Brilliant defense, all-out base running, one-hit wonder. These are the things that come to mind when you think of Ha Sung Kim (27, San Diego Padres). Now, they’ve been joined by the phrase “the definition of a No. 1 hitter.
Kim started at first base and went 2-for-4 with two doubles, two RBIs, and one strikeout in the Padres’ 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) home opener against the Texas Rangers at Petco Park in San Diego, California, on Tuesday.
On the season, his batting average rose from .274 to .277 (92-for-332), while his on-base percentage (.369) and slugging percentage (.445) rose to .370 and .446, respectively. Not surprisingly, his OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) also increased slightly to 0.816.
Runs+Bases+Operations? Kim solves it in 1.
San Diego manager Bob Melvin began using Ha Sung Kim in the leadoff spot in July. He was on a roll in June with a .291 batting average, but his .333 batting average in July is a testament to his ability to bat first.
Typically, the number one hitter is the first to step up to the plate and connect with the center fielders. This is usually done by players who have a good eye for the ball as well as precision hitting. In addition to this, it”s also important to have the ability to run an extra base after a hit.
With 20 stolen bases already and a solid on-base percentage, not many people thought Kim would be a good fit at first base before July, but Melvin saw potential. While the team didn’t have a clear-cut batting order, Melvin believed that Kim could maximize his abilities at the top of the order, and the decision proved to be a godsend.
Kim, batting first again, grounded out to the second baseman in the bottom of the first inning. In the bottom of the second inning, with both teams tied 0-0, Kim showed off his “fixer-upper” instincts. He took a three-pitch outside changeup from starter Martin Perez and flicked it to center field to load the bases. It raised his season RBI total to 39.
In the bottom of the fifth, with his team up 4-0, he led off with a double, this time pulling a sinking Perez slider and sending it into the left-center field seats.
In the bottom of the sixth, Kim came up to bat again with the bases loaded, but this time he was stuck on a high slider from reliever Jose LeClerc. He struck out looking, 스포츠토토 ending his streak of 40 consecutive at-bats without a strikeout.
The hard-hitting Kim earned his eighth win of the season (7-1) off starter Darvish Yu, who threw 92 pitches in six innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out nine. He is now 103-82 in his career. Darvish has stabilized after a rough May and June, picking up three wins (one loss) this month. He also lowered his ERA from 4.80 to 4.53.
The ‘3-4-5 slash line’… The dreaded No. 4 hitter ‘Awesome Kim’
Kim earned the nickname “Awesome Kim” for his awe-inspiring hobbies, unselfish base running, and one-hit wonder hitting ability.