Read about the rise and fall of Kang Jung Ho, the South Korean shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Discover his impact on the team and future with the Pirates.
Kang Jung Ho, the South Korean shortstop, made his name known in the baseball world when he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015. Kang was an instant hit, hitting 15 home runs and 58 RBIs in his rookie year, leading the Pirates to the playoffs. However, his career with the Pirates was not without its challenges. In this article, we will discuss Kang Jung Ho’s career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, his legal issues, his return to the team, and his future with the Pirates.
Kang Jung Ho’s Career with the Pittsburgh Pirates
Kang Jung Ho’s arrival in Pittsburgh created a buzz among Pirates fans. The team’s management hoped that Kang would be a key player as they aimed for their first World Series title since 1979. Kang didn’t disappoint, as he quickly became a fan favourite, hitting .287 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs in his rookie year. He finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting behind Kris Bryant and Matt Duffy.
Kang’s success continued in 2016, as he hit .255 with 21 home runs and 62 RBIs. However, his season was cut short due to a leg injury. His injury and subsequent surgery sidelined him for the entire 2017 season. Kang returned to the Pirates in 2018 but struggled, hitting only .169 in 65 games. The Pirates ultimately released Kang after the 2019 season.
Despite his struggles towards the end of his tenure with the Pirates, Kang’s impact on the team was significant. He provided the team with a much-needed power bat while playing a solid defensive shortstop. His success on the field endeared him to the fans, and he quickly became a favourite among Pirates faithful.
Kang Jung Ho’s Legal Issues
Kang Jung Ho’s promising career with the Pirates was overshadowed by his off-field issues. In December 2016, Kang was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in South Korea. He was sentenced to eight months in prison, which was suspended for two years. The Pirates placed Kang on the restricted list, and he missed the entire 2017 season, as he was unable to obtain a work visa due to his legal troubles.
In May 2018, Kang was again arrested for DUI in South Korea. This time, he was sentenced to two years of probation and 300 hours of community service. The Pirates placed him on the restricted list once again, and he missed a significant portion of the 2018 season.
Kang’s legal issues had a significant impact on his career with the Pirates. He missed significant playing time and struggled upon his return to the team. His legal troubles also tarnished his reputation and cast a shadow over his future with the team.
Kang Jung Ho’s Return to the Pittsburgh Pirates
Kang Jung Ho made his return to the Pirates in 2018 after missing the entire 2017 season due to his legal troubles. His return was met with mixed reactions from fans and the team. Some fans were happy to see him back on the field, while others were disappointed with his off-field behaviour.
The Pirates gave Kang another chance, and he played in 65 games in 2018, hitting only .169 with six home runs and 17 RBIs. The team declined his option for the 2020 season, and Kang became a free agent.
Kang returned to South Korea to play in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) in 2020. He signed with the Kia Tigers and had a successful season, hitting .284 with 10 home runs and 41 RBIs in 86 games. The Pirates re-signed Kang to a minor league contract in January 2021, and he was invited to spring training. As of this writing, it is unclear if Kang will make the Pirates’ roster.