Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres) has been hitting for the cycle in Major League Baseball (MLB). Now, centre stage is taking notice and analysing his performance.
MLB Network, a TV sports channel, spent some time analysing Kim on the 9th (KST) with the theme “How underrated is Ha Sung Kim?”. MLB Network is a professional baseball broadcasting company owned by Major League Baseball.
Kim, who is in his third year in the big leagues, has attracted a lot of attention this year with his top performances. Through nine games this season, he is batting .288 with 15 home runs, 41 RBIs, 62 runs scored, 24 doubles, and an OPS of .835. According to Baseball-Reference, his WAR (wins above replacement) is 5.8, which ranks first among all major league outfielders. Fangraphs ranks him ninth at 4.3.
As a result, there is a growing interest in Kim in the United States. The MLB Network, which broadcasts across the United States, has joined this trend. MLB Network, which has been briefly mentioning Kim in recent days, introduced the transformation of Kim with a demonstration by former major league player Mark DeRosa (48). DeRosa, who played 16 seasons in the big leagues, was the manager of Team USA at the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March.
“He’s a special player. “He’s a special player. He’s always adding value,” DeRosa said, adding, “He was a 30 (home runs) to 30 (stolen bases) player in the KBO. In reality, Kim didn’t hit 30-30, but he did steal 33 bases in 2019 and hit 30 home runs in 2020. He was a true five-tool player.
“He’s a great baserunner, and he’s very versatile defensively,” DeRosa said, “playing second, third, and shortstop.” He also pointed to the fact that Kim has a Defensive Run Save (DRS) of +46 over the last three years, which ranks third in the majors behind only Brian Hays (Pittsburgh, +54) and Ryan McMahon (Colorado, +48).
Until last year, Kim had been praised for his defence, but his offence, which had been his strength in the KBO, had been criticised. However, DeRosa said, “He’s made a change in his offence this year, and he’s gotten to the point where he can see 20-20.” “His Baseball-Reference WAR is tied for first (as of the broadcast date). I’m not ready to accept that ranking yet,” he said, “but 10th (in Fangraphs) would be fine.”
DeRosa looked at Kim’s batting film from 2020, his final season in the KBO, and analysed the changes in his batting over the years. “I thought he was going to come to the majors and hit long balls like he did in the KBO,” DeRosa said, “but he went through a three-year adjustment period.”
DeRosa went on to describe the changes in Kim’s batting form in his three seasons in the majors, from 2021 to this season: “In 2021, his batting hand was near his face. In 2022, he put the bat on his shoulder, but the hand position was similar,” he analysed. “In 2023, he moved his starting point further down. His leg kick is also more aggressive than in the previous two years,” he said, describing the changes in his batting form.
Kim, who modified his batting form last winter with fellow Kiwoom Heroes junior Lee Jung-hoo, 25, is seeing the benefits this season. This year, Kim is batting .259 against 345 pitches over 95 miles per hour (152.9 km/h), according to baseball stats site Baseball Servant, which is much better than last year’s numbers (.150, 393 pitches). Raising the bar to 97 miles per hour (156.1 kilometres per hour) and above actually boosts his batting average to 0.333. This is also a huge improvement from last year (0.118).
“He’s been making adjustments,” DeRosa said, pointing to video footage of Kim performing well against fastballs over 96 miles per hour (154.5 km/h) this season. In particular, DeRosa highlighted a clip from last month’s game against Zack Wheeler in Philadelphia on the 17th, in which Kim swung at Wheeler’s fastball in the first inning and missed a sharp changeup. He then took a five-pitch sweeper down the strike zone for a solo home run to left field. The analysts attributed his performance to his flexibility with off-speed pitches.온라인바카
Among all major league hitters with at least 130 plate appearances since June 16, Kim’s wRC+ (adjusted run production) of 185 is tied for third with Freeman, according to MLB Network, and his 4.36 pitches per plate appearance ranks him fourth in the majors among hitters with at least 250 plate appearances.
As such, Kim has garnered attention from across the country. His value is increasing with each passing day, including a spot in the National League MVP mock voting.