Ha's selection to Futures Game no joke
Cubs prospect has great sense of humor to match skills on field
CHICAGO -- Jae-Hoon Ha made quite an impression on Cubs outfield coach Dave McKay in Spring Training.
"I saw a guy who has a chance to be a great outfielder," McKay said of Ha, 21.
Ha will get a chance to show off his baseball talents in the 2012 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which will be held July 8 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The game will feature the top Minor League prospects, and Ha will represent the Cubs on the World Team against the U.S. squad.
"He has great speed, a great feel on the bases," McKay said of Ha, who is playing for Double-A Tennessee this year. "Sometimes you have guys who have speed and a lot of talent but they don't have that feel. The instincts aren't there and the harder they try, the more mistakes they make. [Ha] has got good instincts.
"After spending a short time with him, I thought, 'Here's a guy you're going to see a lot of down the road.'
Spend a short time with the South Korean outfielder, and he's sure to make you laugh. Ha does imitations of some of the players, including top prospect Brett Jackson, and he can mimic Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio's bow-legged walk.
There's something else you should know about Ha -- he can sing.
"He's got a great voice," McKay said. "He could go on a talent show and do well. He can sing. [Cubs manager Dale Sveum] got him to sing in front of the team one time."
Cubs outfielder Tony Campana wasn't sure whether to approach Ha because Campana didn't know if Ha spoke English.
"He'll come up to you," Campana said. "He's not shy to come up and show he can talk. He'll sing to you. He likes getting laughs out of you.
"He'll bust it out anywhere," Campana said. "He's just a funny guy."
OK, he can sing and laugh. Can he play?
"He can really play, too," Campana said. "He can hit, he's got some pop, he can run, and he plays really good defense."
In 66 games with Tennessee through Wednesday, Ha was batting .256 with two home runs, 16 doubles, one triple and 20 RBIs. This is his fourth season in the Cubs organization after he was signed as a non-drafted free agent in September 2008.
The 14th annual Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game can be seen live on MLB.TV, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday on Sunday, July 8, at 4 p.m. CT. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send/receive tweets to/from the U.S. and World team dugouts during the game by following @USDugout and @WorldDugout.
Major League Baseball, along with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, MLB.com, Baseball America and the 30 Major League baseball clubs, selected the 25-man rosters.
Last season, outfielder Matt Szczur represented the Cubs on the U.S. team, and Jackson played in the 2010 Futures game.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.