Only Mookie Betts is above Kim Ha-Sung… “2nd best utility player in MLB” by USA Today
With a 162-game schedule, Major League Baseball plays a tight schedule throughout the year. On top of that, there are only 26 active roster spots in the major leagues. There’s always a shortage of backup players, so players who can play multiple positions are essential.
In the past, such players were often considered “backups” in the literal sense of the word. Players who can play multiple positions are favored. Even established starters and specialty players are increasingly seeing more than one position. This season, players like Mookie Betts (LA Dodgers) and Ha-Sung Kim (San Diego) are examples of this.
The Major League Baseball Gold Glove Awards have taken steps to recognize the value of these players by creating a new category for “utility players” who play multiple positions, and Kim has been recognized as one of the best in the game.
On June 6 (KST), American sports media outlet Bleacher Report ranked the top 10 best players in each position so far this season. Kim was ranked second in the utility category. After being ranked No. 1 in the last rankings, Betts, who was originally ranked in right field, dropped one spot to No. 2, but it’s still a very high ranking.
Betts is a superstar in the league. He’s a seven-time All-Star, six-time Gold Glove, and five-time Silver Slugger. He was also the American League MVP in 2018. Betts is normally a right fielder, but with the team’s infield in disarray this year, he’s been working a “part-time infield job” to help out. He’s so athletic and has such a good feel for the game that he’s seen time at second base and even inexperienced shortstop.
As of June 6, Betts has started 61 games in right field, 30 games at second base, and 12 games at shortstop. He’s made three errors at shortstop, but has been solid defensively at the other positions. He has also made a name for himself on offense. In 104 games this season, he has a .286 batting average, 29 home runs, 70 RBIs, and a .964 OPS. If there is a player who can put the brakes on Ronald Acuña Jr.’s (Atlanta) National League MVP reign, it could be Betts.
It’s hard to move Kim to the top of this list because Betts is so good on both the offense and defense, but Kim has really stepped up his game this year. His defense was already recognized as one of the best in the league last year, but this year, he’s made a name for himself as an all-around player with some eye-popping performances on offense.
Through 106 games of the season, Kim is batting .286 with 15 home runs, 41 RBIs, 61 runs scored, 24 doubles, and an OPS of .839. That OPS is 30% higher than the league average. His .383 slugging percentage is also among the best in the league. San Diego is having a lot of fun using him in the leadoff spot as the offense explodes. Betts is a great player, but Kim is a top-tier performer.
At other positions, there are a number of players who are currently dominating the league. At catcher, Sean Murphy (Atlanta) held on to the top spot over Jonah Lim (Texas), Will Smith (LA Dodgers), and Adley Rutledge (Baltimore). Freddie Freeman (Los Angeles Dodgers) remains the top first baseman. Matt Olson (Atlanta) moved into second place and began chasing Freeman.
At second base, Kim’s natural position, Luis Arajes (Miami) was named the league’s top hitter this season. Araúez, Ketel Marte (Arizona), Marcus Simeon (Texas), and A.J. Albies (Atlanta) rounded out the top four. At shortstop, Wander Franco (Tampa Bay) edged out Corey Seager (Texas) for the top spot. At third base, Jose Ramirez (Cleveland) remains at the top of the list.온라인바카
Juan Soto (San Diego) took the top spot in left field, Luis Robert Jr. (Chicago White Sox) in center field, and Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta) in right field. Last year’s American League MVP Aaron Judge (New York Yankees), who is just now returning from injury, slipped to No. 10. In the designated hitter category, Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) held onto the top spot, never allowing Jordan Alvarez (Houston) to overtake him.