After the past few years, it is safe to say that there is now a KC Royals Way. Much like the Cardinal Way, the Royals have a definite style of player that they look for. Offensively, that is a player who makes contact, plays excellent defense and has gap power. Essentially, they are after hitters that truly fit Kauffman Stadium.
Even though Alex Gordon or Jason Heyward would be considered the prototypical Royals player, there is another name on the market who is not getting nearly the same attention. Korean outfielder Hyeon-Soo Kim is eligible for free agency, and is looking to come stateside to continue his baseball career. Even though he is not considered to be the same type of player that Jung-Ho Kang or Byung-Ho Park, Kim is certainly an interesting player.
According to one scout that has watched Kim, he has decent power with excellent plate discipline and an uncanny ability to put the bat on the ball. Or, as that same scout said, Kim has “a Royals-type offensive profile.”
Last season, in his tenth year for the Doosan Bears, Kim produced a .326/.438/.541 batting line, hitting 28 home runs and 26 doubles. Even though he is not considered to have blazing speed, Kim did manage to steal eleven bases. He has even displayed some defensive flexibility last season, as he occasionally saw time at first base as well as left field.
As a natural left fielder, should the KC Royals sign Hyeon-Soo Kim, that would likely mean that Alex Gordon is heading elsewhere. Kim is also considered to be in that second tier of corner outfielders, after the Justin Upton types. Add in the question as to how well his game would translate to the major leagues, and Kim could potentially fit into the Royals payroll, should they elect not to retain Gordon.
However, that ability to adjust to the majors may not be as big of a question mark. Given that his offensive profile is predicated upon his ability to make contact and have a stellar sense of the strike zone, Kim should be able to produce after a minimal adjustment period. In fact, that profile seems to be, as that scout mentioned, a perfect fit for what the Royals want in their players.
Hyeon-Soo Kim is one of the more intriguing players available in free agency. Depending on what happens with Alex Gordon, the KC Royals may be a potential landing spot for the Korean outfielder.