Hyun-soo Kim

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Hyun-soo Kim (김현수)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Hyun-soo Kim is a South Korean outfielder who helped his country win Gold in the 2008 Olympics and 2015 Premier 12. He is noted for his ability to get on base.

Kim was undrafted out of high school and signed with the Doosan Bears. In 2006, he was 0 for 1. The next season, the teenager batted .273/~.337/.398 as a regular. He was runner-up in KBO Rookie of the Year voting behind Tae-hoon Im. He became a star in 2008; after 86 games, he has produced at a .347/.448/.495 rate with 59 walks to 25 strikeouts.

That earned him a trip to the Olympics with South Korea, where he hit .370/.393/.444 as the starting left fielder to help them win Gold. In the round-robin, he had one of his brighter moments of the Games. He pinch-hit and singled off of Japan's Hitoki Iwase in the 9th inning to score Dong-joo Kim to put South Korea ahead 3-2; he came around to score and Korea won the game 5-3. In the preliminary phase, Kim's .421 average was 5th in the Olympics, behind Alexei Bell, Yong-kyu Lee, Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Dae-ho Lee. He also tied Masahiro Araki, Giorvis Duvergel, Nishioka, Eduardo Paret, Jong-wook Lee and Lingfeng Sun for the lead with 2 steals.

Kim was second in KBO MVP voting in 2008, with 27 of 94 votes. He was 24 votes behind Kwang-hyun Kim. He finished the 2008 KBO season with a batting line of .357/.454/.509. He led the league in average (.026 over Sung-heon Hong), was 4th in runs (83), led in doubles (34), was 5th in RBI (89), led in OBP (by .034) and was 4th in slugging. He struggled in the postseason, going 1 for 21 in the 2008 Korean Series. He joined Karim Garcia and Jong-wook Lee as the KBO Gold Glove outfielders.

The 21-year-old continued to star in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He hit .393/.514/.500 with 7 walks in 9 games, serving as the South Korean LF. He tied Yoennis Céspedes for 4th in the tourney in hits (11) and tied Kosuke Fukudome, Carlos Delgado and Akinori Iwamura for 4th in walks. He was 3 for 3 with a walk, 2 runs and a RBI in the semifinal win over Venezuela. He made the All-Tournament team at DH, being chosen ahead of players such as Shin-soo Choo, David Ortiz, Joey Votto, Carlos Guillen, Michel Enríquez, Jorge Vázquez, Derek Jeter, Atsunori Inaba and Geovany Soto.

Kim kept on hitting for the Bears in 2009 with a batting line of .357/.448/.589. He was third in the league in average (behind Yong-taik Park and Sung-heon Hong), OBP (behind Karim Garcia and Dong-joo Kim), slugging (tied with Hee-seop Choi behind Sang-hyeon Kim and Dong-joo Kim), runs (97, one behind co-leaders Choi and Keun-woo Jeong) and doubles (tied with 31, 2 behind Hong and Jung-ho Kang). He was also among the leaders in walks (84), was second in triples (6, behind only Won-seop Kim), second in RBI (104, 23 behind leader Sang-hyeon Kim) and led in hits (172, 4 ahead of Yong-taik Park or Keun-woo Jeong). He won a Gold Glove again, joining Yong-taik Park and Taek-keun Lee and was a serious candidate for the MVP, which went to Sang-hyeon Kim.

In 2010, he hit .317/.414/.531 with 88 runs, 89 RBI, 24 home runs and 78 walks. He tied Kang-min Kim and In-sung Cho for 7th in the league in average, was 5th in OBP (between Tae-wan Kim and Han-lee Park), 6th in slugging (between Jung Choi and Hyung-woo Choi), 3rd in OBP (after Dae-ho Lee and Hong), tied Hong for 3rd in runs, was 3rd in hits (150, after Dae-ho and Hong), tied Hyung-woo Choi for 4th in doubles, tied for 6th in home runs, was 6th in RBI, was 3rd in walks (after Tae-wan Kim and Hee-seop Choi) and was 4th in total bases (between Cho and Jin-hang Choi). He won his third straight Gold Glove, joining Jong-wook Lee and Kang-min Kim in being picked. He also helped South Korea win the Gold at the 2010 Asian Games.

The 23-year-old slumped to .301/.392/.444 with 13 home runs in the 2011 KBO. He still finished on the leaderboard in runs (10th, 73, between Jae-won Oh and Hong), hits (143, 8th, between Ah-seop Son and Yong-kyu Lee), doubles (25, tied for 5th with Jung Choi, Min-ho Kang and Ah-seop Son), RBI (91, 3rd behind Hyung-woo Choi and Dae-ho Lee) and walks (71, 4th, between Bum-ho Lee and Dong-joo Kim). He fell farther in 2012 - to .291/.358/.382 with 7 HR and failing to make any league leader lists.

Despite his lowered production in 2011-2012, he was still a starter for South Korea in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, going 3 for 12 with a walk and two RBI. He hit .302/.382/.470 for Doosan in 2013, with his power numbers picking up again - 16 HR, 90 RBI. He tied Jung-ho Kang for 9th in the league with 131 hits, was 5th in RBI (between Ji-wan Na and Ho-jun Lee) and tied Ji-wan Na and Bum-ho Lee for 8th in walks. He batted .322/.396/.488 with 17 HR and 90 RBI in 2014 but did not make the leader lists as league offensive levels skyrocketed.

Kim starred as a starter in left for South Korea in the 2014 Asian Games, helping them to the Gold. He hit .421/.522/.684 with 3 doubles, 7 runs and 4 RBI in five games. He tied for first in the Games in hits, tied Yuichi Tabata and Chih-Hsien Chiang for second in runs (one behind Byung-ho Park) and tied Tabata for the most doubles. He had his best season in five years in 2015, hitting .326/.438/.541 for the Bears, with 28 home runs, 103 runs, 121 RBI, 101 walks (21 more than his prior high) and 11 steals in 16 tries (his most steals in seven years). He was 6th in the league in average (between Hyung-woo Choi and Seok-min Park), 4th in OBP (between Seok-min Park and Byung-ho Park), 9th in OPS (between Andy Marte and Hyung-woo Choi), tied Han-joon Yoo for 7th in runs, tied for 7th in home runs (with Andrew Brown), Sung-bum Na, Jim Adduci Jr. and Bum-ho Lee), tied Brett Pill for 9th in total bases (277), was 8th in hits (167), ranked 6th in RBI and was third in walks (behind Joon-seok Choi and Eric Thames). He helped the Bears win the 2015 Korean Series title. He won his 4th Gold Glove but first in 5 years, joining Sung-bum Na and Yoo in the outfield. He led the three outfielders in votes received.

Kim then played a major role in yet another South Korean Gold, this time in the 2015 Premier 12. He hit .333/.378/.515 with 13 RBI in 8 games. In the semifinals, he drew a bases-loaded walk in the 9th from Yuki Matsui to cut Samurai Japan's lead to 3-2 as South Korea rallied to win 4-3. In the finale, he had 3 hits, including a third-inning RBI double off Zack Segovia and a 4th-inning two-run double off Brooks Pounders in a 8-0 win over Team USA. He was second in the event in RBI (two behind Sho Nakata). Despite not finishing among the leaders in too many departments, his clutch hits for the champs earned him a spot on the All-World team (joining Matt McBride and Randolph Oduber in the outfield) as well as the MVP award.

On December 17, 2015, it was announced that Kim had signed a two-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles for $7 million, pending a physical exam. He passed the exam a few days later and the deal was finalized on December 23rd. He was slated to play left field for the Orioles in 2016, but an unconvincing performance in spring training meant that he initially failed to make the opening day roster as he hit only .178 and was hardly used over the last week of camp. The Orioles wanted to assign him to their AAA affiliate, the Norfolk Tides, but it required his agreement, which he did not want to give. A game of chicken ensued, and the Orioles blinked first, deciding in the end to place him on the opening day roster so as not to lose their financial investment. With the Orioles off to a red hot start in the first week of the season, he had to wait until April 10th to make his debut, starting in left field against the Tampa Bay Rays. He went 2 for 3 with a run scored as the Orioles won, 5-3. He singled off Jake Odorizzi in his first MLB at-bat and came home on a Manny Machado homer. He received only 15 at-bats in April, but then played more often as the season progressed and became a key cog in the Orioles' successful season. His greatest moment came on September 28th when he homered off Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna in the 9th inning to give the O's a 3-2 win on the road that was key to securing a spot in the Wild Card Game. Overall, he played 95 games, hitting .302 with 6 homers and 22 RBIs, but an OPS+ of 113. he ended up as the most-used player in left field for Baltimore.

On July 28, 2017, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies alongside prospect Garrett Cleavinger in return for P Jeremy Hellickson. He had lost his job due to the emergence of rookie Trey Mancini. On September 12th, he was involved in a strange play with the Phillies. Pinch-hitting against the Miami Marlins in the bottom of the 9th, he appeared to have hit a game-winning single and was mobbed by teammates at first base, who ripped off his shirt and doused him with gatorade and sunflower seeds. However, the Marlins appealed the play on baserunner Cesar Hernandez at home, and instant replay showed that indeed, catcher J.T. Realmuto had nicked Hernandez with the ball a fraction of a second before he touched home plate. The grounds crew had to clean up the mess before the game could resume. The Phillies eventually won, 9-8, but it took 15 innings.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Bob Nightengale: "Once booed, Orioles' Hyun Soo Kim beloved in the Charm city", USA Today Sports, October 4, 2016. [1]


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