San Diego Padres morning after: An appreciation post for Ha-Seong Kim

For all of the things that have gone wrong for the San Diego Padres in 2023, Ha-Seong Kim is one of the things that has gone very right.
San Diego Padres second baseman Ha-Seong Kim
San Diego Padres second baseman Ha-Seong Kim / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

In a season where the San Diego Padres have plenty of star power on their roster, it's Ha-Seong Kim that has shined the brightest ... and perhaps been talked about the least.

Make no mistake about it, Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Juan Soto, and the rest of the Padres deserve the spotlight and accolades they have been given. However, perhaps it's time for Major League Baseball to shine a little of that spotlight Kim's way.

San Diego Padres fans know what they have in Ha-Seong Kim

Padres fans, after all, know very well what Kim has meant to this team this season, including on Monday night when his grand slam keyed a 6-2 win over the Miami Marlins at Petco Park. One night before his bobblehead was to be given away as part of San Diego's 2023 promotional schedule, Kim's play once again had Padres fans nodding their heads in approval as he brought Slam Diego back to life again.

Kim leading the Padres on Monday night should be nothing new. After all, the 27-year-old infielder paces San Diego in bWAR this season at 6.0. That number puts him at third among all MLB position players, behind only Mookie Betts and Ronald Acuña Jr. (the only two other players who have accumulated 6.0 bWAR or more this season ... and are a part of the National League MVP conversation).

“At times it feels like we’re down,” Padres manager Bob Melvin told reporters after the game. “But it never does in the way he (Kim) plays. It’s a key ingredient for us at all times. He never takes a pitch off, never doesn’t run a ball out. … There’s just a lot of energy that comes with him.”

Sounds like the definition of an MVP to us.

Surrounded by plenty of big names in the lineup, Kim has been overshadowed at times this season, despite being a very consistent contributor. With a little more than a month left in the regular season, perhaps it's time pundits around the country start looking a little deeper at the Padres lineup and seeing exactly who has been stirring the drink in San Diego in 2023.

Today, we give a well-deserved tip of the cap to Ha-Seong Kim, not only for this season, but also knowing he is a part of the near-term blueprint for success in San Diego as well.