The San Diego Padres’ Ha-Sung Kim is leading the league in defensive stats.
He started at third base for the Padres against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 29, going 1-for-2 with a double, two walks, and three runs scored. Despite the team’s 7-10 loss, Kim boosted his stock.
For starters, he raised his season batting average to .242 (38-for-157) with 17 home runs, 18 RBIs, seven doubles, and a .712 OPS.
There is one category in which Kim leads the entire major leagues. That’s defensive WAR. According to Baseball-Reference, he has a 1.4 defensive WAR. He is 0.2 ahead of second-place Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco (1.2). Among the top 20 defensive WAR in both leagues, Kim is the only infielder with one error. Franco has three errors.
What makes Kim’s defense so impressive is that it’s not only solid at his natural position of shortstop, but also at second base, where he moved this year, and third base, where he’s been playing since Manny Machado’s injury.
His 2.1 WAR, which combines fielding, hitting, and baserunning, ranks ninth in the National League (NL). That’s the highest it’s been all season.
The NL leader in this category is Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves, who has a 3.1 mark. Freddie Freeman of the Los Angeles Dodgers 토토사이트 is second with 2.5, followed by Atlanta starting pitcher Bryce Elder (2.3), Colorado Rockies catcher Elias Diaz (2.3), and Chicago Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson (2.3).
Within the team, Kim is the highest. San Diego is loaded with star players. Manny Machado, Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Xander Bogaerts are the mainstays of the high-salary roster. However, their WAR is nowhere near that of Kim. Only Soto, who ranks second, has a 2.0.
Ironically, Kim’s 1.0 WAR highlights a sad reality in San Diego. Bogart is at 1.6, Tatis Jr. at 1.5, Jake Cronenworth at 0.8, Trent Grisham at 0.3, Machado at 0.2, Lugedor at 0.2, and catchers Austin Nola and Brett Sullivan are tied at -0.1, less than zero.
Bogaerts, who signed an 11-year, $280 million free agent deal last winter, has been in a downward spiral since May, unlike April. Against the Yankees, he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He hit .308 in April and .184 in May. Bogaerts is dead last on the team in May batting average alone. Soto leads the team with a .333 batting average in May and Kim is second with a .282 batting average.
Soto and Kim are leading the offense. With Bogaerts and Machado struggling, the offense hasn’t gained momentum. San Diego’s team batting average in May is 0.213, last in the NL. Their season batting average with runners in scoring position is 0.185, the worst in both leagues combined.
It was Kim’s third three-run game of his major league career. He was at the center of a late-game rally. Trailing 8-3 in the top of the seventh, San Diego scored three runs to cut the deficit to two. Following O’Dowd’s two-run homer, Kim took a Cole curveball to left-center field, advanced to third on Grisham’s double, and came home on Jose Azocar’s grounder to second base to make it 6-8.
Kim led off the ninth with a walk, stole second and third on the ensuing at-bat, and came home on Sullivan’s sacrifice fly for the team’s seventh run. That would be the last time San Diego would score.
The loss dropped San Diego to 24-29 on the year. They are five games out of a winning percentage. They are in fourth place in the NL West, 7.5 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers and three games behind the cutoff for the wild card. Kim can’t lead the way alone.