Major League Baseball’s 162-game schedule is no different from a marathon event. It is very difficult to go through a season without injuries or slumps.
For San Diego Padres second baseman Ha-seong Kim, 2023 is a season in which he shows off his abilities to the fullest. His popularity at his home in San Diego, Petco Park, is sky-high. Every time he stands at bat, he chants “Hasung Kim~”. It is a whip that excites the player and forces him to work harder.
We met with Kim Ha-seong, who came to Dodger Stadium ahead of Chuseok, to hear about the team’s atmosphere after the 2023 season and postseason were frustrated.
He said, “The first year of 2021 was difficult. Last year, I felt like I was adjusting to MLB as my game attendance increased, and this year I feel like I have improved as I gained a lot of experience over the past two seasons. “When he came to MLB, his goal was to grow every year.” This is my own season evaluation based on 3 years of experience.
In the 2023 season, he was the team’s MVP until August. Every time MLB Network’s ‘MLB NOW’ host Brian Kelly mentioned San Diego, he chose Kim Ha-seong as the best player. However, it remains regrettable that the downward trend continued in September due to physical decline following consecutive game appearances. The team’s top batting average position was also lost to shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
When Ha-seong Kim was interviewed, he said, “There is still a season left. He meaningfully said, “I will only get my grades after the season is over,” and he was right. The slump continued in September, batting average and OPS fell, and WAR, contribution to wins compared to replacement players, also remained stagnant at 5.7. It’s another experience.
However, objectively, Ha-seong Kim boasted remarkable records in all categories in 2023. He said, “The results have improved compared to last season, but I cannot be satisfied.” When asked how to evaluate this season’s performance in terms of points, he responded, “It is not easy to give points. He did the same in the KBO league, but I think he is always lacking as a player. He is thankful he made it through the season unscathed. He said, “If I were to give it points, I would give it 70 points.”
It is true that there was some concern as the position was changed from shortstop to second base with the recruitment of shortstop Bogaerts last offseason. Ha-seong Kim said, “I wasn’t worried about the defense even if the position changed. “He believed that he could do it if he played consistently.”
In defense, we have improved significantly compared to the KBO League. He is also recognized by the major leagues. It is true that the defense has also taken a leap forward as the throwing and defensive positions have changed slightly from the KBO league. He himself admitted, “I got better after coming to America.”토토사이트
Ha-seong Kim made it to the final three for the Gold Glove Award in the shortstop category last year, but the award went to Danse Swanson of the Atlanta Braves (currently of the Chicago Cubs). Atlanta’s Ozzie Albies is also likely to compete in the second baseman category this year. Regarding the Gold Glove, “Of course I am greedy. “I want to show a level of defense that challenges me for the Gold Glove every year,” he said.
Ha-seong Kim was a second baseman this year, but he plays all infield positions except first base, such as shortstop and third base, which could be a plus factor in votes. Gold Glove voting is done by managers and coaches. However, 25% of the sabermetric records provided by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) must be included.
San Diego, which was considered a candidate to advance to the World Series before the season, failed to advance to the postseason due to lower-than-expected performance, and the media pointed out the breakdown of team chemistry. He said, “I’m not in a position to say anything, but all the players did their best. As a result, they failed to advance to the postseason, and anything is bound to be said about their poor performance. Everyone wanted to do well. It is impossible to know because it is done by humans. If you approach highly paid people with their money, there is nothing to say. The players must accept it. “I think this year’s difficult experience can serve as a stepping stone to leap forward next year,” he said, pinning his expectations on the 2024 season.
After experiencing three seasons, we asked baseball fans what they find most interesting. I was curious about which pitcher is the hardest to face in MLB. Ha-seong Kim said, “It’s hard for everyone to stand at bat, and they are all difficult pitchers. “If I had to pick one, it would be Jacob deGrom,” he said. Although they did not face each other often, they faced each other twice and struck out two. He has such a powerful ball that he seems to have left a strong impression in just two matches. As of September 23, the number of pitchers that Ha-seong Kim has faced since entering the major league is 500.
In fact, deGrom is the most difficult pitcher not only for Kim Ha-seong but also for all major league hitters. DeGrom, who played for the New York Mets until last season, moved to the American League’s Texas Rangers this year and will be unable to pitch until the first half of next year due to elbow surgery.
For Kim Ha-seong, this Chuseok is the third Korean holiday celebrated in the United States. He said, “Not only in the U.S., but also in Korea, I have never spent time off with my family on Lunar New Year or Chuseok holidays,” and told his fans to rest comfortably while eating lots of delicious food during Chuseok.