Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres) 토스카지노 is showing no signs of slowing down, tying Ichiro Suzuki’s (50) Asian major league record of 15 consecutive multi-hit games. He ranks second in all of baseball in batting average in the second half of the season, thanks in part to a peak contact ability reminiscent of Ichiro in his prime.
Kim extended his multi-hit streak to 15 games on Monday (Aug. 8), batting first and third in the lineup against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park in San Diego, California, USA, going 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored.
In his second at-bat against Dodgers right-hander Tony Gonsolin in the third inning, Kim pulled a slider down the middle of the plate for a single to left. In the sixth inning, he took Gonsolin’s second pitch, a high slider up the middle, for an RBI single to center field.
Extended his hitting streak to 13 games, beginning on May 25 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The career-high mark pushed his season batting average from 2.7 to 2.8 (104-for-361) during that stretch.
In 23 games over the second half of the season, Kim has exploded, hitting .388 (33-for-86) with five home runs, 10 RBI, 17 walks, 11 strikeouts, a .490 on-base percentage, a .593 slugging percentage and a 1.083 OPS. He ranks second in batting average and fourth in slugging percentage in both leagues in the second half. Only Freddie Freeman (.420 for the Dodgers) has a higher batting average than Kim in the second half.
His season batting average also ranks in the top 10 in the National League (NL). He ranks ninth, behind Luis Arajuez (.374 in Miami), Freeman (.340), Ronald Acuña Jr. (.339 in Atlanta), Bryson Stott (.302 in Philadelphia), Orlando Arcia (.297 in Atlanta), Alec Bomb (.290 in Philadelphia), Christian Yelich (.290 in Milwaukee), and Lane Thomas (.290 in Washington).
Until now, a Korean major leaguer has never been in the top 10 in the league in batting average. Only Shin-Soo Choo (SSG) was the only other Korean player to hit in regulation before Kim. Shin-soo Choo has had a total of nine designated hitter seasons, with his highest batting average ranking being 12th in the American League (AL) (.300) in 2010 with the Cleveland Indians (now the Guardians). Previously, he hit .300 for the first time in 2009, but never cracked the top 10, finishing 21st in the AL.
Last year, when he became the second Korean player to hit in regulation after Shin-Soo Choo, Kim was 36th in the NL in batting average (.252). He was 36th out of 63 designated hitters, which was above average. This year, he’s in the top 0.0%, ranking 9th out of 76, and is on pace to crack the top 10 in batting average, something that Shin-Soo Choo never did.
Unlike Shin-Soo Choo’s time, the Major Leagues are now a two-hitter, so there aren’t many triple-digit hitters. There are only nine in total, four in the NL and five in the AL. In 2010, there were 23 triple-hitters, 11 in the NL and 12 in the AL. In a tougher environment for hitters than in the past, Kim’s bat is on fire.