Kim Hae-sung thrilled with ‘return of gold as ML starter’ “Korean fans are passionate, everyone is ‘yazalal'”

Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres), who is set to make his “golden homecoming” as a starter for a Major League Baseball (MLB) team, expressed his excitement for the Seoul Series.

“He was excited about the fact that fans in his hometown will be able to see him play in the big leagues for the first time,”, the official website of Major League Baseball, reported on Aug. 18 (KST).

Earlier, Major League Baseball and the players’ union announced on March 13 that the MLB World Tour will be held in four countries outside of the United States and Canada during the 2024 MLB regular season. According to the announcement, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will play the season-opening two-game series in Seoul on March 20-21 next year. This will be the first MLB regular season game to be held in South Korea.

In particular, the Gocheok SkyDome, where the games will be held, is very familiar to Kim as he played for the KBO League’s Nexen-Kiwoom Heroes for five seasons starting in 2016. The San Diego Padres announced the “Seoul Series” on their social media channels, posting an image of Kim in the foreground over star players such as Fernando Tatis Jr. (24) and Manny Machado (31). “Baseball at the center of Korea,” San Diego wrote alongside the image.

“I know that this series will be my first major league game in Korea, so I’m very happy,” Kim said. “Korean fans are very passionate about baseball. They know how to watch it very well,” said Kim, who added, “They are very serious about baseball. He loves the sport.”

“I don’t have a favorite situation, but I remember all the games I played in the KBO,” he said, “I would say I loved every moment. I played hard and I’m proud of it,” he added.안전놀이터

Kim was the best shortstop in the KBO. After making his debut in 2014, he was nominated for Rookie of the Year the following year with 19 home runs and 22 stolen bases. Since then, he’s been recognized for his power at the plate, winning the Golden Glove for three consecutive years starting in 2018. In 2020, his final season in South Korea, he showed off his five-tool game for the first time in his career, hitting 30-30, with 100 RBIs and 20 stolen bases.

Kim Ha-seong slides into first base after fielding a grounder to second base. /Photo=San Diego official SNS
This performance earned him a call-up to the big leagues in 2021, and the following year he established himself as the starting shortstop, playing 150 games in the absence of Tatis Jr. He moved to second base this season due to the acquisition of veteran shortstop Xander Bogaerts, 31, and has exceeded expectations, hitting .262 with 11 home runs, 33 RBI, 17 doubles and a .769 OPS through 17 games. His +11 OAA (Outs Above Average), the latest defensive metric that tracks how many more outs a player has made this season than the league average, ranks second among all major league outfielders and first among second basemen.

“Kim is now San Diego’s starting second baseman, and he’s shown that he can play in the big leagues,” wrote. “He has decent power and the ability to steal bases. His defense isn’t bad either,” the outlet explained, noting that his WAR (wins above replacement) of 4.2 on Baseball Reference is first on the San Diego team.”

Kim Ha-Sung. /AFPBBNews=News1
“I’m really proud to be a starter in the major leagues. It’s a blessing,” he said, expressing his satisfaction with his current situation. “I will feel lucky that the team gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues. And I’m not going to let my teammates or my teammates down. I will do my best and show everything I have,” he said, expressing his determination for his future in the big leagues.

Meanwhile, Kim started at first base and second base for the visiting 2023 MLB team against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and went 2-for-6 with a solo home run in the first inning and one RBI. His first home run in the second half boosted his chances of becoming the first Asian infielder to join the 20 (home runs)-20 (stolen bases) club.

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