A year of praising ‘Awesome Kim’, what would have happened without Ha-seong Kim in ‘Yongdusami’ San Diego?
The energy of ‘Awesome Kim’ brought vitality to San Diego. Kim Ha-seong (27)’s sprint this year was spectacular as he came close to the record.
Ha-seong Kim started as second baseman in the final game of the regular season against the Chicago White Sox of the ‘2023 Major League Baseball League’ held at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois, USA on the 2nd (Korean time) and finished with no hits in four at-bats and one RBI.
As a result, Ha-seong Kim finished his third season in the big league with a final performance of this season of 152 games, a batting average of .266 (140 hits in 538 at-bats), 17 home runs, 60 RBIs, 84 runs, 38 stolen bases, and an OPS of .749.스포츠토토
3rd year in the big league, promoted from utility player to starting second baseman
Kim Ha-seong began to receive recognition in the major leagues for his defensive skills by becoming one of the three finalists for the National League Gold Glove award for shortstop last year. As Xander Bogaerts, who signed an 11-year, $280 million contract in the offseason and joined San Diego, insisted on playing shortstop, Ha-seong Kim moved to second base and started this season. He moved from utility player to shortstop to starting second base, entering his third season in the big leagues.
At the beginning of Ha-seong Kim’s season, his defense was no different from previous years. For a player who had shown top-class shortstop defense in the major leagues, second base defense was not difficult and he still showed top-class defense. He said he made some progress at the plate last year, but he still had some regrets. From March to April after the opening, he only had a batting average of .209, 2 home runs, and 6 RBIs.
Then, the change in batting form prepared during the off-season began to gradually become familiar to him, and his batting began to heat up in June. In June, he was active with a batting average of .291, 25 hits in 86 at-bats, 4 home runs, 12 RBI, 4 stolen bases, and an OPS of .844, and in July, he exploded to the point where he could safely be called the best player on the team. Although he was not selected as an All-Star, Ha-seong Kim’s performance was dazzling enough to cause controversy. In July, he recorded a batting average of .337 (30 hits in 89 at-bats), 5 home runs, 9 RBIs, 8 stolen bases, and an OPS of .999. Among big-money superstars such as Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr., Ha-Sung Kim actually stood out.
He showed his presence at the plate, and the new rules of the major league also raised Kim Ha-seong’s value and made his presence stand out. His limited checks and larger base made Kim Ha-seong more active in the open field, and his chances of survival were high. He not only stole bases, but also showed off his skills with active base running, going one base higher on bases. He established himself as a player who received a lot of love from fans by not compromising on base running or defense. His uniform was always covered in dirt, and his helmet and sunglasses were lying on the ground. Ha-seong Kim’s hustle play fascinated San Diego fans.
This hustle play captivated not only San Diego fans but also major league officials. He was named as a representative of San Diego among the 30 candidates for the ‘2023 Heart and Hustle Award’ selected by the Major League Baseball Retired Players Association (MLBPAA). This award is given to players who not only consider records but also play the game with sincerity and passion. The final selection among the 30 candidates will be announced in November, but the fact that Kim Ha-seong was named as the club’s representative player also meant that outsiders recognized his play and considered him a superstar representing San Diego.
Challenged Asian big league history in an MVP-level season…showed off unrivaled energy
At one time, he was highly praised as an MVP-level player, ranking high in contribution to victory compared to replacement players along with Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels), Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta), and Mookie Betts (LA Dodgers). The baseball magazine ‘Baseball America’ conducted a Major League survey targeting club managers, scouts, and high-ranking officials. He was also selected as the second baseman with the best defense in the top talent survey.
And then we moved on to the history of Korean big leaguers and Asian big leaguers. He broke Choo Shin-soo’s record for the most stolen bases in a season by a Korean major leaguer, and continued the momentum toward a new era of 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases, and furthermore, becoming the first Asian player to hit 20 home runs and 40 stolen bases.
However, his stamina was depleted as he played in physically demanding lineups and positions such as leadoff and second base. He also occasionally played shortstop and third base, filling in for other starting players. He ran so much that he was called overworked. His condition was bound to plummet. Additionally, I had to take a short break from mid-September due to abdominal pain. In the end, he was unable to add a home run after hitting 17 home runs on August 22nd. The pace of adding stolen bases also slowed down, remaining at 38 home runs. The record of becoming the first Asian big leaguer to hit 20 home runs and 40 stolen bases was ultimately undone.
However, Ha-Seong Kim recorded career highs in most indicators. Above all, it gave hope to San Diego this season, which seemed hopeless due to the sluggish performance of its superstars and the mismatch of pitches. Ha-seong Kim was a hero who thrilled fans with his unrivaled energy level, and had a season worthy of praise and applause.
In Ha-seong Kim’s third year as a brilliant big leaguer, he has emerged as a superstar player by overcoming the prejudices and limitations of Asian infielders. Although it failed to achieve a record, it would not be strange to say that it was brilliant. How would he have spent a year without Ha-seong Kim in San Diego?