One of the more intriguing prospects in the New York Yankees’ system, Hoy Jun Park is making strides in an extremely short amount of time.As part of the New York Yankees’ 2014 international spending spree, they inked 18-year-old shortstop Hoy Jun Park to a one-million dollar deal. A Korean born youngster, Park came over as a strict work in progress.
However, he possesses tremendous upside which has been shown in his one year in the United States. That upside has been enough to get him ranked as the 13th best prospect in the entire organization.
While lacking any form of power at this point, the now 20-year-old has impressed management with quickness, mobility, and a strong arm at the shortstop position. Charleston manager Luis Dorante called his defensive play “solid”, and the club hopes he can adapt to the second base position handily as well.
Starting off with the Pulaski Yankees in the Appalachian League (Rookie Ball), he hit .239 with five homers, 30 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, and three triples in 56 games. Although the average did not pop out, his on-base percentage was a stellar .351 and the positive aspects of his play forced the Yanks to move him right along to A-ball in Charleston.
Starting 2016 with the RiverDogs, Park has been a mainstay in the lineup. 16 stolen bases and seven triples have highlighted his play over 62 games thus far. Dorante continues to say that being “patient” is the key with a work in progress like this.
The learning curve resulted in 14 errors at the shortstop position one year ago yielding a .935 fielding percentage. However, second base has been a bit more kind as the slide over puts his percentage at .944 in 20 games.
PREVIOUS PROSPECT PROFILE: Miguel Andujar
Park’s .231 average still needs improvement and the organization would love it if he developed some serviceable power, but the hope is that more reps and experience develop a young kid who came over at such a young age.
Currently a 6’1″, 175 lb frame, the training staff wants him to add some strength to an already athletic build. Until then, the name of the game has been stressing the increased use of his lower half.
MLB Pipeline’s Scouting Grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 40 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45
As far as an eventual push to the bigs goes, the future looks unclear for Park. At the moment, he is trying to fine tune his skills in order to be a more than effective minor league ballplayer.
With the likes of Jorge Mateo and Kyle Holder sitting as promising studs in the farm system, and youngsters Didi Gregorius, Starlin Castro, and Rob Refsnyder proving to be formidable major league options, there is no sure path to the bigs for Park.
However, as is the case with anyone that resides in the minors. Injuries occur, trades go through, and spots open up.
Despite it being far down to the road, the best way for the 20-year-old to improve himself as a big league asset would be to learn multiple infield and possibly even outfield positions.
With the Yankees potentially being set with middle infield options in the Bronx for years to come, super-utility men come at a premium for a stabilized team.
There is a reason why he is at number 13. Park has the tools, and now he has to turn them into sheer results.
How about a fun fact? Park and Refsnyder were born in the same city. Now, it is simple. Take after your home native and you will be in the bigs in no time.