Ohtani, Betts, Akuña, and Kim… How far has the ‘top dog’ Kim gone?

August 24, 2023 | by pondokslot.com

When Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres) announced his arrival in the U.S. three years ago, he didn’t expect to do so well. But now he’s among the “best” in the game. How far will he go?

As of Sept. 23, Kim has played in 122 games in the 2023 Major League Baseball, batting .280 (117-for-418) with 17 home runs, 49 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.816.

He’s 14th in the National League in batting average, tied for 41st in home runs, and 22nd in OPS.

These aren’t stellar numbers if you’re looking at simple stats alone. However, Kim is one of the most valuable players in the league this season.

According to Wins Above Replacement (WAR), an important metric used in baseball these days to evaluate a player’s value, Kim ranks highly.

According to Baseball Reference, a major league statistics site, Kim’s WAR this season is 6.0, which is the fourth highest in the entire major leagues, including the National and American Leagues.

Only Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels, 9.4), Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers, 6.5), and Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta Braves, 6.2) have higher WARs than Kim.

Ohtani, who is a two-hitter and performs at an S-level on both sides of the plate, has an overwhelmingly high WAR to begin with.

As for Betts, he’s already proven his worth, winning the American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 2018 while with the Boston Red Sox and leading them to two World Series titles.

Acuña Jr. is currently hitting 28 home runs and stealing 58 bases, and is on pace to crack the 30-60 club, something that has never happened in major league history.

Kim is competing for the top spot among these exceptional players.

He ranks eighth overall in offensive WAR at 4.4 and second in defensive WAR at 2.0, behind only Wander Franco (Tampa Bay Rays). However, Franco is currently on an “administrative leave of absence” after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a minor.

At this point, it’s possible that Kim could overtake Franco as the top defender.

In his second year in the majors, Kim stepped in at shortstop last year when the team’s starting shortstop, Fernando Tatis Jr. went down with an injury. He turned heads with his defensive prowess and was a finalist for the Gold Glove shortstop award after the season.

Prior to this season, San Diego added free agent shortstop Zander Bogaerts, and Tatis Jr. returned to the outfield.

In the meantime, Ha-Sung Kim moved to second base and continued to thrive. He can also play third base in some situations and provide health relief for Manny Machado, making him an indispensable player for San Diego.

He’s also showing off his skills offensively. After hitting just .251 last year, he has raised his batting average to .280, the highest among San Diego hitters.

His 17 home runs have already surpassed his personal record from last year (11), and his on-base percentage (.369) and slugging percentage (.447) are four to six points higher than last year.

San Diego manager Bob Melvin has been using Kim in the leadoff spot since July, as he has gotten a feel for his bat. He’s been playing to his strengths in the leadoff spot, batting .299 with 11 home runs and 26 RBIs.

He also had a streak of 15 consecutive games with multiple RBIs from July 23 to July 8, tying him with “Legend” Ichiro Suzuki for the Asian record in that category.

“He understands what it takes to be a leadoff man,” Melvin said, “and he comes to the plate and he’s scoring runs and getting on base consistently.”

“When asked if Kim has been playing well lately, Melvin gave a thumbs-up: “Not just lately, but all season long.”

With 17 home runs and 28 stolen bases to date, Kim needs just three more to join the 20-homer, 20-steal club for the rest of the season. That’s an uncharacteristic high for an Asian infielder. 먹튀검증

After narrowly missing out on a Gold Glove last year, he’ll have another shot at it. The change in defense from shortstop to second base makes it even more likely. He will face stiff competition from A.J. Albies (Atlanta) and Nico Horner (Chicago Cubs).

The Gold Glove has yet to be won by an Asian infielder. Ichiro has won the award for right field for 10 consecutive years, and Tommy Edmon (St. Louis), whose mother is Korean, has won it for second base in the National League.


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