It’s no secret that San Diego Padres infielder Ha Sung Kim is good at defence. Last year, he was a Gold Glove finalist, and this year he’s even more ripe for the picking. The numbers back it up.
Statcast, which provides a variety of records from around the major leagues, has recently been working on defensive metrics. Until now, defence has been something you have to look at with your own eyes, as there are only so many numbers you can put into it. However, with the development of statistical analysis systems, defensive metrics can be calculated more precisely. This is why the Gold Glove, which is voted on exclusively by the field, includes a 25 per cent defensive metric.
OAA, created by Statcast, is now a widely used defensive metric. It stands for “Outs Above Average,” which literally means how many more outs a player has made than average.
OAA was originally created to measure the defence of infielders. While outfielders are also measured by the distance they chase balls and the time it takes to make the catch, what sets OAA apart is that it also takes into account the speed of the batter. This mostly applies to infielders who have to throw to first base. Given these conditions, find the probability of an out. A fielder with a 10% chance of making an out is worth 0.9 points. Conversely, if they miss, 0.1 points are deducted.
In OAA calculated this way, Kim is currently a plus-10. That’s first among second basemen and second among all infielders, behind only Wander Franco (+11). With the San Francisco Giants’ Tyro Estrada, who is tied for first at second base, out with a fractured left hand, Kim is expected to dominate for the foreseeable future.온라인카지노
Statcast, an OAA endorsed site, has a more comprehensive defensive metric for Naechin Kim. It’s called Fielding Run Value. It combines defensive zone and throwing ability to determine a defender’s run value. It differs from OAA in that it looks at the defensive performance of all players, including catchers. Kim leads all second basemen in this metric.
Defensive Runs Saved by Second Baseman (300+ Innings)
8 – Ha-Sung Kim
6 – Thyro Estrada
6 – Marcus Simeon
5 – Nico Horner
The defence is unquestionable. The surprise is Kim’s offence. His confidence in defence is translating into attack. In many ways, he is even better than last year.
After getting a hit in his first game this season and three hits in his second, Kim hit his first home run on 4 April against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning (San Diego’s only walk-off win this season). After his first home run came quickly, Kim went 3-for-4 with a home run against the Atlanta Braves on 10 April. His 0.281 batting average and 0.937 OPS were reminiscent of his KBO days.
However, Kim finished the rest of April without a home run or a long ball. In 18 games, he hit just 9-for-54 with a .167 batting average. It was argued that his early long ball outburst was a poison pill.
After hitting rock bottom, Kim rebounded in May (batting .276 in 24 games). Taking the pressure off the bottom of the batting order allowed him to regroup, and after an adjustment period in early June, he is now hitting for power. Here are his stats over the last 29 games
Batting average: 0.327 (35 hits in 107 at-bats)
Slugging percentage: 0.397
Slugging percentage: 0.533 (6 home runs)
Since 15 June, Kim’s OPS is 0.929. That’s 15th in the league. It’s higher than Freddie Freeman (0.893), Paul Goldschmidt (0.786) and Bryce Harper (0.781) over the same period. His Adjusted Runs Created (wRC+), a measure of offensive performance relative to league average, was also strong at 157. However, there was one player who took his offence to another level with a wRC+ of 236. Shohei Ohtani.
In the meantime, Ha-Sung Kim had reclaimed the leadoff spot for the team. While manager Bob Melvin had occasionally used Kim in the leadoff spot against left-handed hitters, Kim was hitting so well that Melvin locked him into the leadoff spot against right-handers. The fact that Melvin, a ‘platoon believer’, overcame his leadoff platoon means that Kim is getting the recognition he deserves.
His batting average is also improving. After hovering around 85 mph through May, my average bat speed picked up in June and reached nearly 90 mph in July. While velocity isn’t everything, it’s encouraging to see him generate so many strong pitches. As he gained more confidence in his swing, the number of sharp pitches increased.
April – 85.5 mph
May – 85.6 mph
June – 87.8 mph
July – 89.5 mph
Kim also improved his performance against 95+ mph fastballs, which was considered a weakness. After going a combined 9-for-83 (.108) in 2021-22, he’s 10-for-32 (.313) this year. It’s a case of process leading to results, as the good pitches are being produced and the weaknesses are being worked on. If there is a clear cause-and-effect relationship, it is likely that his current performance is not a fluke.
Kim’s batting performance this year has been achieved against the odds. The players with the most out-of-zone strikes in the gameday zone per Statcast are Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros and Adley Rutchman of the Baltimore Orioles. They are tied for the top spot with 52 out-of-zone strike calls. In the National League, Thomas Lane of the Washington Nationals has the most with 46 pitches, but the next most prolific hitter after Lane is Ha-Sung Kim (44 pitches).
Kim is a hitter who watches the ball carefully, which is why he is often the victim of unfair calls. In fact, he had the highest number of balls watched per at-bat (4.40) of any regulation batsman. As a result, he tended to leave pitches in the zone. He had the lowest swing rate of swings at pitches in the middle of the strike zone this year (58.2 per cent), but his follow-through was impressive nonetheless.
Balls seen per at-bat
4.40 – Ha-Sung Kim
4.40 – Max Muncy
4.37 – Ryan McMan
4.35 – Ian Happ
After a year of adjustment, Kim made his mark in defence last year. This year, he has shown that he can play offence. Kim is no longer just a defence player. He’s a “defence” player.
National League bWAR Rankings (Baseball Reference)
5.1 – Ronald Acuña
4.5 – Ha-Sung Kim
4.3 – Mookie Betts
4.2 – Corbin Carroll