‘Leadoff prime’ Kim ‘imposing’ mainstream force, 4th in WAR, manager praised as “fantastic”

‘Leadoff prime’ Kim ‘imposing’ mainstream force, 4th in WAR, manager praised as “fantastic”

It’s the age of the leadoff man.바카라사이트

It’s a zeitgeist created by the success of modern baseball’s experimental attempts to maximize scoring with strong table-setters.

According to Baseball-Reference’s Wins Above Replacement (bWAR) rankings, a whopping four of the top 10 players on the list as of April 20 are leadoff hitters.

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels leads both leagues with 9.4, followed by Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers (6.4), Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves (6.2), Ha Sung Kim of the San Diego Padres (5.8), and Marcus Simien of the Texas Rangers (5.5).

Betts (6.4), Acuña Jr. (6.2), Julio Rodriguez (4.8), and Simien (4.8) of the Seattle Mariners are also among the top four in Fangraphs WAR (fWAR). However, Kim Ha-seong (4.3) lags behind in 16th place due to his negligible fWAR in defense.

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts watches a pitch after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against Miami, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2018. AP
It wasn’t until June 23 against the San Francisco Giants that Kim, who had been batting in the bottom of the order, was promoted to San Diego’s designated hitter. With Kim batting leadoff, San Diego’s offense has become more dynamic and its routes more varied.

The Padres averaged 4.46 runs per game in the first half, 10th in the NL and fourth in the West. In the second half, they were sixth in the NL and second in the West. After struggling with a weak batting lineup in the first half of the season, the Dodgers’ team color changed. This was largely due to the play of Kim Ha-seong at No. 1. A “revolutionary” leadoff hitter is historically rare, with a tenacious leadoff arm, quick feet, a big bat when needed, and the utility to cover second and third base and shortstop with top-notch defense.

Kim ranks third among all hitters with 4.37 pitches per at-bat. In 50 games leading off this season, he is batting .296 (58-for-196) with 10 home runs, 22 doubles, 40 runs scored, 16 stolen bases, a .395 slugging percentage, and an OPS of .885. His nearly quadruple-digit slugging percentage and power are indicative of a top-tier leadoff hitter.

It’s safe to say that Kim has earned his place as one of the best leadoff hitters in the major leagues.

Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr. is the best leadoff hitter in the majors. USATODAYYonline
However, Kim’s bWAR has been sagging a bit lately. In the first and second games of a doubleheader against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, Kim totaled just one hit and one RBI in eight at-bats. In his last seven games, he is batting .172 (5-for-29) with one home run, three doubles, four RBIs, and a .510 OPS. Hitting cycles are a fact of life for Kim, who was once a favorite to finish second in bWAR behind Ohtani.

However, this doesn’t seem to be a downward trend in his value. Against Arizona, he fought hard to work full counts and maintained his bad-boy mentality to torment opposing pitchers. In Game 1, he hit a thunderous line drive home run.

San Diego manager Bob Melvin recently said of Kim, “He’s great. He’s been fantastic all season. He’s the most consistent player on our team.”

Betts, Acuña Jr. and Simien have all secured their futures with long-term deals. Kim’s four-year, $28 million contract expires next season. He has a mutual option for 2025 at $8 million per year. At this rate, there’s no reason to pick up the option. He can become a free agent at the end of next year, so San Diego should lock him up with an extension before then. They can’t afford to lose their best leadoff man. It remains to be seen if the team will offer Kim an extension after this season.

Leave a Reply