He posted a career-high batting average of 0.335, seven homers, 57 RBIs, 104 runs scored, and 25 stolen bases with an OPS of 0.842. He has recorded more than 20 steals for six consecutive years, and has made strides in most batting indicators except for triples from the previous year. His batting average (WAR, which also contributes to victory compared to substitute players), also ranked second after Noh Si-hwan of the Hanwha Eagles with 6.19.
He was also on the roster of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team and also had major international competitions such as the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games and the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) 2023. As the captain of the Korean team in the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, he helped the team win the gold medal. He also led the team as the captain of the national team in APBC 2023.
Starting next season, he has to play a key role in Kiwoom. Lee Jung-hoo, the KBO league’s best hitter and Kiwoom’s captain this season, left the team challenging to advance to the Major League, and Kim Hye-sung’s shoulders got heavier. The 2024 season is also important for Kiwoom, which finished the season at the bottom this year, and Kim Hye-sung, who set personal goals.
Kim recently expressed her desire to advance to the Major League. After the Real Glove Awards ended on Sunday, Kim said, “I want to improve my skills next year and take on the challenge with pride.”
After the Joya Pharmaceutical Professional Baseball Awards, he said, “The Major League is a dream.” Kim Ha-sung, a senior in the big league from Kiwoom, said at a Gold Glove press conference last month, “I think the next infielder who will come to the Major League is Kim Hye-sung.”
Kim Hye-sung is set to take on another challenge next season. He is about to change his position. Kim wants to return to shortstop. “I like shortstop, so I want to appeal to the coach,” Kim said in an interview after the Zoya Pharmaceutical Awards. “I want to tell him that I want to play as a shortstop. I like shortstop the best, and I think shortstop is the coolest.”
And after the ceremony, Kim Hye-sung seems to have conveyed his opinion right away. “Kim Hye-sung had a meeting with manager Hong Won-ki after the ceremony,” a Kiwoom official said in a telephone interview with My Daily on Friday. “I didn’t ask what kind of conversation Kim had, but I think it could be seen as a place to listen to the player’s thoughts on his position and personal goals.”
Kim Hye-sung has seen a shortstop. Since 2017, his debut season, he has played little by little as a shortstop. Of course, Kim Ha-sung was not the main shortstop at the time, but he was finally given the opportunity to play as a full-time shortstop in 2021, when Kim Ha-sung left for the San Diego Padres. Kim Hye-sung, who was in charge of Kiwoom’s shortstop in 2021, posted a batting average of over 30 percent for the first time since his professional debut, and even took the Golden Glove.
However, Kim did not play shortstop for long. Manager Hong Won-ki sent Kim back to second base last season. The result was a huge success. Kim settled down at second base and acquired both the first shortstop and second baseman golden gloves by acquiring the Golden Glove. Again this season, Kim earned a total of 95 points with a new voting score of 75 points and a new defense record of 20 points, ranking second in the KBO defense category.
For Kim, who wants to return to shortstop, the key lies in defense. In the 2021 season, Kim played 113 games as a shortstop and made 29 errors. As a second baseman, he made six errors by playing 39 games, a total of 35 errors, becoming the first player to make more than 30 errors in 17 years since 2004. Naturally, he took the disgrace of the most errors in the KBO single season.
In particular, throwing anxiety was a drag. Kim Hye-sung was a sidearm pitcher until middle school, so he habitually made side throws when throwing. The distance between the second and first baserunners was close, so this problem was not exposed, but many throwing errors occurred at shortstop, which was relatively far away.