Byung-ho Park Becomes Third Player to hit 50 Home Runs in a KBO Season

Byung-ho Park became the third player in KBO history to hit 50 HRs in a season when he hit his 50th and 51st taters today. The other two to do it are Seung-Yuop Lee and Chong-soo Shim.

Lee is probably the best hitter in KBO history.  Aside from hitting 390 career HRs and counting in the KBO, he also hit 159 HRs in eight seasons in Japan’s NPB.  Shim hit 328 HRs in the KBO before his career was cut short at age 33 by back problems.

Just how good Byung-ho Park is is an open question.  He’s clearly got the most power of any player in the KBO, and he’s clearly good enough to move on to success in Japan’s NPB.  The question is whether he could play in MLB if the opportunity arose.

Offense was so extreme in KBO this year that I have to wonder whether his current 51 HR total, which leads the KBO by 13, is really that much better than his 2013 season when his 37 HRs led the league by eight, or for that matter 2012 when his 31 HRs led the league by 5.  Park’s 1.125 OPS is only second best in the league this year, some distance by teammate Jung-ho Kang‘s 1.181 OPS.

The Nexen Heroes clearly play in a great hitters’ park in what this year has been an extreme hitters’ league.  Aside from Park and Kang, the team also has Geon-chang Seo, whom I wrote about yesterday.  Yet, Nexen is not in first place, a game and a half of first place Samsung.

One thing is certain: Park has more raw power than any other player in his league by a significant margin.  That alone might merit an MLB team signing him to a contract should he become available.


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