Ha-Sung Kim (28, San Diego) has been outstanding this season, but if you were to bet on his chances of winning the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, most people would shake their heads. The bar for MVP is high. As good as Ha-Sung Kim is, the major leagues are the ultimate stage, with many players as good as him.토토사이트
The reason Kim isn’t a “serious” MVP candidate, aside from his stellar performance this season with the ball, field, and run, is because he lacks the offense to really catch the eye of voters. In recent years, voters have begun to look at sabermetric stats like Wins Above Replacement (WAR), but titles like “triples” and “40 home runs” are still powerful.
As of Aug. 18, Kim is batting .281 with 15 home runs, 42 RBIs, 67 runs scored, 27 doubles and an OPS of 0.813 in 117 games this season. His adjusted wRC+ of 128 ranks 22nd in the majors and 13th in the National League, according to FanGraphs. While this is certainly a great performance for a center fielder (shortstop and second baseman), it’s not enough if your goal is to become an MVP.
However, Kim’s overall contributions to the game are outstanding. His overall stats, including runs, hits, stolen bases, and defense, are even. According to FanGraphs, Kim’s WAR this season is 4.3, which ranks sixth in the National League. Among center fielders, he is second only to Francisco Lindor (New York Mets, 4.6). That means his chances of receiving votes in the MVP voting, which is ranked from first to 10th by voters, are pretty good.
Bradford Doolittle, a columnist for ESPN, the largest sports network in the United States, uses a metric called “AXE” to measure a player’s contributions in a unique way. It borrows from the basic WAR calculation and blends in a variety of additional factors, such as win probability from various metrics, to arrive at its conclusion. In addition to his high WAR, Kim also ranks at the top of the league in AXE.
As expected, Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta) topped the National League in AXE, which was released by ESPN on Aug. 18, with an ERA of 147.1, followed closely by Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers) with 145.7. Freddie Freeman (LA Dodgers) is third at 143.9, Matt Olson (Atlanta) is fourth at 133.9, and Ha Sung Kim (Atlanta) is fifth at 133.8.
Neither this metric nor the WAR rankings will determine the MVP vote. Kim, who is slightly less impactful on offense, is likely to be undervalued compared to the other candidates. However, it is significant that he has a higher AXE metric than Corbin Carroll (Arizona), Francisco Lindor (New York Mets), Christian Walker (Arizona), Cody Bellinger (Chicago Cubs), and Juan Soto (San Diego), all of whom have been outstanding this year. It tells us that he’s contributing to the team in more ways than just offense, including defense and baserunning.
In fact, the players in front of him are all superstars in a league that makes sense. Acuña Jr. is hitting .335 with 27 home runs, 55 doubles, and a monster wRC+ of 167 this year. In any other season, this would have been the same story. Betts is also proving to be an all-around player. He’s batting .295 with 31 home runs, 81 RBIs, and a wRC+ of 161. He plays right field, second base, and shortstop, and has also been an outstanding defensive contributor.
Freeman has also been one of the most consistent hitters in the league this year, batting .335 with 23 home runs, 83 RBIs, and a wRC+ of 167. Olson has already hit 43 home runs, putting him in a tight race with Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) for the National League batting title. Kim would recognize their achievements.
However, Kim’s frequent mentions in the national media could be a big boost to his MVP campaign. Recently, Major League Baseball’s official website (MLB.com) conducted a mock poll of its reporters and panelists, and it was interesting to see that Kim received a top-five vote. In fact, it is a great honor to be in the “top 10” of the MVP voting, and it is the same as recognizing the best players in the league.
In 2013, Shin-Soo Choo, the most productive Korean player in the history of the game, finished 12th in MVP voting, just outside the “top 10,” and Ryu Hyun-jin, the 2020 National League Cy Young Award runner-up, finished 13th in that year’s MVP voting, also unable to surpass Choo’s final ranking. If Kim Ha-seong were to make the top 10, it would be a glorious page in Korean baseball history.
After showing off his batting prowess, Kim has been struggling a bit lately. In his last seven games, he is batting .200 with a .226 on-base percentage. He even had a disappointing at-bat against Arizona on April 18, when he was hit by one pitch after another. However, if he can continue to see the ball and stay calm, he could end up doing better than his current level. He is only five home runs away from becoming the second Korean player in history to join the 20-homer, 20-double club after Shin-Soo Choo.