Kim Ha-sung, who grew up watching “Habber,” Becomes Another Idol, Taking GG Steps for the First Time in Korea

South Korea’s first Gold Glove winner is now an idol for aspiring baseball players.

Kim shared his feelings and reflections at the Gold Glove Award Press Conference held at Hotel Rivera Versailles in Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea on Tuesday.

This season, Kim had an extraordinary performance. He finished the season with a .260 batting average, 17 home runs, 60 RBIs, 84 runs scored, 140 hits, a .351 OPS, and a .749 slugging percentage in 152 games. While he missed out on joining the 20-homer, 20-steal club, his career-high season gives us plenty to look forward to next year. And while he didn’t end up winning any awards, he was recognized for his ability to hit in the majors, receiving Silver Slugger nominations and votes in National League MVP voting.

When it comes to defense, there’s no question. Kim was one of three finalists for the Gold Glove in the National League in two categories: second base and utility.

He faced stiff competition from Nico Horner (Chicago Cubs) and Bryson Stott (Philadelphia Phillies) for the second base award, but lost out to Nico Horner. As of Aug. 14, Kim had the highest Defensive Runs Defended (SDI) of any of the contenders at 8.3, according to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), but a coaches’ vote changed the outcome.

Kim went on to win the Gold Glove in the Utility category. The three utility finalists were Kim, Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Tommy Hyun-Soo Edmon of the St. Louis Cardinals. In terms of defensive metrics, Kim outperformed both players. In DRS, a measure of defensive ability, he was +16, higher than Betts (+9) and Edmon (+3). He was also second in OAA (Outs Above Average) at +9, behind Edmon (+10).

His positional range lived up to his multiplayer moniker. Kim played every position in the infield except first base this season. He played the most games at second base (106 games-856⅔ innings), followed by third base (32 games-253⅓ innings) and shortstop (20 games-153⅓ innings), where his all-around defense earned him the Utility Award.굿모닝토토 주소

Kim has been one of the best infielders in the major leagues this season, but it hasn’t been without its struggles. In 2021, his first year in the big leagues, he batted .202 with eight home runs, 34 RBIs, and a .622 OPS.

“My first season was very difficult. I thought I should build my castle on concrete rather than on sand while playing baseball, so I worked hard to improve,” he said. “However, my performance was very bad, and I was always thinking about how to hit fastballs. I was down on the offensive side, but I hit a lot of pitching machine balls with the idea of hitting them first,” he said about overcoming his slump.

The person who pulled Kim out of his slump was none other than Park Chan-ho. Park Chan-ho is known as the “father of overseas baseball” in Korea, paving the way for Korean players to reach the major leagues.

Kim looked up to him as a child. “Actually, I always worked out with the mindset that I had to go up,” he says. I had a hard time after I tasted failure in the first season. It was hard to accept the slump.” “When I was struggling, I talked to Park Chan-ho. “When I was struggling, I talked to Park Chan-ho, and he told me that I should have a mindset of steady progress rather than going up. I realized that if something doesn’t work out, I should just take a break instead of getting frustrated. Thanks to his words, I was able to overcome.”

Kim, who grew up watching Park Chan-ho, is now an “inspirational figure” for aspiring baseball players. Having walked the path that Park Chan-ho created, he is now paving a new path for someone else. “I think I’m walking on a path paved by Korean major leaguers. I will do my best to make the road even better for the juniors.”

After returning to Korea, Kim visited his alma mater to meet with the younger players. “When I talked to the younger kids, many of them said that their dream is to become a major leaguer. I wondered if I could have said that confidently when I was younger, and it was meaningful to think that the word major leaguer is closer. I think I have followed the path of my seniors well, and I will continue to make a good path for the younger players to follow my path.”

To the younger players who dream of becoming major leaguers, he said, “It’s natural that you have to be good at baseball. In addition, I want them to learn English from a young age. Communication is very important,” he said, adding, “I’m still struggling with my lack of English. If you have a dream, studying English in advance will help you even if you don’t become a major leaguer. Especially Lee Jung-hoo and Ko Woo-seok, they need to learn English well once they reach the United States. I want to tell them to study even now. I think we can be recognized first by how we behave,” he said.

Kim also specifically mentioned a player who he believes will become the next major leaguer. “I think it will be Kim Hye-sung of Kiwoom Heroes,” he said. “While watching this APBC, I thought that Kim Hye-sung is different from other players her age. She is very sincere and has a great passion for baseball, so I think she has a great chance of becoming the next major leaguer.” “I know that Kim Hye-sung is thinking about entering the major leagues. She can post after next year. I would love to see her play in the major leagues.”

Kim will open the Major League Baseball season next March against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Gocheok Dome in South Korea. It will be his first time in a San Diego uniform and meeting Korean fans. Kim is also excited. “It’s an honor to play in the first opening game in Korea. I think the younger kids here will be able to see a major leaguer play and grow their dreams. I’m playing two games, and I hope to get one hit in each game,” he said.

Kim’s goal for the future is to keep winning Gold Gloves. “I want to keep winning Gold Gloves. I think the best thing I can do is play defense. I want to keep proving myself. I will continue to be recognized for my defense, not as a player with a ‘sparkle’ Gold Glove,” he said.

“I think I was able to win the Gold Glove because a lot of fans woke up at the crack of dawn to support me. It was a good motivation and made me play harder. We will bring even more joy next year.”

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