Since his days in the KBO, Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego) has been regarded as an outstanding defender. His athleticism often made him the subject of highlight films, but no one knew how he would fare in the major leagues, where monsters come to life.
Asian infielders, in particular, had preconceived notions. Flying, long defenders from Japan and Korea often failed to make it to the big leagues. In Asia, they played shortstop, but it didn’t last long before they were declared unavailable and moved to second or third base, where the defence was less demanding. As bat speeds increased, major league teams no longer trusted Asian shortstops.
In that sense, San Diego’s bold bet on a four-year contract for Kim was considered “surprising” even at the time. Although Kim is said to be able to play multiple positions, he played mostly shortstop in the KBO. He rarely played third or second base. San Diego was confident that Kim could succeed at shortstop, and that he could also see second and third base well, but not many people believed that at the time of the signing.
Now, two and a half years later, all eyes are on San Diego’s ‘wise man’. Having watched Kim since childhood, San Diego’s eyes are proving to be right. After a season of adjustment in 2021, Kim’s defence was good enough to earn him a Gold Glove nomination at shortstop in the National League last year, and this year, with more confidence, it has improved.
Defensive metrics are a bit more nascent than offensive metrics, and that’s why they’re harder to trust. However, it’s an area where there’s more room for improvement. One such metric is DRS (which measures how many goals a defence prevents), compiled by the statistical company SportsInfoSolutions. It has been around for the longest time as an authoritative metric, and it is twinned with OAA, which was invented in the Statcast era.
Kim’s defensive stats could push him past Gold Glove and into the Platinum Glove conversation.
Kim can play all three outfield positions with aplomb.
On the 13th (KST), SportsInfoSolutions announced the Major League Baseball Defensive All-Stars for the first half of the season, just in time for the Major League Baseball All-Star Break. With a focus on their DRS, many players who showed good defence in practice this year were named to the list. Not surprisingly, Kim Ha-soo was selected as a second baseman.
“The Padres second baseman leads all major league positions in DRS at +17, including second base,” Sports Info Solutions wrote of Kim, “He was +4 at shortstop and +2 at third base (+11 at second base),” adding that Kim had the best DRS of the first half.온라인카지노
The publication’s Defensive All-Stars for the first half were Carlos Santana (Pittsburgh, first base), Ha Sung Kim (second base), Wander Franco (Tampa Bay, shortstop), Ryan McMahon (Colorado, third base), and Stephen Quan (Cleveland, left field), Kevin Kiermaier (Toronto, centre field), Fernando Tatis Jr. (San Diego, right field), Alejandro Kirk (Toronto, catcher) and Zack Greinke (Kansas City, pitcher).
Andres Jimenez (Cleveland) rounds out the shortlisted second basemen. Jimenez has also been playing great defence this year, but Ha-Sung Kim has been so dominant since the start of the season that it’s hard to see him closing the gap. The list of nominees includes a number of players who are considered to be among the best defenders in the majors, including Dansby Swanson (Chicago Cubs), Brian Hays (Pittsburgh), Matt Chapman (Toronto), and Dalton Bashaw (Toronto).
Barring injury, Kim’s chances of winning the Gold Glove are very good. We’re already halfway through the season and the competition has yet to catch up. In fact, his chances of winning the Platinum Glove continue to increase. The on-site voters also look at DRS and OAA, so having good numbers like these can only increase your name recognition and credibility. Kim is having a season beyond our wildest dreams.