“He’s played top-notch defense, and his OPS+ of 107 is above league average.”
ESPN recognized Kim’s defense. However, it was unclear if Kim would be named to the National League All-Star team. ESPN compared the AXE metrics for each position to the top vote-getters in the fan voting for the All-Star Game on Sunday.
First off, according to ESPN, AXE is similar to WAR. A score of 100 is exactly the average. Players with a score above 100 are the top players at their respective positions. According to them, the top AXE for second basemen in the National League is Ketel Marte (Arizona Diamondbacks).
Kim Ha-Sung is second with a score of 125. In third place is Luis Arajuez (Miami Marlins, 124 points), who is challenging for a .400 batting average this season; in fourth place is Tyro Estrada (San Francisco Giants, 121 points); and in fifth place is Nico Hounsou 스포츠토토 (Chicago Cubs, 118 points).
The National League second baseman fan vote 1-5 are Arajuez, Ozzie Albies (Atlanta Braves), Miguel Vargas (Los Angeles Dodgers), Nolan Gorman (St. Louis Cardinals), and Marte. Kim is #2 in AXE and #8 in fan votes. This is proof that fan voting is a popularity contest. In his third year in the big leagues, Kim is not as well known nationally.
Still, ESPN said, “You can’t say enough bad things about Kim. He’s stolen 13 bases, played top-notch defense, and produced above league average with an OPS+ of 107. It’s a combination that tends to get overlooked, and that’s certainly the case with Kim.”
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is now in its second and final round of fan voting. The National League second basemen have a runoff of sorts between Arajuez and Albies, who finished first and second in the first round of voting. This is where the final decision on who will play in the All-Star Game will be made. There’s no way Ha-Sung Kim is going to the All-Star Game unless the National League manager nominates him.
ESPN praised Kim, but didn’t argue that he deserved or should be in the All-Star Game. It simply said that “a nice contrast remains between Araez and Albies.” There have been four previous All-Star Game appearances by Korean big leaguers: Park Chan-ho in 2001, Kim Byung-hyun in 2002, Choo Shin-soo in 2018, and Ryu Hyun-jin in 2019. All were nominated by managers, not by fans.