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Can Newly Acquired Hoy Park Be a Mainstay in Pirates Lineup?



Pittsburgh Pirates-Prospects

During the 2021 trade deadline, Pittsburgh Pirates fans were fairly certain at least two players — infielder Adam Frazier and reliever Richard Rodriguez — would be dealt, and that’s exactly what happened, with Rodriguez going to Atlanta and Frazier going to San Diego.

Relief pitcher Clay Holmes, however, was not expected to be on the move, and he certainly wouldn’t have been expected to net any strong prospects in return, but that also appears to have happened in the Holmes trade to the New York Yankees.

In the Holmes trade, the Pirates received two infielders, Diego Castillo and the subject of this article, Hoy Park. Castillo has a 40+ future value according to FanGraphs, while Hoy Park has a 40 future value.

Park is a 25-year-old infielder from Seoul, South Korea, and was signed by the Yankees in 2014. Back in 2015, FanGraphs had this to say about Park:

“Park is a plus runner and lefty hitter that has the skills to stick at short and the active swing that’s common overseas, but had some trouble against top arms in instructs.”

This year, Park really hit his stride in the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate where he slashed .327/.475/.567, had an OPS of 1.042, wOBA of .452, and a wRC+ of 179. From all accounts, he was absolutely tearing the cover off of the ball with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Fast forward a few months later, and he is now in a Pirates uniform where he could potentially be that stop-gap the Pirates need until players like 2020 first-round pick Nick Gonzales are ready to get the call.

Unless the Pirates find more of a speedster to take over the lead off spot, Park could be calling that spot in the Pirates lineup home for a while. While he does not project to win multiple MVPs or be an annual All-Star, Park’s .273 average through his first 10 MLB games feels sustainable after his Triple-A season, and his MLB walk rate (currently 5.6%) should increase to something more closely resembling his minor league average of about 13%.

He’s not just a slap hitter, either. In the very short sample size of Park’s Pirates career, more than half of his hits coming by way of the XBH variety and carries a .310 AVG in 29 ABs. Like I said, this is a very small sample size, and until we see a full season under his belt, I will refrain from leaning either way on an opinion. Still, with Park’s versatility and what seems to be a very decent hit tool, I would not be shocked if he is a mainstay for a little while in Pittsburgh.

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