Why is Ha-seong Kim always so ‘excuse me?’… This ability in the top 1% of MLB is also valuable as a free agent in the ABS era? – SPOTV News VRESP

▲ Kim Ha-seong, who has been suffering losses due to erroneous refereeing since last year.


▲ Ha-seong Kim played as the starting 5th shortstop in the game against St. Louis held at Petco Park in San Diego, California on the 4th (Korean time), recording 1 hit and 1 walk in 3 at-bats. However, he struck out in the 5th inning, which was somewhat unfortunate.


(SPOTV News = Reporter Kim Tae-woo) Kim Ha-seong (29, San Diego) is a very persistent hitter at the plate. To put it simply, he is close to the style of seeing as many balls as possible while conserving the bat, and swinging at balls that come into his zone. Regardless of Kim Ha-seong’s feelings, he is not an aggressive hitter by major league standards.


Ha-seong Kim’s first pitch swing rate is 24.4% in his major league career, which is lower than the league average (29.7%) since 2015, and the swing rate itself is 41.5%, which is much lower than the league average (47.1%). Kim Ha-seong’s swing rate is falling every year. From 44.5% in 2021, 43.3% in 2022, 38.9% in 2023, and this year, although it is still early in the season, it remains at 35.6%. I don’t know if this is necessarily the right direction, but compared to other batters, the number of pitches per at-bat is relatively high. Even if he dies, he does not die easily.


Basically, this is a record created thanks to pioneering efforts. Therefore, he is a player who often falls victim to misjudgment. In his view, it is a ball, and if it goes out of the actual zone and is called a strike, it is a loss for the player. If they are similar, it is more so because they are not players with tendencies. A similar scene also appeared on the 4th (Korean time). He was clearly the ball, but he struck out due to the umpire’s error. Since last year, cases like this have increased significantly.



Ha-seong Kim played as the starting 5th shortstop in the game against St. Louis held at Petco Park in San Diego, California on the 4th (Korean time), recording 1 hit and 1 walk in 3 at-bats. However, he struck out in the 5th inning, which was somewhat unfortunate. Ha-seong Kim looked at the slider on the first pitch and then recorded a foul on the forkball that came in the middle of the second pitch. However, the third pitch forkball was a ball that went quite far outside the right-hander. Even on Game Day on the official Major League Baseball website, it appears that the zone is not wearing anything at all.


Nevertheless, the referee ruled the ball a strike, and Kim Ha-seong was again credited with an unfair strikeout. Ha-Seong Kim seemed to be dissatisfied with the umpire’s decision and could not leave the batter’s box out of disappointment. In fact, scenes like this have been happening one after another since last year. There are days when Ha-Seong Kim benefits from the decision, but it seems clear that there are more days when he does not.


What would it have been like if the Major League had an automatic ball-strike system (ABS) implemented by the KBO League? Of course, it depends on the zone settings, but it was a ball that probably wouldn’t be caught. There is a prediction that Kim Ha-seong’s pioneering plan and his zone settings will be advantageous compared to other players under the ABS system, but not disadvantageous.


Although it is still early in the season, what stands out most about Ha-seong Kim’s performance this year is his missed swing rate. Ha-seong Kim’s missed swing rate this year is only 8.5%. This is the top 1% in the major leagues. The worst thing for a batter is a strikeout that does not result in a hit in play, and a missed swing that increases the strike count by one without a hit in play is also one of the worst events. But Ha-seong Kim, such a thing is rare. Although it is separate from batting average, his contact rate ranks in the top 15 this year.


▲ The 3rd pitch forkball in the 5th inning was completely missed, but was ruled a strike. ⓒMLB Game Day


▲ Kim Ha-seong’s missed swing rate this year is only 8.5%. This is the top 1% in the major leagues.


It is actually unknown when ABS will be introduced in the major leagues. In fact, the United States is experimenting with and improving this system before us. The plan is to introduce and develop better technologies in the future. However, implementation in the major leagues has not yet been decided. Not only the major league umpires’ union, but also the players’ union is opposing ABS. Even though the referee union is always complaining about misrepresentation, the players also do not like machine referees.


The introduction of the ABS system is a matter of agreement between labor and management and cannot be done at the discretion of the Major League Baseball Secretariat. However, this is the trend of the times, and it is highly likely that it will be introduced someday. Locally, it is believed that this issue may be discussed during the next labor-management agreement (CBA). Since it is a long-term free agent contract anyway, clubs may need to consider this as well. For Kim Ha-seong, at least, it is not a loss.


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