“A National League treasure as long as his price tag doesn’t get too high”
When he signed a 4+1 year, $39 million contract with the San Diego Padres prior to the 2021 season, Kim struggled to adjust to the fastball and changeup at the big league level. He was given plenty of chances early in the season, but the results didn’t follow, and he became known more for his defense than his offense. As a result, he played in 117 games but only 267 plate appearances, hitting .202 with 54 hits, eight home runs, 34 RBIs, 27 runs scored, and a .622 OPS.
Last year, however, the offense started to improve. Taking advantage of Fernando Tatis Jr. missing the entire season with a wrist injury and banned substance use, Kim made the leap to “main man” by playing in 150 games, hitting .251 OPS with 130 hits, 11 home runs, 59 RBIs, 58 runs scored, and a .708 OPS. Despite this, Kim has still been in the spotlight a lot on the defensive side of the ball.
While his defense has been solid for the past two years, this year he’s been putting up numbers offensively. Through 107 games, he’s batting .287 with 15 home runs, 41 RBIs, 61 runs scored, 24 doubles, and a .839 OPS in 102 games. He’s already on pace for a career-high season in several offensive metrics, including home runs, stolen bases, and runs scored.
The numbers don’t lie about how well he’s doing. He currently ranks ninth in the National League in batting (.287), 14th in OPS (.837), and sixth in stolen bases (24). His bWAR (wins above replacement) of 5.6 on Baseball Reference ranks second in the majors behind Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves), and his fWAR of 4.2 on FanGraphs ranks eighth overall.
Kim’s performance really took off on June 15 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Over a 53-day period, starting seven days after the Cleveland game, Kim’s performance was on par with that of Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels), the near-certain American League MVP. His 3.0 fWAR in that span is tied for first in the majors with Ohtani.
Usually, players who are on a hot streak cool off after a short week or month, but Kim has been on a hot streak for close to two months. In that time, he has 56 hits, 22 doubles, 35 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, and a .356 OPS of 1.041 in 43 games. His batting average (0.359) and on-base percentage (0.451) are both third in the majors.
As Kim’s hot streak continues, his local ratings are soaring. On July 7, The Athletic published an article titled “Surprising Hitters for 2023,” which singled out Kim. “During last year’s postseason, it was hard not to notice how much San Diego fans loved Ha Sung Kim,” the article began, “except for his grade-A defense and stolen bases.”
The Athletic continued, “But this year, Kim has really come into his own. His .284 batting average is a career-high, and he has C+ power and B+ speed this year,” calling him “a National League treasure as long as his price tag doesn’t rise too much.” Kim is set to make $7 million this year, which isn’t a lot of money, but it’s a sign that he’s doing much more than that.카지노사이트
“If the blue (low numbers) on his stat sheet make you doubt him, don’t,” said The Athletic, “He doesn’t have great relative numbers, but he can definitely hit the ball hard. Kim has 56 doubles, five triples, and 34 home runs in the major leagues. Many hitters with better hard-hit percentages don’t even come close.”
The media also noted that Kim shows room for improvement, with The Athletic writing, “Kim’s low batting average only proves that he’s no Jordan Alvarez. That’s because he’s turning balls that other hitters have swung at into in-play hits. If he learns to use the opposite side of the field (toward right field), a .284+ batting average is not out of the question. In addition, he has a 21% strike zone swing rate and sees 4.37 pitches per at-bat, which puts him at the top of the lineup.”