MLB Top 1% This ability, FA value in ABS era preview

Kim Ha-sung (29) of the San Diego Padres is a very persistent hitter at bat. Simply put, he is more like a style of watching as many balls as possible while saving bats, and swinging at the balls that enter his zone. Apart from Kim’s feeling, he is not an aggressive hitter by Major League Baseball standards.

Kim Ha-sung’s swing ratio at the first pitch is 24.4 percent of the MLB’s total, lower than the league average (29.7 percent) since 2015, and his swing ratio itself is 41.5 percent, far below the league average (47.1 percent). Such Kim Ha-sung’s swing ratio has been falling every year. From 44.5 percent in 2021 to 43.3 percent in 2022, 38.9 percent in 2023, and 35.6 percent this year, although it is still early in the season. I don’t know if this is the right direction, but he still throws more pitches per bat than other hitters. Even if you die, you don’t die easily.

Basically, it is a record made to support the team’s advancement. That is why he often falls victim to misjudgment. In his opinion, it is a ball, and if he strikes when he is out of the zone, it is a loss to the player. If it is similar, he is not a player of his nature, but even more so. That scene also appeared on the 4th (Korea time). It was definitely a ball, but he was struck out due to the referee’s mistake. The number of such cases has increased significantly since last year.

In a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Petco Park in San Diego, California on Tuesday (Korea time), Kim played as the starting shortstop, recording one hit and one walk from three times at bat. However, he struck out a bit disappointing in the fifth inning. After looking at the slider at the first pitch, Kim made a foul on the fork ball entering the middle of the second pitch. However, the fork ball on the third pitch was a ball that was missing considerably to the outside of the right-handed batter. Game Day on the official website of the Major League Baseball also reportedly did not wear a zone at all.

Nevertheless, the referee ruled the ball a strike, and Kim Ha-sung again accumulated one unfair strikeout. Kim Ha-sung could hardly leave the batter’s box in regret, as if he was dissatisfied with the referee’s decision. In fact, such scenes have been occurring one after another since last year. There are days when Kim Ha-sung benefits from the decision, but it seems clear that there are more days when he does not.

What if the Major League had the Automatic Ball-Strike Determination System (ABS) implemented by the KBO League? Of course, it may vary depending on the zone setting, but it was a ball that he probably would not catch. Some predict that Kim Ha-sung’s pioneering eye and his zone setting would have been advantageous when it was advantageous compared to other players under the ABS system, but would not be disadvantageous.

It is still early in the season, but what stands out the most in Kim Ha-sung’s performance this year is his swing and miss ratio. Kim’s swing and miss ratio this year is only 8.5 percent. This is around the top 1 percent even in the Major League. The worst thing for a batter is strikeouts that cannot produce infield hits, and swing and miss, in which a strike count increases without infield hits, is also one of the worst events. However, such a thing is rare for Kim. Apart from the batting average, Kim is listed in the top 15 this year in terms of contact ratio.

It is not known when the ABS will be introduced in the Major League Baseball. In fact, the U.S. is experimenting with and supplementing this system before us. The company plans to introduce and develop better technologies in the future. However, implementation is still pending in the Major League. Not only the Major League referees’ union but also the players’ union is opposed to the ABS. That said, the referees’ union always complains about misjudgment, but the players also do not like the mechanical referees.

Introduction of the ABS system is a labor-management agreement and cannot be done at the discretion of the Major League Baseball secretariat. However, this is a trend of the times, and chances are high that it will be introduced someday. Locally, the issue could be discussed at the next Labor-Management Agreement (CBA). As it is a long-term FA contract anyway, clubs may have to consider this. For Kim Ha-sung, it is not a loss at least.


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