“Did you expect Ha-Sung Kim to steal 30 bases?”
That’s what San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin told Frywire on Aug. 25 (KST). Kim had two hits on the day, but did not add a home run. In 146 games this season, Kim is batting .266 with 136 hits in 512 at-bats, 17 home runs, 58 RBI, 83 runs scored, 36 stolen bases, a .358 on-base percentage, a .408 slugging percentage and a .766 OPS.
It’s true that his numbers dropped off a bit in September, and he’s fallen off the top of the major league leaderboards, but he’s also no longer the team’s top producer as big-name signings like Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr, Mitch Machado, and Xander Bogaerts have come into their own.
That being said, Kim is having a breakout season three years after his debut. The Athletic named him one of the 20 Breakout Stars of the Year on Dec. 23. He’s also one year away from the end of the first four years of his 4+1 year, $39 million contract. Another question is whether San Diego will offer Kim an extension this winter.
According to U.S. media, Kim is likely to become a free agent after the 2024 season. There’s no reason for him to pick up the $8 million, one-year option. If that’s the case, it’s possible that San Diego will take “preemptive action” with an extension or trade. 레고토토
In this situation, Melvin once again praised Kim. “Coming into the season, could you have expected 30 steals from him? He’s on a mission. He does a lot of work behind the scenes with assistant coach Ryan Christensen on movement, leg kicks, and what he’s going to look for to give himself a little bit of an advantage.”
In fact, Kim worked with his best friend Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom) to tweak his batting stance ahead of the season. The key was to lower his bat hand to his chest. He adapted to the change by minimizing the time it takes to get to the hitting point so that he can handle fastballs, and by forming as much as possible in front of the hitting point to produce quality hits.
“He’s worked hard, put in the work, and been successful, and that’s what he’s all about,” Melvin said. Everything he does – defense, offense, running the bases – is indicative of the beginning of really good baseball. I think he’s on the verge of being an All-Star. In the years to come, I expect him to be.”