He’s close to becoming the first Asian player to do so. After overcoming the odds, Kim finished his third year in the big leagues with a well-deserved round of applause.
Kim started at second base in the final game of the 2023 Major League Baseball regular season against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois, USA, on February 2.
Kim finished his third year in the big leagues with a .749 OPS with 17 home runs, 60 RBI, 84 runs scored, 38 stolen bases, and 17 doubles in 152 games (140-for-538).
Kim is beginning to be recognized in the majors for his defense, as he was one of three Gold Glove finalists at shortstop in the National League last year. With Xander Bogaerts, who joined San Diego in the offseason on an 11-year, $280 million contract, sticking at shortstop, Kim moved to second base to start the season. He’s now in his third season in the big leagues, moving from utility player to shortstop and back to the starting lineup at second base.
At the beginning of the season, Kim’s defense was unchanged. For a player who was one of the best shortstop defenders in the majors, playing second base wasn’t a challenge, and he was still one of the best. At the plate, I felt like I broke through last year, but I was disappointed. After opening the season, he batted just 2-for-9 with two home runs and six RBIs in March and April.
However, he began to make his presence felt at the plate, especially with this year’s revised speed-up rule, which encourages stolen base attempts and amplifies his value. Kim played aggressively in the outfield and survived at a high rate. Not only did he steal, but he also made an aggressive play on the basepaths to move an extra base. He established himself as a fan favorite by not only running the bases but also playing defense. His jersey was always dirty and his helmet and sunglasses were on the ground. Kim’s hustle won the hearts of San Diego fans.
But the offseason changes to his batting outfit slowly began to take hold, and his batting started to heat up in June. He went 25-for-86 with four home runs, 12 RBIs, four doubles, and an .844 OPS in June, and then exploded in July to the point where he was arguably the best player on the team. Although he didn’t make the All-Star team, Kim’s performance was controversial enough to warrant a vote. In July, he batted 30-for-89 with five home runs, nine RBIs, eight doubles, and a .999 OPS. In the midst of big-money superstars like Manny Machado, Zander Bogaerts, Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr.
In August, he was named as San Diego’s representative on the Major League Baseball Retired Players Association’s (MLBPAA) list of 30 candidates for the 2023 Heart and Hustle Award. The award recognizes players who bring heart and passion to the game, not just records. The final selection of the 30 nominees will be announced in November, but Kim’s inclusion as the club’s representative is a sign that the outside world recognizes his play and considers him a superstar who represents San Diego.
At one point, he was hailed as an MVP-caliber player, ranking among the top in wins above replacement alongside Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels), Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta), and Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers). Baseball America, which polled managers, scouts, and senior officials from around the league, ranked the top defense in its Major League. He was also named the best defensive second baseman in the Top Talent Survey.
His presence at the plate still shone through. Although his numbers were down from July, he continued his momentum in August. He broke Shin-Soo Choo’s record for most stolen bases in a season by a Korean major leaguer and continued his momentum, reaching 20 home runs and 20 doubles, and even becoming the first Asian player to hit 20 home runs and 40 doubles.
However, his physical strength was depleted as he played leadoff and second base, both of which are physically demanding positions. He also played shortstop and third base occasionally to fill in for other starters. He played so much that it was called overwork. It was inevitable that my conditioning would plummet. In addition, in mid-September, he had to take a break due to abdominal pain. As a result, he didn’t hit any more home runs after hitting 17 on August 22. His pace of stolen bases also slowed down, leaving him at 38. His hopes of becoming the first Asian big leaguer to hit 20 home runs and steal 40 bases were dashed.온라인바카라
Still, Kim set career highs in most metrics. Most importantly, he gave San Diego hope in a season that had seen them struggle and seem hopeless. His unparalleled energy level made him a fan favorite, and he had a season that deserves praise and applause.
In his third year in the big leagues, Kim overcame the prejudices and limitations of Asian infielders to become a superstar. He may have fallen short of the record books, but his finale was nothing short of spectacular.