“I’ve been good all year.”
This year, Ha-Sung Kim has established himself as the leadoff man for the San Diego Padres. The Padres are loaded with superstars, but no one has filled the leadoff role better than Kim. Even the highly paid Fernando Tatis Jr. bats first on Kim’s days off. It’s no surprise that Kim is now batting leadoff.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, a local San Diego newspaper, highlighted Kim’s performance on Sept. 26. “He’s one of six leadoff men the Dodgers have used this year,” they wrote, “and while Tatis Jr. has lost the starting job, Kim has taken over. Tatis Jr. also starts in the leadoff spot on Kim’s days off.”
Tatis Jr. has seen the most time in the leadoff spot for San Diego this season. He has batted first in 45 games. More recently, Kim has been batting leadoff more often, with 27 games in the leadoff spot. In 109 at-bats, he has 32 hits, eight home runs, 14 RBI, 17 runs scored, and 21 walks. He is batting .294 with a .398 on-base percentage, .550 slugging percentage, and a .948 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage).
Kim has done a great job as a leadoff hitter. His recent pace has been even better. Has led off 17 times in 18 games and has three leadoff home runs. That’s good for fifth in the division. He’s also been a standout at the top of the order.
The manager has a lot of confidence in him. The San Diego Union-Tribune quoted San Diego manager Bob Melvin as saying, “He’s been good all year, and with him in the leadoff spot, we haven’t had any problems with lefties and righties.”
He’s been able to set the table in front of superstars like Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Tatis Jr. and Xander Bogaerts. He played his role of creating scoring chances for his teammates perfectly. “Just knowing that I have great players behind me gives me confidence as a leadoff hitter. I get more at-bats, and I try to get more hits. I go into the game knowing that the guys behind me are going to drive me home,” Kim said, giving credit to his teammates for his performance as a leadoff hitter.
Starting at first base and batting second against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2023 Major League Baseball World Series at Petco Park in Petco Park, California, USA, Kim went 2-for-5 with a home run and a stolen base. His performance led San Diego to a 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh.