One of the most highly anticipated debuts this season is going to be when Jose Berrios finally cracks the starting rotation. We were a bit surprised by what Tyler Duffey was able to do in his first taste of the major leagues, but if/when Berrios does the same, we'll probably just shrug our shoulders and ask the Twins' front office, "Now, why wasn't he up with the team last year again?"
However, Berrios is no lock to start the season on the Opening Day roster. But, there is another player that we can't wait to see and that's Byung Ho Park, the new, very affordable Korean 1B/DH the Twins just signed this offseason. No one really knows what to expect because of the lack of Asian-born position players that have made the jump across the Pacific. Making comparisons to Tsuyoshi Nishioka is just foolish because Park and Nishioka are two completely different players as one was a slap-hitting middle infielder that had a career year just before being signed, whereas the other is a proven slugger year in and year out.
Up until this point, we could merely speculate on what Park would do in the majors this season since we're not fully sure how stats from the Korean Baseball Organization would translate to MLB. But, FanGraphs just spit out Steamer projections for Park's 2016 season and they're looking pretty reasonable, if not optimistic.
|Byung Ho Park||8.8||28.7||.254||.327||.479|
We know Park is going to strike out a lot (league average is roughly 20%), he'll still draw plenty of walks (league average is around 7.5%), and that power. Oh lord, that power. Perhaps the slugging percentage doesn't jump out at you, but if we find his isolated power (slugging percentage minus batting average), it's a very good .224 which last season would slot in right between Miguel Sano and Brian Dozier.
While looking at Park's projections for this season, I thought these numbers looked pretty familiar. The Twins already possess a similar hitter in terms of skill set, someone that became a forgotten man last year.
Park is basically a souped-up version of Oswaldo Arcia in that he'll give you a few more walks and a little more power, but also with a few more strikeouts. Now, I know Arcia left very much to be desired last season, but if he returned back to his form from 2013-2014 he would be yet another power hitter in the 2016 lineup. That is, if he can figure out some way to get past Eddie Rosario first (because let's be honest, Sano is going nowhere).
For 4 years and $12 million, bringing in a righthanded Oswaldo Arcia to DH is not a bad deal. Steamer has Park pegged at earning just over 1 WAR this season, which teams have been paying nearly twice as much as what Park will earn this season for that same amount of WAR. As long as he doesn't get overpowered by fastballs, the addition of Byung Ho Park to the roster continues to look like a wise investment for the Twins.