Pittsburgh Pirates News and Notes: Kramer, Kang, Gold Gloves

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Here is some news and notes on the Pittsburgh Pirates from the last few days.  We will be looking at Kevin Kramer, Jung-Ho Kang, and some minor league gold gloves.

In 2015, the Pittsburgh Pirates took UCLA infielder Kevin Kramer in the second round.  Kramer was the Bruins shortstop until he received shoulder surgery.  He then transitioned to second base as he recovered.  The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him right after taking shortstop Kevin Newman with their first pick, so it seemed logical that Kramer would be his double-play partner down the road. However, it was announced today via Pirates Prospects, Kramer would be seeing time at shortstop in the Arizona Fall League.

This, of course, raises questions about why.  Are the Bucs considering dangling one of their top shortstop prospects in a deal this fall?  Doubtful.  They are likely more or less trying to see if he can play the position.  One thing about the Pirates is that they like their players to be able to play multiple positions.  Kramer has the athleticism to do so.  With his bat being his best tool, it will be important to get him reps at multiple positions, this way his bat can be in the lineup more down the road.

Jung-Ho Kang

The biggest loss for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017 occurred when Jung-Ho Kang was denied access back into the United States.  The middle of the order third baseman would have provided a much needed consistent power presence in the lineup.  He also would have helped lengthen the Bucs lineup.  It also hurt the bench, as a player like David Freese was now shifted off the bench and into an everyday role.

It seems that Kang could be taking a step toward reinstatement for next season.  The Pittsburgh Pirates were able to work with the Dominican Winter League and get him on a roster.  He will play for the Aguilas Cibaenas.  Today Kang reported to the team according to John Dreker at Pirates Prospects.  This means that he was indeed allowed to enter the Dominican.  If he continues to stay out of trouble, especially in the Dominican, it could help his case to be allowed access back into the US next season.

Next: Prospect Stats 16-20

Gold Gloves

The Pittsburgh Pirates had two prospects win minor league gold gloves this year.  The minor league gold gloves are not given to players at each level, but rather across all levels in the minors, so in total only nine are given the award.  Ke’Bryan Hayes won a Gold Glove at third base.  Hayes played at High-A Bradenton all season.  He logged 108 games at third base this year and made eight errors. Furthermore, he had the highest fielding percentage at third base in the league. Edwin Espinal won the award at first base.  He, of course, played across two levels of minor league ball at AA and AAA. Espinal did not make a single error all season in his 108 total games played across both levels.