Jung Ho Kang Set to Return to Pirates: Fantasy impact

The Pirates are expecting to get a boost in their infield with the return of Jung Ho Kang. How should fantasy owners react to the news?

The Pittsburgh Pirates started the season off hot, going 11-4 in their first 15 games. They have hit a bit of a skid, currently at 14-11. The Pirates will be getting a boost in their infield when they get the services of Jung Ho Kang back in the lineup. How does this effect fantasy baseball?

Kang played third base and shortstop in his first two seasons with the team. The Pirates are starting Colin Moran at third base, the prospect acquired in the Gerrit Cole trade. Jordy Mercer is manning shortstop.

Moran is hitting, .296 and 12 RBIs in 71 at-bats. Mercer, on the other hand, could see his playing time dwindle. He’s hitting .247 with zero home runs and five RBIs in 77 at-bats. Second baseman Josh Harrison is on the DL, giving Adam Frazier some playing time.

In his last season of playing time, Kang hit .255 with 21 home runs, 62 RBIs, 45 runs and a 79:36 K:BB ratio in 103 games, primarily as a third baseman.

Kang was unable to secure a work visa after being convicted of a DUI in South Korea. He missed the 2017 season as a result. Kang played some Dominican Winter League but he was cut when he failed to perform. He finally received his work visa and will be eligible to return to the Pirates in the next few weeks.

Kang will remain on the restricted list as he played in extended spring training games and works his way back to MLB readiness. MLB Trade Rumors reports that there is currently no timetable for how long he’ll be in Florida.

The third base pool as seen a few top players land on the DL including Anthony Rendon, Justin Turner, Adrian Beltre and Jake Lamb. The insertion of Kang into the pool gives fantasy owners another option to turn to whether it’s as a starting third baseman or corner infielder.

Fantasy owners shouldn’t rush to pick up Kang. He hasn’t played in over a year, not including the Dominican League. I want to see how he performs in the majors first. If he can catch up to MLB-level pitching and makes good contact, then maybe I would invest. If you need help now, you can’t afford to wait.