Stocks are soaring.
On Thursday, MLB.com revealed the eight second baseman candidates for its All-MLB Team, which recognizes the best players at each position each season. The candidates were categorized as favorites, challengers, and dark horses.
The favorites include Marcus Semien (Texas Rangers) and Luis Araujo (Miami Marlins). The challengers to threaten them included San Diego Padres’ Kim Ha-seong, who is making a name for himself as a Korean major leaguer, along with A.J. Albies (Atlanta Braves).
“메이저놀이터He doesn’t get a lot of attention, but he’s the most valuable player on the team,” the publication said, “with a 4.4 fWAR (wins above replacement on FanGraphs), the highest on the team. He’s on pace for career highs in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, OPS (slugging percentage plus on-base percentage), and home runs.” Through five days, Kim is batting .275 (128-for-465) with 17 home runs and 55 RBIs. He has a .365 on-base percentage and a .428 slugging percentage for an OPS of .793.
The praise didn’t stop there. “He doesn’t hit for power often, but he makes up for it by leading the league in swinging at pitches out of the zone (19.5%) and swinging at balls in play (17.3%). He also has 31 stolen bases already and plays solid defense. His +10 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), a metric that shows how many runs a defense prevents, ranks fourth among second basemen.”
The eight nominees for the All-MLB Team second base category, including Ha-Sung Kim (first left). Photo via MLB.com
Behind Kim, Ketel Marte (Arizona Diamondbacks), Gleyber Torres (New York Yankees), Bryson Stott (Philadelphia Phillies), and Nico Horner (Chicago Cubs) are dark horse candidates for second base.
The All-MLB team was introduced in 2019. The official nominations are released in November after the season ends, and the winners are chosen based on a combination of 50 percent expert and 50 percent fan votes. The five starting pitchers, two relievers, three outfielders, and one player from each infield position who receive the most votes are named to the MLB First Team. The second-place finishers make the Second Team.
Among Korean major leaguers, Ryu Hyun-jin (Toronto Blue Jays) was named to the Second Team as a starting pitcher in 2019 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers and in 2020, his first year with Toronto. No Korean player has yet been named to the first team. Kim Hae-sung will be the first.