“I’m proud to play every day” Kim Ha-seong books best Korean season ever, surpassing Park Chan-ho and Ryu Hyun-jin in WAR

San Diego Padres outfielder Ha-Sung Kim talked about what it’s like to play the season opener in South Korea next year.

“It’s the first time a major league game will be played in Korea,” Kim told MLB.com on Aug. 18 (ET). Everyone is excited. Korean fans are very passionate about baseball. They know how to watch baseball and are serious. They love baseball.”

According to the “2024 World Tour” schedule announced by MLB on March 13, San Diego will play the opening two-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Seoul on March 20-21 next year. It’s called the “Seoul Series. It will be the ninth time a major league opening game will be played in a third country outside of the United States and Canada, and the fifth time Seoul will be the city.

In addition to Kim, San Diego staples like Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr, Xander Bogaerts, and Darvish Yu will be stepping on Korean soil for the first time ever, as will Dodger stars like Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, and Will Smith. For Kim, it’s a homecoming of sorts, as he’s already established himself as a big league pitcher.

Kim played seven seasons in the KBO before joining the major leagues in 2021. With the Kiwoom Heroes, he batted .294 with 133 home runs and 940 RBIs.

“I can’t pick one special moment in the KBO. I remember every game I played. Every moment was great and I’m proud that I played hard.”

MLB.com wrote, “Kim is now the Padres’ starting second baseman. He’s showing the world that he can play in America. He can hit long balls and steal bases. His defense isn’t bad either. He only has four errors this year.” According to Baseball-Reference, Kim is first on the team with a WAR of 4.3. Last year, he was second with 5.0, behind Machado.

“I’m proud of the fact that I’m playing every day in the major leagues. I feel blessed. I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to play every day. I get to meet great teammates 토토사이트 순위 and people from the organization. I’m going to do my best and show what I have on the field every day,” he said.

As of today, Kim is batting .262 (77-for-294) with 11 home runs, 33 RBIs, 48 runs scored, 17 doubles, and a .769 OPS in 89 games. In particular, he has continued his midseason hot streak, hitting .288 with six home runs in 38 games since June.

According to MLB.com, his bWAR of 4.3 ranks first on the team, third in the National League, and fifth in both leagues combined. His defensive WAR of 2.1 ranks first overall. He is the favorite to win the NL Gold Glove at second base this year.

No Korean major leaguer has ever cracked the top 10 in bWAR. If Kim keeps up his current pace, he could reach 7.4 this season. That would also be the highest by a Korean player in history.

Park Chan-ho set his career high with a bWAR of 4.9 in 2000, when he was with the Dodgers. In 34 starts that year, he went 18-10 with a 3.27 ERA and 217 strikeouts.

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