Kim Ha-seong’s Breakout Season Earns Praise from MLB Experts
By Yang Jeong-woong, Reporter | September 23, 2023 | 07:01
The 2023 season has been a remarkable one for Kim Ha-seong (28) of the San Diego Padres. Even a former Major League Baseball (MLB) general manager turned columnist couldn’t have predicted his outstanding performance.
On September 22nd, The Athletic, an American media outlet, named Kim Ha-seong as one of the top 20 players who made significant strides in the 2023 MLB season. Columnist Jim Borden, himself a former general manager of the Cincinnati Reds, recognized Kim’s breakout season.
Kim Ha-seong found himself in esteemed company, ranking above players like Louis Robert Jr. of the Chicago White Sox and Justin Steele of the Chicago Cubs. Borden marvelled at Kim’s unexpected success, stating, “If I had told you during spring training that Ha-seong Kim would have a higher WAR than Manny Machado or Xander Bogaerts this year, who would have believed me?”
Indeed, as of September 22nd, Kim Ha-seong’s fWAR (FanGraphs WAR) stood at 4.4, placing him third on his team. The margin between him and top-ranked players Juan Soto (5.0) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (4.5) was marginal. Surprisingly, the highly paid Machado and Bogaerts fell short with 4.3 and 3.1 fWAR, respectively. Kim Ha-seong’s value has surpassed even that of star players in the Premier League.
Borden continued to commend Ha-seong Kim’s improvement, noting his higher on-base percentage (0.356), career-high 17 home runs, and impressive 36 stolen bases. He also praised Kim’s elite defense, even playing at second base.
While several players showed improvement in the 2023 MLB season, Kim Ha-seong’s exceptional progress and breakout performance from the previous year have garnered significant attention.
Kim Ha-seong’s Stats Reflect His Stellar Season
Kim Ha-seong’s remarkable performance throughout the 2023 season warrants recognition. In 143 games played, he achieved a .265 batting average, 17 home runs, 58 RBI, 81 runs, 36 stolen bases, and an impressive on-base percentage of .356. His slugging percentage stands at .407, resulting in a commendable OPS of 0.763. These numbers are likely to mark a career-high season for Kim.
As of September 22nd, Kim Ha-seong’s overall WAR, according to Baseball Reference, stood at 5.7, ranking him sixth in the National League. FanGraphs also placed him 18th in the league standings. This resurgence has propelled him into the upper echelon of first-class players.
Particularly notable was Kim Ha-seong’s summer performance, which showcased his incredible momentum. At the end of the game on June 19th, his batting average and OPS were 0.240 and 0.694, respectively, not significantly different from the previous year. However, an outstanding two months starting from June 20th witnessed Kim’s batting average rise to .317, along with 11 home runs, 26 RBI, 40 runs, 16 stolen bases, and an excellent OPS of .926 in 53 games. These statistics positioned him favorably in terms of WAR (FanGraphs), stolen bases, and OPS across the MLB.
A Rising Star in the National League MVP Race
Kim Ha-seong’s stellar performance extended beyond his summer streak, as he consistently excelled throughout the season. He briefly saw his season batting average reach .290, and his OPS entered the 0.800 range. In mid-August, prominent media outlets like ESPN even ranked Kim Ha-seong fifth in the National League MVP race. Only two Korean players, Choo Shin-soo in 2010 and 2013 and Ryu Hyun-jin in 2019 and 2020, have previously been considered for this prestigious award.
However, Kim Ha-seong’s defensive workload this year, accumulating 1,178 ⅓ innings, combined with his consistent appearances as the team’s leadoff hitter since late June, resulted in physical toll. As of September, Kim’s performance declined, recording a low batting average of .167 with limited extra-base hits apart from doubles, 6 RBI, 7 stolen bases, and an OPS of 0.417 in 13 games. The team provided him with rest, but it proved ineffective as he recently missed a starting lineup due to abdominal pain during a game against Oakland on the 18th.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, an American media outlet, praised Kim Ha-seong for his exceptional stability throughout the season. They commended his consistent contribution during the team’s ups and downs, citing it as a testament to his value to the San Diego franchise. They advised caution due to the team’s situation and the need to protect Kim Ha-seong from further incidents or injuries.
Kim Ha-seong’s remarkable journey in the 2023 MLB season highlights his emergence as a prominent player worthy of accolades.
Reporter Yang Jeong-woong | 2023.09.23 07:01
Ha-seong Kim. /AFPBBNews=News 1 Kim Ha-seong. /AFPBBNews=News1 Who knew Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres) would do so well in the 2023 season. The same was true of a columnist who was the general manager of Major League Baseball (MLB).
The American media The Athletic mentioned the name of Kim Ha-seong on the 22nd (Korea time), saying, “We would like to select 20 players who made a big leap forward in the major league in the 2023 season and broke out as his called. season.” Columnist Jim Borden, who wrote this list, previously served as general manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
While Louis Robert Jr. (Chicago White Sox), who is about to reach 40 home runs this season (37 home runs from the 22nd), and Justin Steele (Chicago Cubs), who has applied for the Cy Young Award of the National League race, high in the rankings, Ha-seong Kim is ranked 5. He posted his name above. Borden commented on Ha-sung Kim’s surprise performance, saying, “If I had told you in spring training that Ha-sung Kim would have a higher WAR (earnings contribution above replacement) than Manny Machado or Xander Bogaerts this year , who would have believed me?”
Ha-seong Kim (right) and Xander Bogaerts. /AFPBBNews=News 1 In fact, as of 22nd, Kim Ha-seong’s fWAR (FanGraphs WAR) was 4.4, ranking 3rd on the team. Above him only Juan Soto (5.0) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (4.5), and the difference is not that big. The ‘billionaire duo’ Machado (11 years, $350 million) and Bogaerts (11 years, $280 million), who signed big contracts, are lower than Kim Ha-seong at 4.3 and 3.1, respectively. Ha-seong Kim’s value this season is higher than the value of the star players representing the Premier League.
Bowden then said, “Ha-seong Kim had a good 2022 season,” and added, “However, this year, his on-base percentage rose significantly (0.325 → 0.356) and hit a career-high 17 home runs. stole a base 36 times ,” adding, “Ha-seong Kim’s record has improved.” present. He also gave high praise, saying, “Ha-seong Kim is showing elite defense even at second base.”
In addition to these, there are many players in the big league this season who have improved their level compared to last year. However, even in this situation, it is positive that Kim Ha-seong, who has already attracted attention for his progress last season, is evaluated as having a breakout season this year as well.
Ha-seong Kim. /AFPBBNews=News 1 Even in a situation where the hot summer pace has slowed down, Kim Ha-seong’s 2023 season deserves high praise. Ha-seong Kim, who appeared in 143 games this year, has a .265 batting average, 17 home runs, 58 RBI, 81 runs, 36 stolen bases, an on-base percentage of .356, a slugging percentage of .407, and one OPS of 0.763. Even if the season ends this way, it’s sure to be a career-high season. As of the 22nd, baseball statistics website Baseball Reference’s WAR was 5.7, ranking 6th in the National League. FanGraphs also ranked 18th in the league. That’s how he was reborn as a first class player.
Especially the momentum shown in the summer was truly frightening. Ha-seong Kim had a 0.240 batting average and 0.694 OPS at the end of the game on June 19th. This figure was not much different from last year (0.251 batting average, 0.708 OPS). However, Ha-seong Kim had a hot two months after recording 3 hits in 4 at-bats against San Francisco on the 20th of the same month. From this game to August 20th (a doubleheader against Arizona), exactly two months later, Ha-seong Kim achieved a .317 batting average, 11 home runs, 26 RBI, 40 runs, 16 stolen bases, and an OPS of .926 in 53 games (51 starts). During this time, Ha-seong Kim ranked high in many indicators, including 6th in WAR (FanGraphs), 5th in stolen bases, and 19th in OPS across the major leagues.
Ha-seong Kim. /AFPBBNews=News 1 Kim Ha-seong, who created two hot months, also made progress in his performance in the season. His season batting average also rose to 0.290 at one point, and OPS went into the 0.800 range as well. Accordingly, in mid-August, some places (ESPN) evaluated Kim Ha-seong as 5th in the National League MVP race. Only two Korean players, Choo Shin-soo (2010, 2013) and Ryu Hyun-jin (2019, 2020), have ever been included in the Premier League MVP vote.
However, following last year (1,263 ⅓ innings), he has been on defense for 1,178 ⅓ innings this year, and as he has consistently appeared as the No. 1 hitter since late June, he has experienced physical ups and downs . As of September, Ha-seong Kim has appeared in 13 games and is recording a 0.167 batting average (9 hits in 54 at-bats), 6 RBI, 7 stolen bases, and an OPS of 0.417. There was not a single extra hit longer than a double, and apart from walks (6) and stolen bases, there were no significant results. As his stamina declined, the team gave him a break, but it was ineffective, and he was ruled out of the starting lineup against Oakland on the 18th due to abdominal pain.
The American media outlet San Diego Union-Tribune said, “Ha-sung Kim was one of the most stable players in San Diego throughout the season. Even as the team went through ups and downs, he was consistent in his performance throughout. Ha- Kim’s appearance this season is a testament to the San Diego franchise.” “It was a good sign,” he said. incident (like another injury) Especially considering the position of the team, it is reasonable to approach Ha-seong Kim with caution.” He added.
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