Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego) is no longer just a defensive player. At this point, he’s one of the league’s best on offense, making him a special player who can play offense, defense, and running.
The same can’t be said for his defense. Since the start of the season, he’s led the National League in DRS, OAA, and other defensive metrics for second basemen. Not only does he play second base, but he’s also above league average at shortstop and third base. There’s no need to worry about his defensive innings. The Gold Glove already has a “utility player” category for players like him. If Kim stays injury-free and keeps up his current pace, he’ll likely win either award.
Since mid-June, his offense has also exploded. After a slow start to the season offensively, Kim’s full-time experience last year hasn’t fazed him at all, and he’s been exploding once he’s gotten a grip. So much so that the superstar-studded San Diego team locked him into the leadoff spot.
In 25 games in the second half of the season, Kim is hitting .376 with a .482 on-base percentage, .570 slugging percentage, and a 1.052 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). He’s also hit five home runs, but those stellar numbers come at the peak of the season. In the second half, Kim struck out just 15 times in 93 at-bats. Conversely, he drew 18 walks. Even when he does strike out, it’s often after five or six pitches. He became a very annoying hitter for pitchers.
His on-base percentage in the second half (.482) is fourth in the league. Only Freddie Freeman (LA Dodgers, .517), Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels, .491), and James Outman (LA Dodgers, .489) are better. It’s third in the National League and first among non-first basemen. He has a higher second-half OPS than National League MVP frontrunner Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta, 0.473).
His OPS is ninth in the league. In the National League, only Freeman (1.275), Matt Olson (Atlanta, 1.193), Acuña Jr. (1.069), and Austin Riley (Atlanta, 1.064) are higher than Kim. His OPS is also the best of any center fielder in the majors. Kim isn’t getting votes in MVP mock polls for nothing. With his defense and offense, his Wins Above Replacement (WAR) has exploded, ranking in the top 10 in the league.
The local media in San Diego has also been singing his praises on a daily basis, as the team is having a dismal season in many ways, but Kim’s play has been outstanding. The San Diego Union-Tribune, one of the largest local media outlets, highlighted Kim’s impressive recent performances in its recap of the game against Seattle on Nov. 11 (KST).
The San Diego Union-Tribune wrote, “With his career-high three stolen bases last night (Oct. 10), Kim is now tied for fourth in the National League with 27 stolen bases on the season. It’s the most by a Padres player in a single season since Travis Jankowski (30) in 2016,” recapping Kim’s three-steal game.
‘Kim extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games with a 1-for-3 performance with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. It’s the 10th-longest in the majors this season.” “In 25 games since July 9, Kim is batting .383 with a 1.057 OPS. He’s the best hitter on the team in that span, .083 higher than the Padres’ second-best player, Xander Bogaerts (.301), and the only other San Diegans with an OPS over .737 in that span are Soto (.990) and Machado (.837).
However, the San Diego offense hasn’t really caught fire. In fact, it’s hard to expect much from the sixth through ninth spots in the batting order, but the Padres have at least five hitters who can at least do their part. They are Ha-Sung Kim, Fernando Tatis Jr, Juan Soto, Manny Machado, and Xander Bogaerts. All of them are All-Stars or All-Star caliber players.
The biggest question mark is Tatis Jr. After returning from suspension, Tatis Jr. took over the team’s leadoff spot. He was expected to be a strong leadoff hitter who could hit home runs. In reality, Tatis Jr. is a league-wide 30-30 resource who can hit 40-40. In fact, he had good power through the middle of the season, but his batting average has dropped off recently. Even good pitches are being caught in front of the fence, and he’s been hitting them right at the fielder, so it’s a vicious cycle.먹튀검증
With Kim at first, Tatis Jr. usually bats second. But even when Kim goes out, Tatis Jr. can’t solve the problem, which is frustrating. The San Diego Union-Tribune also mentioned Tatis Jr. right after Kim, saying that he is batting .105 with a .143 on-base percentage and .224 slugging percentage in his last 16 games.