Bae had agreed to a deal for $300,000 with the Braves in September 2017, but it was voided two months later as part of the penalty for their violations on the international market. The Pirates had some extra international bonus money, courtesy of the Andrew McCutchen trade, and were able to bring Bae into the fold for $1.2 million in December. He had a strong professional debut in the Gulf Coast League, but that was clouded when, in October, he was convicted of assaulting his former girlfriend in Korea.
Bae has the chance to have a very good hit tool thanks to excellent hand-eye coordination. That's a blessing and a curse, because while he rarely strikes out, he showed a propensity to swing at everything to make contact. The Pirates are having the left-handed-hitting shortstop focus on zoning better, so he can find better pitches to drive and so he won't get exposed by better breaking stuff as he moves up the ladder. There is some impact to unlock with his swing, he uses his body well, so there should be some power in the future. At least a plus runner, Bae should have the ability to steal bases as well.
Defensively, Bae has the makings of a solid shortstop, with good hands and enough arm. He gets out of control fundamentally at times, leading to more errors than necessary. Consistency there should allow him to perhaps be an everyday shortstop when all is said and done.
Greensboro Grasshoppers placed SS Ji-Hwan Bae on the restricted list.
SS Ji-Hwan Bae assigned to Greensboro Grasshoppers from GCL Pirates.
SS Ji-Hwan Bae assigned to Pittsburgh Pirates.
SS Ji-Hwan Bae assigned to GCL Pirates.
Pittsburgh Pirates signed free agent SS Ji-Hwan Bae to a minor league contract.