MLB devoured ‘genius’, KIM survived infielder hell

Kazuo Matsui (48) is a star of the Japanese professional baseball (NPB). He has achieved a batting average of .300 for 7 consecutive years since 1997 and was selected as NPB Best Nine (shortstop) for 7 consecutive years during this period. In 2002, he achieved the first ‘triple three’ (.300, 30 home runs, 30 stolen bases) as an NPB switch hitter, and was selected as the Pacific League’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1998. Foreign hitter DiLin Jackson, who worked with rookie Matsui in 1995, praised Matsui, saying, “Matsui surpassed other players in every aspect, including strength, conditioning, and speed.”

Matsui entered the U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB) in December 2003. The New York Mets, who gave him a uniform, changed starting shortstop Jose Reyes’ position to second base, guaranteeing Matsui’s position. He put a lot of effort into recruiting, but the result was a miserable failure. Matsui did not do well in defense or even hitting. In his MLB career (7 years), there were 32 home runs, an average of only 4.6 per year.

After being reduced to a low-ranking official, he returned to NPB in November 2010. Even after Matsui’s failure, quite a few Japanese infielders knocked on the MLB door. Akinori Iwamura, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, and Munenori Kawasaki crossed the Pacific Ocean, but the results were not much different. The Japanese players ranked 1st to 3rd with the most hits in their big league careers are Ichiro Suzuki (3,089), Hideki Matsui (1,253), and Norichika Aoki (774). All three players are outfielders. This can be interpreted to mean that it is difficult for Asian infielders to make long runs in MLB.

In that respect, Ha-seong Kim’s performance is surprising. Ha-seong Kim played in 152 games this season, recording a batting average of 0.260 (140 hits in 538 at-bats), 17 home runs, and 60 RBIs. His OPS, which includes his on-base percentage (0.351) and slugging percentage (0.398), is 0.749. Although he doesn’t have a lot of long hits, he plays in the right places and achieved a career high in his third year in the MLB. What makes his value shine even more is his defense. His main position is second base, but he has no problem even if he plays as shortstop or third base. All three positions have positive DRS (Defensive Run Save). DRS is an indicator of how many runs are prevented by defense. It is based on 0 (average). The higher the number, the better the defense. As a result, on the 19th, he was named as a National League (NL) second baseman and a Gold Glove (GG) candidate in the utility category.짱구카지노 주소

Japanese infielders are generally familiar with artificial turf. Most MLB stadiums are natural grass, so it takes time to get used to it. MBC Sports Plus commentator Song Jae-woo, an MLB expert, said, “It’s his third year in the big league, and he seems to have adapted to the league to some extent. At the plate, it feels like his swing has changed to a simpler one instead of swinging as much as before.” He added, “I think the defense will be this good. “I couldn’t do it, but I think I really put in a lot of effort. Going to the United States when I was young probably helped. It’s not easy to change your patterns as you get older, but Ha-seong Kim is better in that respect,” he said.

Communication with other infielders is also essential for organic play. “When he was 19, Matsui was very shy. He was embarrassed to speak English. He was not sociable,” Jackson said. “When Matsui went to America, he was 28 years old. There was a lot of pressure to be a star in Japan.” He said. Ha-Seong Kim actively integrated into the team. During the game, he joins in the celebration and adds excitement. Commissioner Song Jae-woo said, “When people started talking about Matsui not meeting expectations in terms of offense and defense, he completely collapsed. He had a hard time adapting, but Kim Ha-seong seems to have a different mindset (in terms of adaptation).”

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