What a hot summer we’ve had. Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres) showed signs of fatigue in September, but still has top-tier value in the league. That’s how hot his summer performance was.
Ha-seong Kim confessed in an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, an American media outlet, on the 14th (Korean time), “The season is really, really long. I’m changing it.” This shows that Kim Ha-seong is currently physically exhausted.
This season, Ha-seong Kim has played in 141 games as of the 15th, with a batting average of 0.268, 17 home runs, 58 RBIs, 80 runs, 35 steals, and an OPS of 0.771. According to Baseball Reference, a baseball statistics website, WAR (Contribution to Wins Above Replacement) is 5.7, ranking 5th in the National League. Although it’s hard to compare him to his leading days, he’s still top-tier value. Another site, FanGraphs, also recorded a rating of 4.4, ranking 16th in the league.
In September, Ha-seong Kim appeared in 11 games and recorded a batting average of 0.178 (8 hits in 45 at-bats), 6 RBIs, 6 stolen bases, and an OPS of 0.423. The number of games in which he hit a hit (6 games) and the number of games he did not hit (5 games) were similar. He has never had a hit in more than three consecutive games. The home run gun has been quiet for 20 games since it was activated in the game against Miami on the 22nd of last month.
Accordingly, the San Diego team also granted Kim Ha-seong a break and gave him a chance to recharge. On the 13th, San Diego removed Ha-seong Kim from the starting lineup for the first time in 49 days. It can be said to be unusual in that in the past, players rarely had to rest even if they were injured while running a base or injured by kicking a water bottle in the dugout.
However, Ha-seong Kim went 0-hit in 4 at-bats and struck out 3 in the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on the 14th after a break. Although he is not as good as a shortstop, he is maintaining his position as a center infielder and second baseman, and it seems that the aftereffects of appearing in 71 games as a number one hitter are coming.
In other words, the fact that Kim Ha-seong is still ranked high in player value despite his continued downturn in September is because he had a brilliant summer. Ha-seong Kim had a batting average of 0.240 and an OPS of 0.694 at the end of the game on June 19th. This figure was not much different from last year (batting average 0.251, OPS 0.708).
However, Ha-seong Kim had a hot two months after recording 3 hits in 4 at-bats against San Francisco on the 20th of the same month. From this game to August 20th (doubleheader against Arizona), exactly two months later, Ha-seong Kim achieved a batting average of 0.317, 11 home runs, 26 RBIs, 40 runs, 16 stolen bases, and an OPS of 0.926 in 53 games (51 starts). During this period, Ha-seong Kim ranked high in many indicators, including 6th in WAR (FanGraphs), 5th in stolen bases, and 19th in OPS throughout the major leagues.
Kim Ha-seong’s season performance also rose vertically after a먹튀검증 ‘crazy two months’. His season batting average also rose to 0.290 at one point, and his OPS also entered the 0.800 range. Accordingly, in mid-August, some places (ESPN) evaluated that Kim Ha-seong ranked 5th in the National League MVP race. Only two Korean players, Choo Shin-soo (2010, 2013) and Ryu Hyun-jin (2019, 2020), have ever been included in the Major League MVP voting.
Although his grades are dropping in the fall, the U.S. community’s view of Kim Ha-sung is still favorable. On the 14th, MLB.com, the official Major League Baseball website, selected Ha-seong Kim as the player who made the greatest improvement in San Diego this season. The media said, “Ha-seong Kim has grown into an elite leadoff player, recording an on-base percentage of 0.358 and stealing 35 bases, ranking second in the number of pitches per at-bat,” adding, “Defensively, there is no player better than him in San Diego. He mainly plays at second base. He praised his versatility, saying, “He played shortstop and third base to fill the void due to injuries to his teammates, and played wherever he was needed.”
Ha-seong Kim himself also expressed satisfaction with his season. He said, “Personally, I think he played really well throughout the season. If you compare his records from last year and this year, he played more, hit more, and played a lot more. Although it was difficult, I think he did really well this year.” reported.
San Diego is currently ranked 4th in the National League West Division with 69 wins and 78 losses, and is also falling behind in the wild card race. However, the discovery of Kim Ha-seong can be said to be one of San Diego’s few achievements this season.