On Thursday (KST), The Athletic highlighted Kim Ha-seong, who has continued his stellar play by moving the San Diego Padres up to 18th in the Major League Baseball power rankings. While the title of the article was power rankings, the main focus was on the All-Star.
Last year, Kim was thrust into a full-time starting role after Fernando Tatis Jr. was lost for the season due to PED use and injury. In 150 games at the plate, Kim hit .251 with 11 home runs, 59 RBIs, 58 runs scored, 12 doubles, and a .708 OPS, while playing stellar defense that earned him a Gold Glove finalist for the National League shortstop award.
When San Diego finally signed Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year, $280 million deal in free agency last offseason, and Tatis Jr. returned after serving his full suspension, Kim’s position didn’t change much, except for a shift from shortstop to second base. He’d built up a lot of trust in a short amount of time.
Kim’s performance this season has been unparalleled. In 61 games, he has 46 hits, five home runs, 20 doubles, 26 RBI, 11 stolen bases, and a .241 OPS of .713. His batting average is down a bit from last season, but his on-base percentage is noticeably better. The defense is still there. Kim leads all National League second basemen in DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and OAA (Outstanding Runs Above Average).
The easiest metric to understand his performance is WAR (wins above replacement). According to Baseball Reference, Kim’s fWAR of 3.0 is the highest among San Diego players. According to FanGraphs, his bWAR is 1.7, which ranks fourth among San Diego players. While there is some discrepancy due to the different ways the two sites measure WAR, it’s clear that San Diego has a strong presence in the top tier.
“Tahiro Estrada leads the National League in fWAR at second base, but with Luis Arajuez (Miami Marlins), Nolan Gorman (St. Louis Cardinals), Ketel Marte (Arizona Diamondbacks), and Ha-Sung Kim (San Diego), it’s not a sure thing,” The Athletic notes of the San Francisco Giants’ likely All-Star at second base. This is an indirect reference to Kim’s status in the major leagues.
The Athletic went on to say that Kim and 안전놀이터 Nick Martinez are the two San Diego players who are likely to make the All-Star Game. “San Diego has two players to keep an eye on,” the publication said, noting that “among his high-profile teammates, the player most likely to make the All-Star Game is Ha Sung Kim, who ranks third in the National League in fWAR.”
“While he doesn’t provide much of an impact at the plate, he leads the National League in DRS,” The Athletic continued, “and not just at second base, but at any position,” giving a thumbs-up to Kim’s defensive prowess.
For starters, Kim finished ninth among National League second basemen with 82,879 votes in Major League Baseball’s All-Star balloting, which was released on Wednesday. At this point, it’s unlikely he’ll ever make the All-Star team through voting. However, all bets are not off. There is still the possibility of a managerial nomination.
It remains to be seen if Kim, who has been receiving rave reviews from local media in the United States, can become the fourth Korean major leaguer to be invited to the “Feast of Stars” after Kim Byung-hyun (2002), Choo Shin-soo (2018), and Ryu Hyun-jin (2019).