Kim Ha-sung (San Diego Padres), who had his best season since his Major League debut, was close to perfect in 2023. He showed his best performance in all areas, regardless of offense, base running, and defense.
Kim Ha-sung, who took on the big league challenge at the end of the 2020 season, entered the Major League by signing a contract with San Diego for a total of $39 million (a four-year guarantee of $28 million) for 4+1 years. However, in 2021, his first season in the big league, he suffered some ups and downs with 54 hits in 267 at-bats for a batting average of 0.202 with eight homers, 34 RBIs, and six stolen bases OPS of 0.622.월카지노
That trend continued into the following year. Kim Ha-sung had to take solace in achieving his first double-digit home run and stolen base by playing in more games than the previous year. His final performance for this season is 130 hits in 517 at-bats for 150 games, 0.251 for 11 homers, 51 RBIs and 12 stolen bases OPS of 0.708.
He got off to a rough start again this year. Kim had a hectic day participating in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) ahead of the opening of the regular season, and immediately returned to his team for the new season. He suffered from sluggish performance, staying at the batting average of around 10 percent for a month in April.
Kim Ha-sung, who did so, slowly increased his batting sense in May and got back on track, dispelling everyone’s concerns. In July alone, he recorded 30 hits in 89 at-bats with a batting average of 0.3379 RBIs, with a whopping five home runs. In the end, Kim Ha-sung recorded 140 hits in 538 at-bats with a batting average of 0.260 17 home runs and 60 RBIs with an OPS of 0.749 in 152 games, achieving a “career high” with double-digit home runs and stolen bases for the second consecutive year.
Kim Ha-sung also revealed his presence in defense and became an indispensable player in his team. Kim Ha-sung also played in his flagship second baseman position (856 ⅔ in 106 games) but excelled in third baseman (253 ⅓ in 32 games) and shortstop (153 ⅓ in 20 games), putting him on par with outstanding players. Notably, he captured the attention of fans by displaying wide range of defense and stable catch capabilities, and garnered trust from coaching staff.
The U.S. also paid attention to Kim Ha-sung’s performance. In a survey of coaches, scouts, and officials conducted by the U.S. baseball magazine Baseball America in September, Kim ranked first in the National League’s best second baseman defense, beating Nico Horner (Chicago Cubs) and Ajie Albies (Atlanta Braves). It was all the more significant that the Major League’s “group of experts” recognized Kim Ha-sung’s potential and ability.
The official Major League website MLB.com , which highlighted the best second baseman in the league later this season, introduced Kim Ha-sung’s performance, saying, “Kim Ha-sung is the most valuable player in the team and shows a solid defense. He achieved career highs in the batting average, on-base percentage, long batting percentage, OPS, and home run categories.”
Also, AJ Casabel, San Diego reporter for MLB.com , said, “Kim Ha-sung has always been an ‘elite’ defender wherever he plays. It is surprising, but not surprising, that he is the first Asian infielder to become a gold glove. The only question was about where will he play? With the emergence of Xander Bogaerts, Kim Ha-sung was pushed to second base, but when Bogaerts and Manny Machado were injured, he also played shortstop and third baseman.”
Kim Ha-sung, who has been recognized for his capabilities, has even made history. He is on the list of winners of the 2023 Rawlings Gold Glove announced on April 6. Kim Ha-sung, who was on the final list of second base and utility candidates in the National League, won the National League Utility Award, beating over Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tommy Edman of the St. Louis Cardinals. Kim Ha-sung is the first Asian infielder to receive a Gold Glove.
Unlike the KBO League’s Golden Glove, which evaluates both offense and defense, the U.S. Gold Glove is an award that goes to players who display the best defense in each position. It reflects 75 percent and 25 percent of defense indicators provided by the respective teams’ coaching staff votes and the American Baseball Research Association, respectively. As such, on-site assessments account for a large portion of the assessments.
Kim Ha-sung, who attended a press conference to commemorate the Gold Glove award in Korea two weeks later, said, “I’m really honored to be the first Korean to receive it. I’m glad that it motivated many young players and professional baseball players who dream of becoming a major league player.”
Kim Ha-sung is preparing for his fourth season in Korea, leaving 2023 behind, and has been embroiled in trade rumors this month. Infielders who have performed the best in the team are mentioned as targets for trade because of the club’s poor financial situation.
San Diego has been aggressive in recruiting players in the Stove League in recent years. Ahead of this season, it has strengthened its infield by signing a 10-year, 280 million-dollar contract with shortstop Bogaerts.
It was not just that. San Diego has signed contracts with key players by pouring huge amounts of money into the deal, including Manny Machado (11 years, 350 million dollars), Darvish U (108 million dollars), and Jake Cronenworth (seven years, 80 million dollars). That’s how much San Diego wanted to display good performance.
What was the result? San Diego advanced to the wild card series in 2020 and last year in the National League, but failed to win the district or league title in the 2020s. Still, it was not enough to surpass the rival LA Dodgers. This season, the team won 82 games and lost 0.506, recording a winning rate of over 50 percent, but failed to advance to the post season due to falling behind in the wild card competition.
In addition, concerns grew inside and outside the team as it was belatedly reported that the San Diego club took out $50 million (about 65.2 billion won) in September to pay the team’s annual salary.
San Diego’s financial difficulties have become a reality this winter. It was reported that Juan Soto, the main outfielder, would also be in the trade market, and San Diego actually traded with the New York Yankees on the 7th (Korea Standard Time) after matching cards with several teams.