He needs just three more home runs to become the 22nd player in big league history to do so. Kim Ha-seong, 28, of the San Diego Padres, is closing in on joining the ranks of Major League Baseball (MLB) second baseman legends.
Kim batted first and second in the Padres’ 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) home game against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park in San Diego, California, on Thursday (April 4), going 1-for-3 with a home run, a walk, and two stolen bases.
Kim came out swinging in the top of the first inning. In his first at-bat, he worked a 0-pitch, 2-strike count into a double to right field. The next batter, Fernando Tatis Jr. was hit by a two-pitch walk, and Kim stole second base with ease. It was his 30th stolen base of the season.
Not to be outdone, Kim drew a walk in the bottom of the fourth inning to put runners on second and third. He then stole second again with Tatis at the plate. The timing was perfect, and Tatis took a check swing, so San Francisco didn’t even think to throw to second. Two at-bats later, he had his 31st stolen base.
In doing so, Kim became the first Korean major leaguer to reach the 30-steal plateau. Kim, who stole his 23rd base against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 5, broke the record for most stolen bases by a Korean major leaguer in a season (22) set by Choo Shin-soo (Cleveland) in 2010, adding eight more stolen bases in a month.
With 134 career stolen bases, including four 20-steal seasons in the KBO, Kim has continued to add to his numbers in the United States. After stealing six bases in 2021, his first year in the big leagues, he more than doubled that total this year after stealing 12 bases last year. At this rate, he’s on pace to break his previous major league record of 33 stolen bases set in 2019 with the Kiwoom Heroes.
Through four games, Kim has played in 133 games this season, hitting .275 with 17 home runs, 52 RBIs, 77 runs scored, 31 doubles, and an OPS of .795. With three more home runs in his remaining 24 games, Kim will become the fourth Korean (Shin-Soo Choo 2009, 2010, 2013) and sixth Asian (Shohei Ohtani 2021, 2023) to join the 20 (home runs)-20 (stolen bases) club.
It’s also a first for an Asian infielder. Shin-Soo Choo was an outfielder, and Ohtani was a pitcher and designated hitter. The last Asian infielder to hit 20 home runs in the big leagues was Kang Jeong-ho in 2016 (then with the Pittsburgh Pirates), and only Kim Ha-seong and Bae Ji-hwan (Pittsburgh, 22 in four days) and Kazuo Matsui (32 in 2007 and 20 in 2008) have ever stolen 20 bases. But no one has ever done it at the same time.
Add to that the history of big league second basemen, and there aren’t many who have had a season like Kim’s. Since the 20th century, only 22 players who have started 100 or more games at second base in a season in the major leagues have hit 20 home runs and stolen 30 bases in the same season. Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan (who died in 2020) did it four times, and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio did it in 1995, 1997, and 1998.
In more recent years, Jose Altuve (Houston) did it back-to-back in 2016 and 2017, and Jonathan Villar (Baltimore) last did it in 2019 when he hit 24 homers and 40 doubles. Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar, Alfonso Soriano, Brandon Phillips, and Ian Kinsler are among the other Hotasun second basemen who have done it.안전놀이터
As of April 4, Kim has played in 92 games (84 starts) at second base. He’s also played shortstop (16 games) and third base (28 games) depending on the team’s infield situation, but he’s been a consistent starter at second base. If he can continue to play second base for the rest of the season and hit three more home runs, he’ll have a season to remember.