“I’m grinding it out,” says exhausted Kim, still named team MIP… 5th in NL WAR “I think I did a really good job”

Ask anyone to name the San Diego Padres’ best player of the season, and the name of Ha-Sung Kim, 28, will likely come up. However, if you were to pick just one player who has shown the most improvement this year, most of the choices would be in favor of Awesome Kim.

MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, on Thursday (Aug. 14) ranked the players who made the biggest improvements for each team this season, and for San Diego, it was Kim.

It’s no surprise. Despite his recent decline in velocity, no one on the team has rebounded as well as Kim.

As MLB.com notes, “It’s no secret that Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta) and Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers) are in the (National League) Most Valuable Player (MVP) race. “But guess who is fifth in the NL in Baseball Reference Wins Above Replacement (WAR), one of the few bright spots in an otherwise underachieving team?” said Matt Olson (Atlanta) and Freddie Freeman (Los Angeles Dodgers).

Kim has a 5.7 WAR per Baseball-Reference. As MLB.com explains, that’s fifth in the NL and 10th in all of baseball, behind Betts (8.1), Acuña Jr. (7.6), Olson (6.4), and Freeman (6.2).

Based on WAR, an intuitive measure of a player’s value, Kim was San Diego’s best player this season. Unlike last year, he played Gold Glove-caliber defense at second base and occasionally played shortstop and third base. In addition, he’s shown remarkable improvement at the plate and is fifth in the league in stolen bases (35).

He made it to the big leagues with flying colors in the KBO, but struggled against high-level pitching in his first season, batting just .202. Last year, he was named to the final three NL shortstop Gold Glove voters, and while his defense was stellar and he hit double-digit home runs (11) and showed off his one-hit ability, his batting average left a lot to be desired, hitting just .251.

This season, however, he has made phenomenal strides, hitting .268 with 17 home runs, 58 RBI, 80 runs scored, and 36 stolen bases, along with a .358 on-base percentage, .413 slugging percentage, and a .771 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage).

“Kim has developed into an elite leadoff hitter, ranking second in the league in pitches per at-bat with a .358 on-base percentage and 35 stolen bases,” said MLB.com. “Defensively, there is no better player in San Diego. He played primarily at second base, but he also played shortstop and third base to fill in for injuries to his teammates, and he played wherever they needed him to play 바카라.”

As of the middle of last month, Kim was batting .290 with an OPS of .840, but he’s been on a downward spiral lately and is still highly regarded.

“It’s a really, really long (season),” Kim told local outlet the San Diego Union-Tribune, “and I’m grinding. So I’m trying to stay sharp and play at a high level and do everything I can to help the team win. It’s my job to stay fit.”

The team also seems to be concerned about Kim’s fitness. On the 13th, Kim went on the disabled list for the first time in 49 days. He returned on the 14th against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he showed signs of fatigue as he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

“Personally, I think I did a really good job throughout the season,” he said. “If you compare my numbers from last year to this year, I played more, I hit more, I played a lot more. It’s hard, but I think I did a really good job this year,” he added.

With 69 wins and 78 losses, the team is in fourth place in the NL West and well out of the wild card race, making it difficult to look forward to fall baseball, but there are still 15 games left. Kim has already accomplished a lot, but it’s the end of the season when he needs to push harder for personal goals like becoming the first Asian player to reach 20 home runs and 40 stolen bases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post