28 September 2016

Hyun Soo Kim Is The Orioles' Latest Hero

Annoying Orioles fans like me have been wondering for much of the season why Hyun Soo Kim doesn't receive more playing time. Yes, he doesn't have a hit against a left-handed pitcher yet, but it's not like the Orioles have a bunch of lefty mashers anyway.

It's still not clear why Kim hasn't played more, and it may never be explained fully. But Kim continues to excel in whatever role he's asked to fill, and that was never more evident than his enormous pinch-hit, two-run homer tonight in the ninth inning that allowed the Orioles to steal a game in Toronto.
Many fans have come around on Kim. He's not super fast, doesn't have a great arm, and doesn't appear to be anything better than an average or below average outfielder (advanced defensive metrics, in particular, have been unkind to him in his limited time in the field). But Kim has been outstanding against right-handed pitching as a platoon bat, and he's exceeded the expectations of any reasonable fan and almost certainly Buck Showalter (you'd hope).

Kim might play a larger role in the next few games and in 2017. Or he might not. But in 2016, Kim very well may have saved the O's playoff hopes. You can't take that away from him.

1 comment:

vilnius b. said...

I have to admit I'm not a big fan of Kim. Very little power, no speed on the bases and a mediocre outfielder at best. (And I'm not enamored with that peculiar swing of his; he almost appears to be pushing the bat rather than slinging it through the strike zone.)

OTOH, I have to concede he's been one of our better contact hitters and it showed in that critical at bat last night---he fouled off a couple of tough pitches before hitting the game winning home run.

Even if the Orioles don't make the playoffs, that dramatic home run and other unexpected pleasures (e.g., Ubaldo coming to life late in the season and Miley throwing that great game vs. the DBacks) will stay with me through the winter. What a thrilling moment!