A lot has changed over the past 6 years. The presence of “national representative Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres)” has also changed significantly.
Ha-seong Kim boarded the Korean baseball team for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), which will be held in March. This is my second WBC participation.
He first wore the Taegeuk mark six years ago at the 2017 WBC held at Gocheok Dome, his hometown. Kim Ha-seong, who was classified as a backup member at the time, had to turn away regretfully without getting a chance as the national team was eliminated in the first round.
Ha-sung Kim, whom I met at Incheon International Airport on the 27th before leaving for the United States, recalled the 2017 WBC, saying, “It was my first national team, and I was the youngest, so I guess it was a tournament I didn’t know much about.”
It’s different this time. Ha-seong Kim stood tall as a shortstop representing the KBO League, and was not satisfied with this and turned his gaze to a wider area. After finishing the 2020 season, he went through the posting system and challenged the US major league, signing with San Diego and fulfilling his dream of becoming a major leaguer.
Last year, his second season in the big leagues, Kim Ha-seong played as the main shortstop and recorded a batting average of 0.251, 11 homers, 59 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 150 games. He also showed a stable appearance on defense, and he was even among the three finalists for the Gold Glove.
Needless to say, Ha-sung Kim’s position in the national team has changed. After the 2017 WBC, he took the lead in winning the gold medal at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games and led the runner-up in the 2019 Premier12.
In this national team, Kim Ha-seong is also a key player.
Kang-Cheol Lee (KT Wiz), coach of the Korean national baseball team, selected Ha-Sung Kim as the starting shortstop for the national team. Kim Ha-seong will form a keystone combination with second baseman Tommy Edman (St. Louis Cardinals). Director Lee did not hide his anticipation, saying, “Ha-sung Kim and Edmund will do well.” 스포츠토토
Regarding his feelings about his second WBC, Ha-seong Kim said, “Now I have become a mid-level player in the national team. I have various responsibilities and a burden on my performance,” but “I think it is a matter that I must accept as a player. I have to pay,” he said firmly.
His skills as an active major leaguer and the experience gained through various international stages are expected to be a great help for the national team this time.
According to the club’s policy, Kim Ha-seong will be with the team’s spring camp until the end of next month. Training for the national team will begin on the 14th of next month, but Kim Ha-seong is scheduled to join Gocheok Dome training in early March.
He participates in the national team training a little later than domestic players, but he has more expectations than worries.
He has as much confidence in his game sense as he went from San Diego to the exhibition game to his national team. Ha-seong Kim said, “I think he will be helpful enough. He personally thinks it’s not bad to join major league players after playing the ball.”
Competition within the team is unavoidable ahead of the third season of the big leagues, but the WBC cannot be missed either. Ha-seong Kim said, “As much as I prepared hard, I will do my best to catch two rabbits, the WBC and the season.”