Ji-hwan Bae Looks to Continue Second-Half Trend

Ji-hwan Bae has made a strong first impression in Triple-A, during the typically colder months.

Bae has a .287/.367/.466 line in 199 plate appearances heading into this week, with five homers and 11 stolen bases.

There is some potentially better news for the Pirates prospect.

“I am really more comfortable in the second half than the first half,” Bae said. “My eyes get used to the pitchers and everything like that. I really like the second half.”

With the end of June marking the completion of the first half of the season, Bae expects to continue his strong debut season at Minor League Baseball’s top level.

In 2019, the stats back Bae’s observation. His OPS increased each month from July to August to September. The 2018 season was just short season for Bae. Then, 2021 was a bit of an outlier, due to missing some time with an injury. However, a vast majority of his extra-base hits did come after July.

The injury is actually in the forefront of Bae’s season goals he expressed at the beginning of the campaign.

“I missed six weeks last year because I had an injury on my left knee,” Bae said. “The first [goal] is to stay healthy. I want to get through the whole season.”

His second goal was to hit more home runs. Bae hit a career high eight in 86 games last season. He is on pace to eclipse that in 2022, already possessing five long balls. Bae also has 10 doubles and three triples through 47 games.

Much of the success in hitting the ball hard this season, comes from carrying over his approach and confidence from 2021 and the Arizona Fall League.

“I haven’t really changed my approach against last year and the Fall League,” Bae said. “I just think about hitting a line drive and doing whatever I can do. I am trying to not do too much and that helps.”

Finally, Bae is not just succeeding with the pitches he offers at. He is also trying to be more efficient with the ones that he does not as well.

“I am trying to get more walks and get on base,” Bae said. “I am trying swing at the good pitches to hit. I really focused in Spring Training to make a zone, especially going higher level, really helped me.”

With this approach, Bae is just south of a .500 OBP. Along with the solid defense and increased power, Bae is making a push to be in the middle infield mix of the future.


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Ryan has been following Indianapolis baseball for most of his life, and the Pirates since they became the affiliate in 2005. He began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2013, in a stint that ran through 2016 (with no service time manipulation played in). Ryan rejoined the team in 2022, covering Indianapolis once again. He has covered the Pirates in four different big league stadiums. Ryan was also fortunate enough to cover the 2015 Futures Game in Cincinnati.

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They should call up Bae and send Castillo down.


He should be up as soon as they dump Van Meter. Unfortunately Van Meter is the new Sean Rodriguez.


Why not Castillo? Dude is really struggling and might not be good at baseball

The Cobra

What’s everyone’s thought on weather Bae or Gonzalez is the second baseman of the future at this point. With Gonzalez being a top 10 pick one would think it’s his job to lose, but Bae just keeps getting better it seems. I would assume he would get the first audition in the bigs either later this year or next.


Bae is a few months younger putting up better stats in AAA than Gonzales is in AA, and doesn’t come with the swing-and-miss concerns–I’m leaning Bae. However, they’ve played him at multiple positions this season so if Gonzales earns the 2B job, then they can find room for Bae elsewhere.

Last edited 11 months ago by TNBucs

I think we see Bae a super utility guy that plays 4-5 times a week and pinch runs/hits frequently. He’ll bring a high OBP with some pop. Then let the other bench guys be thumpers.


Who plays best drives the decision for a good GM. No legacy promotions. Or playing time. After all, Bae was a high-priced IFA.

I remember the competition between Rennie Stennett and Willie Randolph.


hopefully we make the right decision this time around regarding who we start and trade.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I’m liking Bae as the potential 2B moving forward. He has the versatility to move around, but if Swaggerty can grab ahold of an OF spot, then we have half a dozen to battle for other spot already (with Suwinski having upper hand currently)


Agreed. But Gonzalez has more power.


Bae has a .185 ISO this season–I didn’t expect that coming into this season, but there might be plenty of pop there.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Yes, but I wonder if Gonzales will have to sacrifice some power in order to not have the high frequency of swing and miss he’s shown.


Good info Ryan, thank you. Bae keeps humming along, to me, key piece to our upcoming winning mlb teams👍

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