“I looked up to all the Korean big leaguers, and I wanted to be like them,” said Kim Ha-seong (27, San Diego Padres).
Now, Kim is a big leaguer that many Korean baseball prospects want to emulate.
MLB.com highlighted Kim’s recent accomplishments, saying, “One of San Diego’s most valuable players has set a new record for consecutive games with a hit by a Korean big leaguer,” on March 13.
On July 12, Kim batted 2-for-5 at first base in the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks’ 2023 Major League Baseball game at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
He extended his hitting streak, which began on July 25 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, to 16 games.
This is the same streak that Shin-Soo Choo (now SSG Landers) achieved from July 3-23, 2013, while playing for the Cincinnati Reds.
“I respect every player who plays in the major leagues,” Kim told MLB.com, “I respect every Korean major leaguer who has played here. I grew up watching the older Korean big leaguers and wanted to be like them.”
Kim began his professional career in 2014 with the Nexen Heroes (now Kiwoom) of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) and established himself as the “best shortstop in Korea” before breaking into the big leagues in 2021.
The big leagues proved to be a place of patience.
In 2021 and 2022, Kim batted just .235 with a .306 on-base percentage and .372 slugging percentage.
MLB.com recalled the waiting game, saying, “Kim, who was a solid starter in the KBO, often watched from the bench in the big leagues.” Kim didn’t get frustrated.
Kim wasn’t discouraged.
“I believed in myself,” he says. I knew that if I worked hard every day and night, I would eventually succeed,” he says.
Through 12 days this season, Kim is batting .290 with a .384 on-base percentage, .453 slugging percentage, 15 home runs, and 27 doubles.
MLB.com wrote, “The key to Kim’s success is ‘patience at the plate. He’s lowered the percentage of swings at pitches outside the strike zone from 24.9 percent last year to 19.3 percent this year, while his walk rate has risen to 12.9 percent, and he ranks among the top 10 in the majors in both batting average (16th) and slugging percentage (9th).”
“He ranks fifth overall in OAA (Outs Above Average) for second basemen at +8, and he’s also been a force on the basepaths with 27 stolen bases.”
San Diego manager Bob Melvin said, “Ha Sung Kim has been fantastic all season. He’s been one of the most consistent players on our team.”
Despite the accolades, Kim remains humble.
“The hitting streak will end one day. I don’t care about that,” he said, 먹튀검증 “I just want to help the team win every day.