8-2-21 – By Gary Morgan
The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Hoy Jun Park from the Yankees as part of the Clay Holmes deal. When he was originally signed as an 18 year old by the Yankees in the International signing period for 1.1 million dollars and was at the time seen as the 7th best in the field.
Yesterday he made his debut with the Pirates and recorded his first MLB hit in the form of a double to right field.
It’s been quite a journey for the 25 year old from Seoul South Korea and despite his versatility he was blocked by a sea of All Stars in New York. You often hear things like, this guy did all he could in AAA, and it’s hard to find an example of that statement being more true.
The thing is, he really didn’t do much until he got there.
His time on the way up was almost more promotion of attrition than achievement, it wasn’t really until this season specifically Scranton/Wilkes-Barre that things started to click, and click might be a bit too weak a description.
He started just murdering the ball. Power emerged that had never made itself apparent, contact numbers through the roof. In fact he led the Eastern League in just about every meaningful offensive metric. Meteoric doesn’t begin to describe how his season has gone.
As badly as the Yankees need lefty bats in their lineup, the acquisitions of Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo all but doomed Park to finish his season right where he was. Well, until the Pirates came calling.
He’s best suited as a SS or 2B but he can play all three outfield positions and for Ben Cherington this was a bit of a departure from the types of prospects he’s been looking for. To be fair, Hoy wasn’t the first like this. Tucupita Marcano was acquired from the Padres in the Adam Frazier deal, and he too is a versatile AAA guy poised to make the jump.
These guys are a signal that one way or another this team plans to have internal options in AAA next season. Some of those will come from internal promotion, some will come from acquisitions just like this.
Hoy may spend the rest of the season up here, maybe he and Marcano will switch places. One thing that’s for sure, they aren’t just going to sit here and let Kevin Newman, Cole Tucker, Rodolfo Castro or even Erik Gonzalez define the middle of the infield until their top end prospects are ready. For the first time this wasn’t just acquiring talent, this was acquiring talent close to competing for playing time.
They aren’t going to just wish Oneil Cruz into being an MLB short stop and pretend they’ve done enough to compete.
Look, Hoy Park could ultimately prove he isn’t any more an answer than Cole Tucker, but he also isn’t the only option they’ve brought in and hopefully he’s a symbol of turning the page to the MLB product meaning a bit more now as opposed to solely focusing on the just trying to get by.
Wouldn’t it be nice to find something here? Maybe when Nick Gonzales is ready he won’t be counted on to be a phenom from the first time he get’s PNC dirt on his shoes.