BBB 2017 Top Prospect Countdown #30: Hoy Jun Park
Coming in at number 30 in the BBB’s second annual top prospect countdown where we release our top 30 prospects day-by-day is middle infield prospect Hoy Jun Park. Park signed with the Yankees in the summer of 2014 for a signing bonus of $1.2 million. The Yankees spending spree on international free agents that summer included names like Juan De Leon, Nelson Gomez, Dermis Garcia, and Wilkerman Garcia. Unfortunately, Park’s prospect status has continued to fall since joining the Yankees organization. We had Park ranked as our 21st best prospect last year, but this year, he just barely cracked the list. Park will need to improve upon his underwhelming 2016 season if he intends to stay on top 30 prospect boards going forward.
Standing at 6’1” and weighing 175 pounds, the soon to be 21-year-old prospect started his career at 19 with the Pulaski Yankees in rookie ball. While Park showed solid tools and appeared to be fluid defensively, the South Korean’s numbers were disappointing as he hit to just a .239 clip, but the left-handed hitter was able to post a solid on base percentage of .351.
“My main focus is to get on base,” Park told Yankees on Demand through an interpreter. I’ll do whatever it takes.”
Park entered 2016 with the Charleston RiverDogs in his first full season as a professional. Unfortunately, he endured more struggles at the plate mustering a .225/.336/.329 line with two home runs, 15 doubles, and 12 triples. Park did manage to swipe 32 bags in 35 attempts. Park will look to continue improving on his lackluster performance in 2016 as he should once again start the season with the Charleston RiverDogs.
Turning 21 on April 7, Park will likely begin 2017 where he left off in 2016 with the Charleston RiverDogs. If he performs, he could see himself being called up to the Tampa Yankees in the early going of this season. Park has begun working at both shortstop and second base, and his ability to competently adjust to the position may bode well for him in the future. Park received solid scouting grades when he was signed out of South Korea, with three plus tools. Here were his scouting grades at the time of his signing as he will look to live up to this potential.
His ability and willingness to move around in the infield is something that increases his value, and something that one of the Yankees top pitching prospects has taken notice of.
“(Park) has the ability to play shortstop as much as second base,” right-hander Domingo Acevedo said. “He’s going to develop. He’s going to be really good.”
As for his offense, he should continue to improve as he sees more professional pitchers. Park has a solid foundation of getting on base, and if he can combine that with more hits, he should move his way up in the rankings once again.
“(Park) has intriguing offensive potential with him too. He’s shown some ability to barrel balls, manage the strike zone,” senior writer at MLB.com Jim Callis said. “He’s not going to be a big power threat, but you’re getting the most out of his ability. If you turn him into a .260 hitter with 10 home runs, and a decent amount of walks, I think the Yankees would be happy with him. He’s got that potential, and he just needs some at-bats to get there.”
Park does have an uphill battle to getting to the Bronx as a middle infielder with prospects such as Gleyber Torres, Jorge Mateo, Wilkerman Garcia, and Tyler Wade ahead of him. He will also need to improve to put himself ahead of Yankee farmhands like Kyle Holder and Abiatal Avelino. After his struggles in his first two full seasons, Park will need to use 2017 to get on the right track towards the big leagues, or he could become a forgotten prospect going forward.
Article by: Chad RainesFollow @Chad_Rain