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Thursday, December 17, 2015

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUESl: WHAT TO MAKE OF HYUN-SOO KIM?

The winter is always the hottest time of the year for International signings in Major League Baseball and that continued on Wednesday when the Baltimore Orioles came to an agreement on a two-year deal worth $7 million for Korean first baseman Hyun-Soo Kim.  Kim follows in the footsteps of Jung-Ho Kang who prior to last season signed on with the Pittsburgh Pirates where he posted a very solid rookie campaign.  Like with Kim and the Orioles, Kang was a curiosity who put up some monster offensive numbers in the average, RBI, and home run categories in Korean but who also was looked at with a wary eye due to questions about the quality of competition there.  After an adjustment period at the start of 2015 however, Kang was very solid as a rookie as he batted .287 with 15 home runs and 58 RBI in only 421 at-bats.  Kang's success no doubt allowed the Orioles to feel a bit better about their investment in Kim who looks like a buy-low signing as a possible Chris Davis replacement at first. 

Now in terms of Kim's numbers, he too put up video-game statistics last season in Korea as he batted .326 with 28 home runs and 121 RBI.  Again we do have to downgrade the numbers some due to quality of competition but Kim clearly has some power to offer and he signed into a prime home run park in Baltimore which helps.  Strikeouts will likely cause the average to drop into the .260 range but 15 home runs and 60 RBI seem like the basement in terms of expected production this season with a good chance for some more.  Ultimately Kim looks like a late round upside play who could pay off if he adjusts quickly. 

 

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