“Kim Ha-sung is better than Betts-Soto…” Fans were surprised, they never thought Kim Ha-sung would be this good.

San Diego is having a critical start to the season, with expectations falling short. The Dodgers have spent a lot of money to win the National League West and hopefully make it to the World Series, but the team hasn’t quite lived up to the hype.

With most of their players underperforming, the Padres are 29-33 (.468) with a frustrating on-base percentage. That’s a little better than they were at the start of the season, but still less than a fifth of the way to a winning percentage. In the National League West, they are fourth in the league behind Arizona (.597), the Los Angeles Dodgers (.565), and San Francisco (.508).

Nevertheless, there is one player who has been making a lot of noise early in the season, and that is Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego). Not only does he lead the league in defensive metrics with the best defense in the league, but he’s also been on fire offensively since May, often emerging as the star of the show for San Diego. There’s nothing he can’t do on offense, defense, fielding, or running the bases these days.

He’s a fan favorite for his hustle, but his numbers are only going to get better. Fan Nation, a fan column page under the Sports Illustrated umbrella, summarized Kim’s stats this season, saying, “San Diego is still a disappointment, but infielder Ha-Sung Kim is off to a great start in 2023.” On Aug. 8, they wrote, “San Diego is still a disappointment, but infielder Ha-Sung Kim is off to a great start in 2023.

Fan Nation’s focus was on Wins Above Replacement (WAR), a metric that has become widely used among fans and is often the primary reference for voting. “Kim is in the top tier of WAR,” Fan Nation wrote, citing statistics from Baseball Reference, “with Mookie Betts, Dansby Swanson and teammate Juan Soto behind him. His 2.8 WAR ranks seventh in the league 토토사이트.

It’s hard for Korean fans to believe, but according to Baseball Reference’s WAR tally, it’s true. With an update through eight games, Kim ranks sixth in WAR among all players. Only Wander Franco (Tampa Bay, 3.9), Marcus Semien (Texas, 3.3), Bo Bichette (Toronto, 3.2), Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta, 3.1), and Luis Arajes (Miami, 2.9) are ahead of him. The “Fan Nation” story is not a fabrication.

Kim’s offensive stats don’t compare to those of other superstars, but his defensive stats are overwhelming. Of his 2.8 WAR, 1.7 came from defense. This is the majesty of Kim, who ranks first in DRS this year. His offense may be a bit lackluster, but being a beast isn’t all about offense. If you can help your team on defense, you’ll get WAR.

According to FanGraphs, Kim is 36th in the league with a WAR of 1.7. While that’s a bit lower than Baseball-Reference’s numbers, 36th among the league’s top overall hitters is still pretty impressive.

‘This is his third year in the majors, and this is his best year to date,’ said Fan Nation, ‘Kim made great strides in his rookie season, reclaimed himself and is now proving that he belongs in the league and deserves to play every day. The 27-year-old has become an integral part of San Diego’s offense and is now a player you can’t leave out of the lineup.” The praise continued.

‘It’s great to see his growth, and we can’t wait to see what he brings to the table this season,’ the outlet concluded.

While WAR may overstate Kim’s value a bit, there’s something else that WAR doesn’t capture. Kim’s defensive versatility. He’s been the starting second baseman this year, but when Manny Machado went down with an injury, he played third base. He’s also been playing shortstop with Xander Bogaerts out with a wrist injury. He’s been all over the place.

There are very few players in the major leagues who can play second, third, and shortstop, all with above-average defense. San Diego has a lot of flexibility in its lineup thanks to Kim. The four-year, $28 million contract seems like a bargain.

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