The San Diego Padres are confident that Ha-Seong Kim will be ready for major league pitching.
This year’s spring training for the San Diego Padres has had its ups and down, and that’s the case for every year.
While some huge acquisitions of Yu Darvish and Blake Snell have catapulted this pitching staff into one of the best in baseball, the Padres lineup remains cemented as one of the deepest, most well-rounded groups in the MLB.
Jurickson Profar re-signed, and everybody came back. Manny Machado, Tommy Pham, Trent Grisham, and Eric Hosmer are just a few names locked in as everyday starters. Oh, and that guy named Fernando Tatis Jr. signed a huge, 14-year extension, essentially tying him to the Padres for his entire career.
The Padres brought over infielder Ha-Seong Kim from Korea to man the second base spot with super-utilityman Jake Cronenworth. In case you never saw his highlights from Korea, check them out.
Take a look at @Padres newest INF, Ha-Seong Kim 👀
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) December 28, 2020
While Kim had high expectations and hopes, his appearance in spring ball has been a concern for many people.
However, it’s not something to be overly worried about, and here’s why.
It’s just spring training
Is this cliche? Probably, but it’s true.
Kim came over from Korea with a ton of hype after hitting the baseball extremely well in the Far East.
Some stats on South Korean INF Ha-Seong Kim, who the #Padres just signed…
• 7 KBO seasons
• 3664 plate appearances
• .294/.373/.493 slash line
• 133 home runs
• 134 stolen bases
— Dan Clark (@DanClarkSports) December 28, 2020
Those are impressive numbers, and the padres tried their hardest to sign Kim despite him being courted from several other teams as well.
However, this spring hasn’t gone too well for Kim. He’s batting just .125 with four hits, a run scored, and just one RBI with Opening Day right around the corner. He’s struck out 12 times so far in Spring Training, and there are some concerns, although Padres manager Jayce Tingler echoed that he and the team aren’t worried one bit.
“You look at a lot of players that have come over, there’s an adjustment period,” Jayce Tingler said about Kim’s offensive struggles. “There’s an adjustment period on the pitching you’re seeing.”
— Marty Caswell (@MartyCaswell) March 23, 2021
That’s absolutely true. This is a common occurrence for international players and minor leaguers. Kim’s struggles shouldn’t be a valid concern, especially considering his numbers in Korea.
Also, Tingler has found a lot of things that pop out to Kim and said why they have a lot of confidence in him going forward.
“I think in general he sees the ball very well. I think he’s got great hand-eye coordination,” Tingler said (per 97.3 The Fan).
It doesn’t seem like Tingler is worried one bit, and why should he be? As he said, it’s an adjustment period. The good news is that the Padres lineup is stacked with talent, and with Jake Cronenworth and Kim destined for a platoon-type situation at second base, Kim can be brought along rather slowly.
In fact, Cronenworth doesn’t seem the slightest bit worried about an apparent ‘competition’ at second base.
“I said from day one my goal here is wherever I’m playing that day on the field, whether it’s at second or at first, or in the outfield or wherever it is, I’m just helping the team anyway possible to win,” Cronenworth said (per 97.3 The Fan).
Truth be told, AJ Preller has put together a terrific group of guys, and the Padres are on a fast track for success, especially with a roster full of unselfish players that just want to help the team win.
As far as Kim’s struggles go, don’t panic. He’ll come around, and when he does, the Padres are going to be even more dangerous than they already are. Just look at how beautiful his swing looks.
Example of how to have a perfect sound and sight in a clip.
Ha-Seong Kim has a gorgeous swing. #Padres
(🎥 via Kim’s IG) pic.twitter.com/iEuCdKUiPt
— Ian Smith (@FlaSmitty) February 27, 2021
With Opening Day right around the corner, the Padres seem poised and ready to make a deep run and cause some serious damage in the National League with a World Series on their minds.