May 10, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Hurdle (left) greets shortstop Kang (27) after Kang hit a solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jung Ho Kang belted a solo home run and later drove in the winning run during a 2-for-4 performance in the Pirates 4-3 win over the Cardinals on Sunday. For a fan base that found itself divided by his signing to begin with, the encouraging day was but the latest in a series of encouraging days. This one carried much more weight, coming in a series-clinching win against a hated St. Louis Cardinals rival. Accordingly so, the buzz around Kang is more than palpable at this point among Pirate fans. But how is he doing it? I took a look at many factors when attempting to answer this question, and found a lot to get excited about.
First, let’s set the table with a look at Kang’s traditional batting stats split between April and May.
It is less than two full weeks into May, and Kang already has a comparable amount of plate appearances in May to his April trips to the dish. The difference in results is staggering, including an otherworldly .727 slugging percentage. This more than anything can tell us a bit more about Kang’s improvement, as it shows that he is driving the ball more and turning singles into doubles and potential doubles into home runs.
Now that we have our baseline, let’s see how Kang built that incredible May slashline.
Next: A look at Kang's plate discipline