Defense=Ha-Sung Kim. At Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, this formula seems to hold true. This is the local reaction to Kim’s (28) defense, as reported by a leading San Diego media outlet.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on June 6 (KST), “The best thing San Diego has going for it in 2023 is defense. Despite other flaws (such as offense), the Padres are better defensively than 29 other major league teams.”
Based on the latest defensive metric, OAA (Outs Above Average), he’s not wrong. Through six days, San Diego’s +18 OAA leads the league by a wide margin over the second-place Arizona Diamondbacks’ +11.
At the center of this is Kim Ha-seong, who has been playing solid defense at shortstop, third base, and second base. “Baseball fans don’t usually chant ‘DEE-fence’ (defense), but San Diego fans are practically chanting ‘Kim Ha-Sung’ (when they should be chanting defense),” the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Typically, fans’ defensive chants are reserved for sports like basketball, where ball-to-ball transitions are quick and certain. In baseball, the pitcher of the team is throwing during the defense, so in the regular season, it is not usually used unless it is a close game, such as the bases loaded with one run. Even then, the team name is only used as a chant. However, during the game between the San Diego Padres and the Chicago Cubs at Petco Park, Kim’s name was announced as a chant.
Kim returned the favor in kind. In the top of the eighth inning, with San Diego leading 4-0, Dansby Swanson hit a grounder to the side of the second base line. But Kim made a diving catch and threw to Jake Cronenwirth at second, putting runners on first and second with one out. Nick Martinez then retired the next two batters to end the inning without a run.
This defensive play may seem mundane, but Kim’s defensive performance this season has been remarkable. With a +10 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) at second base, he’s also leading the way for the Fielding Bible Award, which recognizes the best defensive player at each major league position. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Kim has racked up staggering defensive numbers in right field.
Manny Machado is playing third base and Xander Bogaerts is playing above-average defense at shortstop. Fernando Tatis Jr. has moved to the outfield behind Ha-Sung Kim and is ranked #1 in right field by Fielding Bible, creating a virtuous cycle that has helped San Diego rank 4th in team defense and top 7 in defensive efficiency by Fielding Bible.
But the best of all the San Diego defenders was Ha-Sung Kim. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, “Kim has been a force at second base and is comfortable playing third base at times. He’s on his way to being the best defender in San Diego franchise history,” and “At shortstop, he might be the best defender besides Hall of Famer Angie Smith.”메이저놀이터
Smith is a Major League Baseball defensive legend who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the first turn (91.7% from 2002) after playing 2573 games and winning 13 Gold Gloves, despite a career .262 batting average and .666 OPS.