“He was the best all-around player”
With the regular season now complete and the postseason underway, MLB.com wrapped up the San Diego Padres’ 2023 season on Saturday (ET). One of the highlights was Kim Ha-soong, who showed his best performance since entering the major leagues.
Prior to the 2021 season, he signed a 4+1 year contract totaling $39 million (approximately KRW 52.5 billion) with San Diego through the ‘posting’ system. His performance in his rookie season was certainly disappointing. He struggled to adjust to the fastball and other pitches in the big leagues, hitting just .202 with 54 hits, eight home runs, 34 RBIs, 27 runs scored, and a .622 OPS in 117 games.
In 2022, however, Kim’s position was completely different. Gone were the days of his first season, when he was used primarily as a center fielder and pinch hitter. After Fernando Tatis Jr. underwent wrist surgery and was suspended for PED use, Kim was thrust into the starting lineup, and in 150 games, he showed remarkable improvement, hitting .251 with 11 home runs, 59 RBI, 58 runs scored, 12 doubles, and a .708 OPS.
As you can see from the numbers, while his offense improved significantly, his defense peaked. He was named a Gold Glove finalist at shortstop in the National League, thanks to his highlight-reel defense and solid play. With his offense growing and his defense at the top of the major leagues, he quickly made the jump to a starter.
This was his best year yet. He moved from shortstop to second base with the acquisition of Xander Bogaerts, but his defense remained strong, and at the plate he hit .260 with a .749 OPS in 152 games with 140 hits, 17 home runs, 60 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 38 stolen bases. His only regret is that a combination of injuries and poor play at the end of the season prevented him from making major league history.
This year, Kim joined Shin-Soo Choo (SSG Rangers) and Shohei Oh (LA Angels) as the “first” Asian-born major leaguer and infielder to join the 20-homer, 20-steal club. He piled up a ton of stolen bases in the second half of the season and looked to be on track to become the first ever 20-homer, 40-double player. However, a combination of unexplained abdominal pain and poor performance ended his season.
But it was a remarkable season. Even though the Padres didn’t make the postseason, it didn’t go unnoticed by MLB.com. In their review of San Diego’s season, they named Ha-Sung Kim as the player who made the “biggest improvement”. While he’s gotten better and better every year, MLB.com believes he’s made a bigger jump this year than he did last year.
“This year, Kim helped his team win five more games,” said MLB.com. Given San Diego’s superstar-studded lineup, Kim’s performance should have been the ‘crown jewel’ of the Padres’ offense this year.” In other words, the team should have won more games because of Kim’s performance in a superstar-studded lineup with Manny Machado, Juan Soto, and Xander Bogaerts.
This year, however, San Diego missed the postseason. Despite going on a winning streak near the end of the regular season, they had to settle for finishing with a record of 82 wins, 80 losses, and a .506 winning percentage. Considering the amount of money the Padres spent to bolster their lineup before the season, they should have been in the postseason, but Kim’s performance shined through.바카라사이트
As MLB.com continued, “But Kim was San Diego’s best all-around player. Defensively, he did it all at second base, shortstop, and third base.” “He dazzled in the leadoff spot for four months, finishing the season with a .260/.351/.398 slash line despite a lackluster finish.”
After a stellar finish to the season, Kim will return to the United States on November 11 to wrap up his schedule and prepare for the 2024 season. He keeps getting better every year, which is why we’re looking forward to next year even more than this year.