Kim beams at local storm accolades… “It’s hard, but I feel like I did really well this year” Satisfied
After not getting their money’s worth, San Diego’s 2023 is coming to a tragic end. The team has fallen far short of expectations and is now waiting to find out when they will be eliminated from the postseason. However, there are some players who are hard to blame.
Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego) is one of them. He’s become one of the fan favorites at Petco Park, as he’s shown steady improvement every year since breaking into the major leagues in 2021. After making significant strides in his offense last year, Kim has been one of the team’s Most Valuable Players (MVPs) this year with his offense, defense, and fielding. He is no stranger to being at the top of the batting order for San Diego’s star-studded lineup.
Through 141 games of the season, Kim is batting .268 with 17 home runs, 58 RBIs, 80 runs scored, 35 doubles, and an OPS of .771. The season isn’t over yet, but he’s on pace for a career-high in offensive production and has already doubled his previous two-season total (18) in stolen bases. He was a finalist for the Gold Glove at shortstop in the National League last year, and his defensive prowess makes him a strong candidate for the Gold Glove at second base this year.
The accolades continue to roll in for Kim, who has had a breakout year. Along with Juan Soto, he’s arguably San Diego’s best hitter this year. On Thursday, the official website of Major League Baseball (MLB.com) joined the ranks. MLB.com recognized the player on each team who has made the biggest improvement this season, and for San Diego, it was Kim, of course. It doesn’t seem like much of a controversy either.
MLB.com writes, “You probably know that Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta) and Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers) are in a huge (National League) MVP race. They know Matt Olson (Atlanta) and Freddie Freeman (Los Angeles Dodgers) are right behind them,” he said, “but who is fifth in the National League in Baseball-Reference WAR as of Wednesday? The answer is Ha-Sung Kim, one of the few bright spots in San Diego’s underachieving offense this season.
In fact, Kim has a WAR of 5.7, according to Baseball-Reference. That’s good for fifth in the National League, behind Betts (8.1), Acuña Jr. (7.6), Olson (6.4), and Freeman (6.2), and 10th in all of baseball. It’s a combination of stellar defense, explosive focus, and offensive production.
“Kim has developed into an elite leadoff man, batting .358 with 35 stolen bases while ranking second in the league in pitches per at-bat,” MLB.com wrote, adding, “Defensively, there is no one better in San Diego. He played primarily at second base, but he also played wherever he was needed, including shortstop and third base to fill in for injuries to teammates,” praised Kim for his performance and versatility this season.
Although his performance has dipped a bit since September due to the physical demands of the season, he has already booked the best season of his career. So how does he feel about these local accolades and the season as a whole? He has some regrets, but overall, he is proud of the season. As far as he’s concerned, it’s been a pretty good season.
In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune on the 15th, Kim admitted that the Major League Baseball is a higher level than the Korean Professional Baseball, and it was a challenge. He admitted that he had to play more games in situations that required a higher level of concentration, and that he was physically exhausted last year due to the rigorous schedule. This year, he said, he prepared more thoroughly, and it’s paying off.
“It’s really, really long,” Kim said of the major league schedule, emphasizing that “it’s hard work, so I tried to do everything I could to stay fresh, play at the highest level, and help the team win. That’s my job to stay fresh,” he said.
“Personally, I think I’ve played really well throughout the season,” he continued, “and if you compare my numbers from last year to this year, I’ve run more, I’ve hit more, I’ve been in a lot more games. So, it’s still a struggle, but I feel like I’ve done really well this year.”
In 2021, Kim was a backup player who wasn’t sure if San Diego was right to offer him a four-year deal. But he proved last year that he could make a big contribution to the team on defense, and this year he’s proving he can lead the team on offense. Over the course of three years, he has calmly improved his game and improved his rating. Kim signed a four-year, $28 million deal with San Diego, and he’s already given the team back all of that money 바카라.
Now it’s the future that’s getting the attention. Kim’s contract with San Diego ends next year. San Diego’s need for him became apparent this year. They don’t have a better multiplayer. If they want to keep him, they’d be wise to offer him an extension before he hits free agency. If not, it’ll be interesting to see what he’s worth once he hits the market. If he continues to perform as well as he has this year into next year, a total of $100 million could be an easy target.