Posted July. 27, 2015 07:17,
Watching him grow and develop here has been fun for everybody. I don`t think it surprised him. He`s probably the least surprised of anybody in this room. He believes he can play.
Manager Clint Hurdle of the Pittsburgh Pirates said when he was commenting on the recent performance of Kang Jung-ho (aged 28, photo) who is also known as the King of Peace. As the manager said, Kang has made a nice revive, overcoming the short-lived slump. He was guaranteed with an opportunity to run for the game and was selected as one of the prospective candidates for the Rookie of the Month.
Now that I have frequently played for the game, I feel comfortable to be at a batters box. I just try to focus on the game every day. It makes me feel wonderful to play every day, said Kang Jung-ho.
On Saturday, he had a single hit in three at-bats, making a hitting spree for the seven consecutive games. In 19 games that he had in July, a 0.364 batting average and a 0.978 on-base plus slugging percentage, both of which are the highest among rookie batters who have been at bat more than 70 in July. This has enabled his team to maintain the second place (winning rate of 0.577) out of the entire national league despite absence of key players. Given the contribution of players, Kang deserves the first place of the candidate list for the Rookie of the Month.
Odubel Herrera (aged 24, Philadelphia Phillies) is second to none, however. With his fifty-four at-bat, only 20 less than that of Kang, Herrera is recording the batting average of 0.373. He hit two home runs with seven RBIs, both of which are higher than Kang by one. As for pitchers, Chris Heston (aged 27, San Francisco Giants) who has played for four games in July with 1.32 ERA and two winnings is a close rival for Kang as well.
Up to date, Choi Hee-seop (aged 37, Kia) is the only one out of Korean Major League who has won the title of the rookie of the month. Choi was awarded with the title in April 2003. Among Asian players, Ichiro Suzuki (aged 42, Miami Marlins) grabbed the title for four times while Hideki Matsui (aged 41, retired) for one time.
For Kang Jung-ho, the title of the Rookie of the Year is up for grab as well. In Wins Above Replacement (WAR) that shows a players contribution for teams winning, he is recording 2.6, sharing the third place with other rookies in the national league. Given his recent upturn, the distance with Matt Duffy (aged 24, San Francisco Giants) who is standing at 3.0 seems not to be distant.