Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego) is having the best season of his career in his third year in the major leagues. While his defence is rated among the best in the league, his offence has improved and he is now one of the best infielders in the game.
While it may seem strange to label him as one of the best in the league, it’s a title he deserves based on his performance. Kim’s defensive prowess is so well-recognised that it doesn’t need to be said. After surprising everyone by being a Gold Glove finalist at shortstop in the National League last year, he’s been leading the league in defensive metrics this year.
He leads all second basemen in DRS and OAA, and has led all players in the league in DRS since the start of the season. The image of “good defence” has become synonymous with him. This year, he is expected to become the first Asian infielder to win a Gold Glove. His national recognition has increased, the voters are favouring him, and he has good data to work with.
Plus, his offence is now above average. Kim had his first multi-homer game in his major league debut against Pittsburgh on the 25th. His power has been hot lately, including his first career five-hit game against Detroit on the 23rd.
As of the 25th, Kim is batting .270 with 14 home runs, 37 RBIs, 18 doubles, and an OPS of 0.810 in 96 games. That’s a big jump from 0.622 in 2021 and 0.708 in 2022. His adjusted run production (wRC+) is also excellent, more than 20 per cent above league average.
The man who laid the groundwork for Kim’s success may have been his teammate, Kang Jeong-ho (36). There has been a preconceived notion that “Asian infielders don’t make it” in the major leagues. This may have been hard to refute given the struggles of some of Japan’s most prominent players.
But Jeong-ho Kang led the way. Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015, Kang hit 15 home runs in his first year and 21 the following year in 2016, shattering preconceptions about Asian infielders. He proved that “Asian infielders have power”. This has undoubtedly led to a favourable assessment of Kim.
On the 25th, Kang visited Petco Park to watch the game between San Diego and Pittsburgh, and of course, he was a “spectator” and sat in the stands. Kang, who is currently in the United States on personal business, came to Petco Park to see Kim Ha-seong, who was his junior in the Heroes and his successor. On the other hand, Pittsburgh was his Major League Baseball team.
In fact, Kang’s visit could have gone unnoticed, but a foul ball highlighted his presence. He stretched out his left hand and caught the foul ball with his bare hand as it flew into the stands. In fact, bare-handed catches are not recommended for the general public due to the risk of injury. However, Kang Jeong-ho’s instincts as a baseball player led him to make the correct catch, which was applauded by the fans around him. Some of the fans around him may have even recognised him.
A local broadcaster said, “This fan looks like a baseball player. It’s Jeong-ho Kang, who played for Pittsburgh,” the local broadcaster said. The Athletic, an American sports publication, also captured the scene on its social media account and marvelled, “Kang Jung-ho, who played in Pittsburgh, made a one-handed catch in the stands.온라인카지노
If it weren’t for an unfortunate incident involving a DUI, Kang Jeong-ho and Kim Ha-sung might be playing together in the major leagues today. After moving to third base, Kang hit for more power and home runs, and he was also very strong against fastballs at the major league level. He may have been able to develop into a superstar, but he could still have had a minimally competitive career in the major leagues.
He made several attempts to return to Kiwoom, but was blocked by public opinion, and now lives in the United States. ‘Spectator’ Kang’s super-catch may have entertained the local fans, but it was another bittersweet moment for the rest of us.