Kim Ha-sung won the Special Award of the Year at the 2023 Professional Baseball Sports Seoul Awards held at the Eliena Hotel in Nonhyeon-dong, Seoul on the 30th of last month.
Kim Ha-sung, who joined Kiwoom in 2014 and started his professional career, reigned as the best shortstop in the KBO league until 2020, with a batting average of 294 (940 hits in 3,195 at-bats) 133 home runs, 575 RBIs, 606 runs, and 134 stolen bases OPS.866. Based on his performance in Korea, he achieved his dream of entering the Major League by signing a four-year guarantee contract of $28 million (about 36.4 billion won) with San Diego. 안전놀이터
Kim Ha-sung, who struggled somewhat in his first year in the Major League, left behind his disappointing debut season and began to take his place in the Major League in earnest. Last year, Fernando Tatis Jr. took the opportunity as the main shortstop as he was unable to play a game due to an 80-game suspension for injury and detection of banned substances.
Last winter, when San Diego recruited shortstop Xander Bogaerts for 11 years and 280 million dollars, Kim Ha-sung was pushed out to second base, but he showed better performance. He had the best season with a batting average of 260,000 (140 hits in 538 at-bats) with 17 home runs, 60 RBIs, 84 runs scored, and 38 stolen bases OPS.749, and showed the best defense in defense by playing 106 second base (856 ⅔ innings), 32 third base games (253 ⅓ innings), and 20 shortstop games (153 ⅓ innings). Kim Ha-sung, who was shortlisted in the National League Gold Glove second baseman and utility categories, won the Gold Glove in the Yuri Tilly category, becoming the first Korean player and the first Asian infielder to lift the Gold Glove.
Kim Ha-sung said, “I received a lot of help until I received the Gold Glove. Thank you to the coaches and coaches who instilled basic defense skills in amateur and professional games. I’m really happy and I’ll continue to work hard to receive a lot of Gold Gloves.” He added, “I’m really grateful to Coach Bob Melvin for consistently giving me opportunities even though he’s gone to another team now.”
Kim Ha-sung’s Kiwoom junior Lee Jung-hoo will challenge the Major League through posting this winter. LG closer Ko Woo-seok also expressed his intention to advance to the Major League through posting. Next year, Kim Hye-sung, Kim Ha-sung’s Kiwoom junior, will challenge the Major League just like Lee Jung-hoo.
“Since Kim Ha-sung is also playing in the U.S., I hope he can easily dream bigger and challenge himself with a light heart,” said Kim Ha-sung, who said, “There are many juniors in Korea who can do better than me and I think they can succeed more than me. I hope he will challenge me a lot.”
In particular, Kim Ha-sung’s affection for Kim Hye-sung, the same infielder, is extraordinary. “I personally think that Kim Hye-sung will be the next candidate next time,” Kim Ha-sung told a Gold Glove-winning press conference. “I watched APBC (Asian Professional Baseball Championship), and I thought that Kim Hye-sung is different from other players of that age. When he grows up well, he will become a better player than me. He is a sincere player and has great baseball passion. He keeps in touch with me and asks me many questions. I think Hyesung also has a plan to play in the Major League. I know that next year is a posting, but I want to see him play in the Major League,” he said, looking forward to Kim’s advancement to the Major League.
Kim Hye-sung, who played for the Korean national team at the Hangzhou Asian Games and APBC this year, said, “I think he told me because he was from the same team. He is a serious style. I am so grateful. I respect him and envy him because his colleague won the Gold Glove Award on such a big stage. I want to go and do well to prove that I am not wrong. Of course, I have a plan to enter the U.S. and I want to improve my skills and go to the U.S. like Ha Sung and Jeong Hoo.”