Kim Ha-seong (29, San Diego Padres) has fulfilled even the most difficult requirements for a Major League Baseball (ML) Gold Glove, and is now within striking distance of becoming the first Asian major league infielder and first Korean to win the award.
On July 7, Baseball America polled major league managers, scouts, and executives to determine the top three players in each category for the 2023 season. For example, in the baserunning category, the publication distinguished between the fastest player and the player with the best overall baserunning ability, while also identifying the pitcher with the best curveball, slider, and breaking ball.
Kim was clearly the best second base defender in the National League. He beat out contenders Nico Horner (Chicago Cubs) and Ozzie Albies (Atlanta Braves), who were judged by Major League Baseball’s fielding staff to have the best second base defense of the 2023 season.
The vote is significant for Kim, who is seeking his first Gold Glove award. Major League Baseball’s Gold Glove voting process is based on 60 votes, including one from each of the 30 team managers and coaches, with 75% of the votes counting as objective metrics, and the remaining 25% counting on the Defensive Rating Index (SDI) developed by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). Voters tend to vote for players who are already established or well-known in the field, which disadvantages rookies and lesser-known players.
Kim Hae-Sung was a prime example of this in 2022. Last year, in his first full season at shortstop, Kim was one of three finalists for the National League Gold Glove. Based on objective metrics alone, he was unassailable. His SDI of 7.6 was good for fourth among National League shortstops, just 0.1 behind Dansby Swanson (Atlanta Braves) at 7.7. Rather, the highest was another finalist, Miguel Rojas (Miami Marlins), at 9.0.
In another defensive metric, DRS (Defensive Runs Saved – a measure of how many runs a defender prevents), Kim was second among the three finalists at +10, while Swanson was the worst at 9. But because of the loss in on-field ratings, the Gold Glove was awarded to Swanson, a center fielder who helped lead Atlanta to 101 wins and a first-place finish in the National League East last year.
This year, Kim deserves the Gold Glove based on objective metrics alone. Twenty-five percent of the SDI has already been released before the Gold Glove announcement. SABR releases the last SDI numbers to the public each year in August, but the final record of results from August through the end of the season is not released until after the Gold Globes are announced, so we can use the August numbers to determine the three Gold Globe finalists for the year.
As of the August 14 announcement, Kim had an SDI of 8.3, ranking first among all major league second basemen and seventh among all positions. That’s a far cry from fellow candidates Horner’s 5.7 and Albies’ 3.9. According to Fielding Bible’s DRS numbers, he was +9 as a second baseman (3rd in the National League) and +15 overall (tied for 6th in the National League).
Unlike last year, this year, with solid objective evidence and high on-field ratings, winning the Gold Glove is no longer a dream. Kim’s peers are also backing him for the Gold Glove. According to The Athletic, San Diego third baseman Manny Machado said, “Sometimes the awards tend to go to certain people because of what they’ve done in the past, not because of the numbers,” adding, “This is definitely going to be his year.” San Diego manager Bob Melvin said, “He’s an amazing player. We’re used to seeing him at shortstop, but now he looks like a Gold Glove player at second base.”토스카지노
If he wins the Gold Glove, Kim will be the first Korean and first Asian infielder to be honored. Previously, outfielder Ichiro Suzuki won the Gold Glove for 10 consecutive years (2001-2010).