Spring Training Roundup: Park Parks One

Baseball is back and at Baseball America, that means it’s time again to track the progress of prospects. We’ll update you each day on how some of the game’s most prominent prospects fared at spring training.

Byung Ho Park is not likely to hit 50 homers in the majors as he did in back-to-back seasons in Korea, but on Sunday he showed the Twins a little of the tool they paid almost $25 million for this offseason.

Park, who got a $12 million, four-year deal with Minnesota after the Twins paid a $12.85 million posting fee to Nexen of the Korean Baseball Organization, blasted a grand slam off the Rays’ Jake Odorizzi in a 5-4 win Sunday.

“He put a nice swing on a fastball and hit it so high, I knew he hit it well, but I wasn’t sure,” Twins manager Paul Molitor told reporters. “We saw some balls get knocked down in batting practice. It shows you a little bit about his strength out there. I didn’t talk to him after, but I’m sure it’s a good feeling for him to get that one out of the way.”

Park is 2-for-11 with five RBIs so far this spring. The scouting report on Park is he’s a below average hitter and below average runner, but his plus power is his main appeal, especially with the dearth of righthanded power in the majors.

A talent evaluator who has seen Park said he’ll struggle against elite velocity—which he didn’t see much of in the KBO—and that a transition to the majors will take time, but that Park should make an impact, especially surrounded by an improved offense that includes the dynamic bats of Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario.


Nine newsmakers from Sunday’s action.

  1. Matt Duffy, 3b, Astros: Duffy, a 20th-round pick out of Tennessee in 2011 who has done nothing but hit, is part of a scrum fighting for Houston’s first base job. On Sunday, he blasted two homers in an 11-8 win over Pittsburgh. Duffy’s trying to stand out, but on Sunday, fellow first base candidates Tyler White (homer), A.J. Reed (3-for-5) and Jon Singleton (2-for-4, homer) also had terrific performances.
  1. Steven Moya, rf, Tigers: The Tigers’ 6-foot-7 power hitter slugged a two-run homer off the Marlins’ Jake Esch in a win over Miami. Moya’s long arms and long swing make consistent contact elusive, but his double-plus raw power is tantalizing.
  1. Andrew Knapp, dh, Phillies: Philadelphia’s No. 4 prospect and No. 96 overall, Knapp, a catcher, is more bat than glove at this point. On Sunday, he hit a three-run homer off the Yankees’ Chad Pinder in a 6-5 win.
  1. Hector Olivera, lf, Braves: The big-money Cuban signee has had a strong start at bat, ripping two more hits Sunday and again playing left field as Atlanta shifts the longtime infielder away from playing in the dirt.
  1. David Dahl, lf, Rockies: Dahl, the Rockies’ No. 2 prospect, came back from a splenectomy to have a solid second half in 2015. A tremendous defender and above-average hitter, Dahl was 2-for-5 Sunday with a homer in a win over the Reds.
  1. Jeff Hoffman, rhp; Kyle Freeland, lhp, Rockies: Two pitchers who represent the future of the Rockies rotation had impressive showings Sunday. Hoffman, the key part of the Troy Tulowitzki deal, struck out two in two scoreless innings, while Freeland, the Denver native who was the eighth overall pick in 2014, struck out three in two innings, with a homer by Phillip Ervin the only blemish.
  1. Franklin Barreto, ss, Athletics: The A’s top prospect, Barreto hit his second homer this spring, a solo shot off the Padres’ Nick Vincent.
  1. Dylan Bundy, rhp, Orioles: Bundy, who has pitched just 63 innings combined the past three seasons, is out of options and the Orioles are loathe to lose the No. 4 overall pick from 2011. So they’ll give him plenty of run this spring and hope he stays healthy. On Sunday, he pitched a scoreless inning and struck out one.
  1. Jairo Diaz, rhp, Rockies: Diaz, the Rockies’ No. 19 prospect, will have Tommy John surgery after a partial tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament. The converted catcher with the double-plus fastball showed much better control once he reached the majors and posted a 2.84 ERA in 19 innings in 2015.

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