An idea that I actually tossed out there following his April 30th bullpen appearance, lefty Hyeon-jong Yang was named the spot starter for the Texas Rangers during last night’s game against the Minnesota Twins. A former KBO star who primarily operated as a starting pitcher overseas, last night was still Yang’s first career start in the MLB.
While he was limited to just 3.1 innings of work, Yang had himself a dominant outing – which is honestly starting to become something we simply expect from the South Korean native.
Yang recorded 10 outs on the evening while allowing just five total baserunners, and one run via a Mitch Garver long ball in the second inning. What really stuck out about Yang’s performance last night was the rate in which he was generating swings and misses, despite not operating with a particularly high amount of velocity.
15 of Yang’s 66 pitches last night went down as “swings and misses”, and he left the game with eight total strikeouts. For a guy who’s fastball sits around 91-92 MPH on any given day – that’s an exceptional performance.
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Texas Rangers LHP Hyeon-jang Yang impressed once more during his first career start.
While Yang is still being ramped up to go deeper into ballgames, one would have to assume the Texas Rangers front office is rather happy with how their “Yang experiment” is going thus far. Initially signed to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training, I highly doubt the team’s management was expecting all that much out of the 33 year old in his first MLB season.
We’re only in May, and yet Yang is already making starts for the Rangers, ultimately helping the team win ballgames as well.
It’s still rather unclear what the Rangers plan is moving forward with Yang, he could be used as a “long-man” out of their bullpen, while his performance last night also warrants another look as a pure starting pitcher.
Personally speaking, I’d love to see him get another run in the rotation, hopefully with a longer leash in regards to his pitch count.
Regardless, if Yang keeps pitching the way he has been, it genuinely looks like he’ll go down as one of the steals of this year’s offseason.