San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin (62) praised Kim, 28, for his defense in the major leagues. He strongly recommended Kim as a Gold Glove candidate at second base.
Kim twice brought the Petco Park crowd to its feet with stellar second base defense in a home game against the Chicago Cubs on April 4. With two outs in the third inning, Kim stretched out his left arm to catch Nico Horner’s line drive to right, then took a quick step, pulled the ball out of his glove, and threw to first base. Cheers erupted for Hosmer, who erased a 36 percent chance of a hit.
Then, in the bottom of the fourth inning, he made a picture-perfect defensive play. Next to Dansby Swanson’s pitch, Gina backhanded a line drive over second base and made a running throw. It was a dynamic play, and the throw was long, but she made a strong throw to first base. Ended the inning with a 42% strikeout rate. Shared a glove touch with pitcher Darvish Yu.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, a local newspaper, also covered the game, highlighting Kim’s performance at second base. “Kim split his playing time evenly between second base, shortstop, and third base in 2021, but last year he started 125 games at second base, his primary position for seven seasons in South Korea, and played 17 games at third base. “He didn’t play a single inning at second base,” Melvin said, praising Kim’s adaptability as he quickly established himself as the starting second baseman this year.
“It’s been amazing,” Melvin said. He’s used to everything as a shortstop, and now he looks like a gold glover at second base. There aren’t many players who have only played second base who can make the plays that he made today,” he said, noting that Kim’s defense was better than most professional second basemen.
“In 31 games at second base, Kim has a DRS 안전놀이터 (Defensive Runs Saved) of +8, which leads all second basemen in the majors. He added a DRS +4 while starting four games at shortstop and 16 games at third base.” “Kim, who was a Gold Glove finalist at shortstop in the National League last year, is expected to compete at a new position this year and is a strong candidate for the Gold Glove at second base,” he said.
“I enjoy playing second base. There’s a lot less pressure to throw compared to shortstop, and you can throw to wherever you catch the ball. It’s fun because you can cover a lot of ground.” “At first, I didn’t think I would be a Gold Glove winner. But now in my third year, I’m starting to think I might be able to win it. If you go out there and work hard and do your job, the rewards will come,” he said.
To date, only Japanese Ichiro Suzuki has won the Gold Glove, which is awarded to the best defender at each position in Major League Baseball. Ichiro won the American League Gold Glove for outfielders for 10 consecutive years from 2001-2010 while playing for the Seattle Mariners. No infielder has yet won the award. Last year, Kim Ha-Sung was the first to be nominated. This year, he hopes to win his first award. He is approaching the feat as a reality, not a dream.