesday night was to right field, and Hit Tracker Online.com shows his power to all fields. He has hit two home runs to the opposite field, two to center and three to left field, with a good overall fly ball rate (43.4 percent) and high marks in hard hit rate (45.3 percent) and exit velocity.
Another concern is Park’s lack of RBI (12) to go along with his home runs. All seven of his home runs have been solo, which is a product of everyone besides Joe Mauer ahead of him in the lineup struggling to get on base consistently. Bad fortune has also played a role, with Miguel Sano failing to keep his foot on second base after a sure double Tuesday night and being tagged out ahead of Park’s home run. Brian Dozier, who hits either leadoff or second in the Twins’ lineup, has shown signs of life by reaching base seven times over the just-finished three game series against the Houston Astros. In short, Park’s RBI opportunities should increase going forward.
Park is available in over half of Yahoo! leagues right now. Major league pitching getting some advanced scouting on him is a concern, which creates downside potential. But with legitimate 20-25 home run power and untapped RBI upside over the rest of the season, Park is absolutely a fantasy asset in applicable leagues over the rest of 2016.