The significance of Ha-Seong Kim


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So far this season, the San Diego Padres have relied on Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer to carry the team offensively. A few of their teammates have recently shown slight signs of life and raised their averages above 0.200. On the last road trip, shortstop Ha Seong Kim hit a heady .360 with two homers and four doubles.

Friday against the Miami Marlins, coach Bob Melvin moved Kim up the roster to second (for the first time in his career), just above Machado and Hosmer. Melvin admitted that Kim (who is batting .234 – actually higher than the team average of .227) “hasn’t had a ton of hits lately; he’s got some real consistent batsmen for us” ,

Kim accepted the challenge, understanding that “having Manny (behind me) the pitchers are going to be more aggressive with me. I’m just going to use it to my advantage…” Although Kim stayed without a hit, he got to base on a walk.

After playing in South Korea from 2014 to 2020, Kim had to adapt to the American style of the game, especially when it came to throwing. In 2014, the Nexen Heroes drafted Kim in the third round, 29e globally. From 2018 to 2020, he won three consecutive KBO League Golden Glove Awards.

Slowly, Kim has improved from a .202/.270/.352/.622 batting line in 2021 to .234/.347/.469/.815 this year. According to FanGraphs, he doubled his wRC+ from 70 in 2021 to 140. He also keeps pace with the Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani .234/.298/.378.

But Kim’s most significant contribution was his defense at shortstop in Fernando Tatis Jr.the absence of and its versatility since it can also cover the second and third places. Although Tatis plays flashy and dramatic shorts, FanGraphs measures his defense at -9 OAA. Kim, on the other hand, offers quality defense at 2 OAA. Last year, Kim ranked third in the National League with a 2.1 defensive WAR and fourth in range/game factor with a short 3.89. Without Kim, the Padres would be forced to rely on the rookie JC Abrams, which is taking its first steps in the big leagues. He beats .170 with an OPS of .526.

The Padres didn’t have much to celebrate Saturday night as a starter for the Miami Marlins Pablo Lopez (ERA of 1.00) pitched eight shutout innings. However, Kim showed his skills as a defender in a play which quickly went viral.

With a $155 million payroll (the fifth-highest in baseball) hanging over the Padres, Kim’s salary of $6 million this year and set to climb to $8 million by 2024 hardly matters. noise. So far this season, his defense has raised the bar considerably at shortstop.

Of course, Tatis Jr. will take over in the short term when he is cleared to play. Kim can replace in third and second places. But his defense will be greatly missed.

Padres hitting .227 as a team (21st), hits .369 (17e)

But find ways to win games, throw and defend, get .325 base third, runs scored fourth

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Diane Calkins

Baseball has been a part of Diane’s life ever since her father played professionally (mostly at the minor league level). She has written for a number of publications and has focused on companion animal welfare. She welcomes the opportunity to write about the sport she loves. Diane shares her home with her husband and a house full of rescued animals.


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