To fill a need in the pitching rotation, the Baltimore Orioles traded away outfielder Hyun Soo Kim to the Philadelphia Phillies prior to the MLB trade deadline at the end of the month.
For two seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, Kim became a popular player with the fans.
Unfortunately, Kim did not see much playing time in 2017. Now, he’s off to the Phillies as Jeremy Hellickson joins the O’s pitching rotation.
Hyun Soo Kim arrived in Baltimore after a stellar career in the Korean Baseball Organization. His debut was in 2006 when he was only 18. His rookie year was 2007 when he played for the Doosan Bears through 2015. In Korea, he batted .318/.406/.488 with an OPS of .895. He hit 142 home runs with the most coming in 2015 when he hit 28.
Orioles’ fans will remember Kim as a player with a sense of humor, a big smile, and a powerful bat. He arrived in Baltimore with his very own K-Pop theme song:
On a side note, in 2017 Kim did choose K-Pop song “Bang Bang Bang” by BigBang as his walk-up song.
As a Korean veteran, he was not drafted into the MLB. Instead of joining the MLB through the drafting process, teams scout Korean players and sign them and simply add their contracts to the team totals. The 6’2″ Kim was added to Baltimore’s roster this way.
Kim’s debut with the Orioles came on Opening Day in 2016 against the Tampa Bay Rays. He began is MLB career going two for three and scoring one run in the win that day. He finished the 2016 season with a very satisfying .302/.382/.420 slash including an OPS of .801. Kim hit 16 doubles, 1 triple, and 6 home runs in 2016.
In 2016, Kim saw 78 starts in left field where he posted a 1.000 fielding percentage. That flawless fielding percentage also happened in 2017 in Kim’s 33 starts in left.
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In 2017, Kim played in fewer games because of Trey Mancini and Joey Rickard. In baseball, plate performance is key to playing, especially with platoon players. Mancini bettered Kim’s batting stats and eventually took over in left. Then, when Mancini moved to first to take over for the injured Chris Davis, Rickard spent more time in left.
Despite Kim’s lack of playing time, he put up ok numbers. His 2017 slash was .232/.305/.288. It is difficult to get into a rhythm at the plate when players only see it occasionally.
With the rise of Mancini, it was evident that Kim did not really have a sure spot on the roster. With space for only 25 men, no team has spots to waste. Kim isn’t a utility player, so it was only time until he was traded away to a team that needed a solid outfielder. And, at age 29, Kim has plenty of playing time left in him.
Kim will be a free agent at the end of the 2017 season. In Philadelphia, he will most likely play on a limited basis since the team already has several young outfielders with better batting stats than Kim has. Best wishes to Kim in his new endeavor in the National League.