In this week’s Farm Report, we will take a look at infielder Ji-Hwan Bae. Bae originally was an Atlanta Brave by way of South Korea, but after an investigation in 2017, the MLB voided the contract due to a misleading amount of money paid to Bae. In 2018 the Pirates snagged the young Korean speedster for a signing bonus of 1.25 million.
In 2018, Bae played rookie A ball for the Pirates, where he played in 35 games, and he had a slash line of .271/.362/.349. That year, he stole ten bases while getting caught four times, which is around a 71% success rate.
On the defensive side of the ball, he played in 274 innings, where 268.0 was spent at shortstop. Bae had a sub-par year with a .882 fielding percentage and an RF/9 of 3.76.
In 2019, it all started to fall in place for Bae. His slash line improved with a .323/.403/.430 as well as a .833, which is 122 points better than the previous year. In the 86 games played for the lower A ball affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bae stole 31 bases on 42 attempts (74% success rate), making him tied for fourth in the SAL league.
On the defensive side of things, Bae spent a total of 660 innings on the field, 380 on second base and 280 at the shortstop position. Bae fared better at second base having only committed one error, 77 putouts, 90 assists, all on a .994 fielding percentage. Bae’s RF/9 improved as well with a 3.96.
Coming into the new year, MLB Pipeline ranked Bae as the 9th best second base prospect as well as giving him a 70 rating overall for his speed. This year, you will see Bae most likely start out at the advanced A affiliate of the Pirates. If he can develop even more on the base paths and continue to develop his swing, you could see him end up in AA with the Altoona Curve before the year is up. At age 20, Ji-Hwan Bae has a tremendously bright future.
Photo Credit: Bucs Dugout