The Oakland A’s are potentially in the market for a shortstop. Korean prospect Ha-Seong Kim could be the perfect option moving forward.
In theory, the Oakland A’s could have shortstop already taken care of. They are looking to keep incumbent Marcus Semien on the roster, hoping to bring him back despite his impending free agency. Given his mediocre 2020 campaign, it is entirely possible that he continues his career in the green and gold.
However, if Semien departs in free agency, there is a very similar player who is set to become available during the offseason. The Kiwoom Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization are set to post Ha-Seong Kim, a soon to be 25 year old infielder with a very intriguing skillset.
Kim has been able to fill up the stat sheet in the KBO, and 2020 was no exception. In his 554 plate appearances, Kim produced a .304/.396/.521 batting line, hitting 20 doubles and 27 homers while stealing 21 bases in 22 attempts. In fact, over his six full seasons in the KBO, Kim has averaged approximately 20 homers and 20 steals.
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It is also probable that this production is not just a case of the inflated offense of the KBO, especially as the league deadened the ball in 2020. His scouting report indicates that he has an above average hit tool with plus speed and respectable power. That all around skillset offensively would make Kim a top 100 prospect had he been eligible.
He is also intriguing defensively as well. Kim has the athleticism, arm, and instincts to remain at short long term. He has also spent time at third, with 85 games at the hot corner over the past two seasons. While he would not be expected to receive much action there, given the presence of Matt Chapman, Kim could be a solid fallback option if need be.
In fact, with that profile, Kim actually sounds like a similar player to Semien. There are some differences; Kim has more speed and Semien has more pop, but the two players should essentially be close to the same. Meanwhile, given how hitters from the KBO have not exactly fared well stateside, Kim could come at a discount compared to what Semien would receive on the open market.
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The Oakland A’s may be able to keep Marcus Semien. If that does not prove to be the case, Ha-Seong Kim could be almost the exact same player, although at a discount.