2013 Cubs Prospects in Review: Jae-Hoon Ha

jae-hoon-haJae-Hoon Ha was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008 out of Jin Ju City, South Korea. He signed for a bonus of $225,000. He began his US professional career at Boise in 2009 at the age of 18. He was signed as a catcher and, reportedly, was moved to the outfield because he couldn't handle the throws behind the plate. He never actually played an official game at the position.

Ha was born October 29, 1990 in Jin Ju City. Ha bats and throws right-handed, has primarily played CF, but has played all the outfield positions. He's played 285 in CF, 162 in RF and 30 in LF. He's 6-1, 185 pounds.

Performance

Off to a great start in AA this year, Jae-Hoon Ha suffered a lower back strain on May 1st and would be out until the third week of June. He played only three more games at AA before being promoted to AAA Iowa. At Tennesse over 28 games and 114 plate appearances, he hit .284/.384/.368 with a .352 wOBA and 124 wRC+.

Ha played the entire season at AA last year and over 121 games increased his walk rate significantly. Prior to 2013 it had been really bad, but it jumped to higher than 9% last year. At AA this year (small sample) it was over 11%.

In 62 games and 244 plate appearances at AAA, Ha hit just .241/.288/.364. His wOBA was .293 and he had just a 69 wRC+. His walk rate 6.1% and he struckout in 17.2% of his plate appearances.

Overall in 2013, the 22 year old Ha hit .254/.318/.354. It was a disappointing season for him, but he still has age on his side to some extent.

Scouting

There's not a lot of recent scouting information about Jae-Hoon Ha. Prior to 2012 Baseball America called him the best defensive outfielder in the Cubs system. He's probably the best that will make his way onto the MLB team in the next year for sure, but I'm fairly sure the scouts have raved about Almora's potential out there.

Ha isn't going to hit for much power, but he has a strong arm and can play defense. It's also not likely that Ha will be reaching base an awful lot either.

Outlook

Ha doesn't have much power or much speed, but reportedly plays a good enough CF that he can stick there. The problem for Ha is that the Cubs aren't really lacking in young CF talent. They've got Junior Lake at the MLB level and while I expect a great deal of regression from Lake, he's probably as good or better than Ha would be. Zeke DeVoss will be at AA next year and even though he may end up a backup, he'll probably move ahead of Ha on the depth chart. The Cubs long-term hope here is Albert Almora, but he's at least a couple years away.

There's a good chance that Jae-Hoon Ha could stick around MLB for a few years as a 4th or 5th outfielder.

2013 Cubs Prospect Reviews

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