After making history as the first Asian infielder to win a Major League Baseball (MLB) Gold Glove (GG), Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres) vowed to improve in 2024.
Kim held a press conference on Tuesday at the Rivera Hotel in Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, to celebrate his GG award. “It’s a great honor to be the first Korean to receive the GG,” said Kim, who won the GG Utility Award announced by the MLB Office on June 6. I’m happy to be a good motivation for many youth players who dream of playing in the MLB and players who play in the professional baseball.”
“I was worried because all of my competitors were so good. But in the U.S., they only look at defensive performance to determine the winner. I think I won the award because my defense was better.”
Kim was sleeping in South Korea when the GG winners were announced in the U.S. “My phone vibrated so much that I woke up,” he said, “and then I heard the news and checked it on YouTube.” “The second baseman category was first, and the utility category was last. If I had been awake, I would have been nervous because I didn’t win the second base category. I’m glad I was asleep,” he laughs.굿모닝토토 도메인
In the past, the perception of utility players was that they couldn’t play defense. Now, they are considered “all-around keys” who can save a team with their top-notch defense. “The expectation and value of multi-position players in MLB has increased a lot now, so I wanted to win the utility category,” Kim said.
“When I was younger, I hated playing multiple positions. In Yatapgo and in the pros, I only wanted to play shortstop. In high school, I played third base and second base together, depending on the team situation. Even in the KBO, I played a lot of third base in my last two seasons. “I hated it at the time,” he said, “but I didn’t realize how much it would help me in the MLB. I think that emotion and time helped me grow as a player.”
Kim said, “I didn’t even think about it before the award, but now that I’ve won it, I’m greedy. I’m preparing for the next season with the idea that I want to win the GG next year and in the future. What I can do best is defense. I want to keep proving that I’m not just a flash in the pan.”
Kim has been a spark plug for San Diego this season, hitting .260 with 17 home runs and 38 doubles. Since September, however, he’s hit just .176 and hasn’t reached 20 homers and 20 doubles. “Coming into the season, I said I wanted to hit for power and it didn’t work out. The last month was tough. I need to be more ready to play full-time,” he said. “I’m going to focus on hitting the ball harder. I don’t think my hitting is complete yet. I need to work on it more consistently.”
If he continues to perform as well as he did this year, or even better, next year, a ‘big free agent contract’ is possible. However, Kim said, “There hasn’t been a season that hasn’t been important to me since I entered the MLB, so I will do my best to prepare the same. I hope to do well next year without getting injured. I’m looking forward to a better season than this year, and I’m doing my best to prepare.”