November 07, 2023 10:04
Kim Ha-seong of the San Diego Padres has become the first Korean to win a Gold Glove Award in Major League Baseball.
MLB announced the Gold Glove winners on Sunday, and Kim won the award for the utility spot in the National League, beating Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers and half-Korean player Tommy Edman of the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Gold Glove Award is given to the top fielders in each position in the National League and the American League through votes by 30 MLB club managers and coaches. The utility category was added last year to recognize the best fielder who plays in multiple defensive positions.
Kim achieved the feat just three years after making his Major League debut.
He was named a finalist for the shortstop position last year but lost out to Dansby Swanson, who was playing for the Atlanta Braves at the time and now plays for the Chicago Cubs. He was also a finalist in the second base position this year, but Nico Hoerner of the Chicago Cubs won the award.
Kim is the first Asian infielder and second Asian player to win a Gold Glove.
His compatriot Choo Shin-soo was a finalist for the right field position in 2012 but failed to win.
Japan's Ichiro Suzuki won the award for right field for 10 consecutive years while playing for the Seattle Mariners in the American League from 2001 to 2010.
Kim is now eying a Silver Slugger Award, which is given to the best offensive players in each position in each league, after being selected as a finalist for the utility position.
He had a great season as a hitter as well, with a batting average of 0.260 with 17 home runs, 60 RBIs, 38 steals and a 0.749 OPS, though this was not good enough to raise his odds of winning a Silver Slugger. The Dodgers' Betts, one of the finalists in the utility position, finished the season with a 0.307 batting average, 39 home runs, 107 RBIs and a 0.987 OPS.
The winners will be announced on Thursday.
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