A little over a month after being dropped from the Minnesota Twins’ roster Park is suddenly showing off the power that the club was looking for when they paid a $12.85 million fee to sign the Korean slugger.
Park hit his fourth home run of the spring Monday, hammering a two-run blast in the fifth inning off Francisco Liriano and powering the Twins to an 8-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Just a few weeks ago the Blue Jays — like every MLB club — had a chance to claim him.
The former KBO home run champ has responded with a seismic spring.
He leads the Twins with 13 hits and four home runs in 33 at-bats, and emerged from Tuesday’s tussle with the Rays hitting .394 with a .818 slugging percentage.
He’s walking too.
Park — who seemed so overmatched by big-league pitching just a season ago — has five walks and nine strikeouts after striking out 80 times in just 215 at-bats as a rookie.
He hit .191 with 12 home runs and appeared in just 62 games before being optioned to Triple-A Rochester as a rookie despite flashing some tantalizing power early in the season, before a nagging wrist issue ended his season.
Park’s resurgence could be enough to unseat Kennys Vargas, who was expected to open the season as the Twins’ designated hitter.
Vargas went just 1-for-13 in spring training before leaving the Twins to join Puerto Rico for the World Baseball Classic.
He went 2-for-5 with a home run in Puerto Rico’s win over Venezuela on Sunday, setting up a showdown for the DH spot once he returns.