San Diego Padres’ Kim Ha-seong has been named the best second baseman in Major League Baseball’s (MLB) National League.
Baseball America (BA), a magazine specializing in American baseball, released the results of a survey on the “Most Talented Players” on July 7 (KST). The survey was conducted by a group of “experts,” including major league managers, scouts, and officials, and is of interest to many baseball fans.
In addition to the best players at each position, the survey covered a variety of categories, including the best bunters, the best baserunners, and the most interesting players, with Kim coming out on top as the best second baseman in the National League. Nico Horner (Chicago Cubs) and A.J. Albies (Atlanta Braves) came in second and third, respectively.
Kim’s improved offensive and defensive skills this season have made him an indispensable player for San Diego. His +14 Defensive Run Saverd (DRS), a metric used to evaluate infielders, ranks eighth among all major league infielders, and fifth when narrowed down to “starts at second base”. That’s a lot of defensive range and a reliable arm to handle a lot of hard-hit balls.
In particular, Kim showed his stability by playing not only second base but also shortstop and third base when the team needed him. While his performance at second base alone is impressive, he is also competitive with other infielders in other positions.
In fact, the local media’s praise for Kim has become ‘normal’. On April 4, MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, mentioned Kim’s name in an article about the best second baseman this season. MLB.com wrote, “Kim is the most valuable player on the team, playing solid defense. He set career highs in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, OPS, and home runs,” wrote MLB.com about Kim’s performance this season.
It’s great for the team and for the player to see his name mentioned alongside some of the best in the league. At this rate, it’s not hard to see him winning a Gold Glove.
Until now, there hasn’t been a single Gold Glove awarded to a Korean player in the big leagues. No other Korean player in the big leagues, including Shin-Soo Choo, has ever won a Gold Glove. Among Asian players, only outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has won the award. If Kim wins the award this year, he will be the first Korean big leaguer to win a Gold Glove and the first Asian infielder to win a Gold Glove.
The Gold Glove voting is based on 25% of the SABR Defensive Index (SDI) and 75% of the managers’ and coaches’ votes. With the positive vibes coming from both the numbers and public opinion, there’s a bit of a buzz around Kim’s chances of winning the award 안전놀이터.
While the award isn’t everything, it’s clear that it can be a great motivator for a player to see them through to the end of the season. Sitting in fourth place in the National League West, San Diego has a record of 66-75 (.468) and is in the seventh wild card spot in the National League. They are seven games out of the third wild card, the Miami Marlins, and realistically, overcoming that gap over the course of 21 games will be a challenge. As fall baseball gets further and further away, player morale can dip.
But for Kim, it’s a race to the finish, and he’ll need to give it his all in the 162nd game of the regular season. His performance in the remaining games will likely determine the winner. However, Kim has slowed down a bit in September, going 4-for-25 with a .160 batting average before the Philadelphia Phillies on July 7. As he looks to rebound at the end of the season, it will be interesting to see if he can prove his worth once again and take a step closer to the golden glove.