Ohtani is called a monster. It’s really hard for Asians to play in the major leagues, but he’s the MVP there and he’s so good.”
Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres) visited Bucheonbuk Elementary School and Bucheon Middle School in Bucheon, Gyeonggi-do, on the morning of the 18th. The purpose of the visit was to meet and encourage the younger students at his alma mater, where he dreamed of becoming a major leaguer as a child, and to deliver sponsorship money and supplies. Although he has always supported his alma mater, this is the first time he has organized an in-person event. In front of the students, who were as young as 12 years old and as old as 20 years old, Kim shared his success story and sincerely cheered for another major leaguer to come out of his alma mater.레모나토토 도메인
The player they asked about the most was Major League Baseball two-hitter Shohei Ohtani (29, LA Angels). Not only is Ohtani a superstar in Japan, but he is also a monster in the major leagues. It’s no wonder, as he’s one of the best pitchers and hitters in the game.
Ohtani made another splash on Sunday when he was named the American League MVP. Ohtani swept the 30 first-place votes, totaling 420 points. He became the first player in history to win the unanimous MVP award twice. When he won his first MVP award in 2021, Ohtani also dominated the first-place vote, easily defeating the competition.
In 135 games as a hitter this year, Ohtani batted .304 (151-for-497) with a 1.066 OPS, 44 home runs, 95 RBI, and 102 runs scored. He ranked first in the big leagues in three categories: on-base percentage (0.654), OPS, and wRC+ (180). wRC+ is adjusted run production. He led the American League in home runs.
On the mound, he started 23 games, posting a 10-5 record, 132 innings pitched, 167 strikeouts, and a 3.14 ERA. He held opponents to just a .184 batting average. His numbers could have been even better if he hadn’t had to hang up his glove during the season due to elbow pain.
Ohtani was also a key part of Japan’s sweep of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March. Since March, he has shown why he is a monster, throwing fastballs in excess of 100 miles per hour (about 160.9 kilometers per hour). In three games (two starts), he went 2-0 with one save, 9⅔ innings pitched, 11 strikeouts, and a 1.86 ERA, while at the plate, he batted .435 (10-for-23) with one home run and eight RBIs in seven games. Japanese baseball fans at the Tokyo Dome in Japan, where the Asian Round was held, cheered his every move and roared at his batting practice.
During a Q&A session with the younger players, Kim laughed when asked about Ohtani, saying, “You guys really care about him the most.” He continued, “He’s a monster. “Ohtani is called a monster. It’s really hard for an Asian player to play in the major leagues, and he’s the MVP there and he’s a really good player. He’s the kind of player that all major leaguers look up to, even though he’s the same player.”
Some juniors wanted to know what it was like to face Ohtani at the plate. “He’s the same major league player. You don’t get scared when you see the same elementary school player. I’m the same way. Of course, Ohtani is a good player.”
He then asked one of his juniors, “The pitcher is Ohtani, can you hit him?” When the junior replied, “I can’t hit him now,” Kim said, “You shouldn’t do that. Even you can’t hit Ohtani’s pitches easily. You can. But whoever is on the mound should be confident.”
Kim, the first Korean and first Asian infielder to win a Gold Glove, of course, had questions. On June 6, Kim was recognized as one of the best infielders in Major League Baseball when he won the National League Gold Glove for Utility. On Sunday, he received five first-place votes in the National League MVP voting, tying him with San Diego teammate Fernando Tatis Jr. for 14th place. Kim was the third Korean player to receive votes in the MVP voting, joining Choo Shin-soo (now with SSG Rangers) and Ryu Hyun-jin (free agent).
When asked what it was like for Bucheonjoong to receive the Gold Glove, Kim said, “It was great. Not that I was happy to receive the award, but there is a bias in Major League Baseball that Asian infielders are not allowed. I think it was an award that allowed my brother to change his mind to some extent, so I think it was an award that was able to instill the idea in Asian players, not just Korean players, but Asian players in Japan, Taiwan, and other countries, ‘If Kim Ha-seong can do it, I can do it,'” he said proudly.
He hopes that more younger players will follow in the footsteps of Ohtani and Kim, who are leading the way in breaking down stereotypes against Asian players in the major leagues. “You have to be good at setting goals. If you have a big dream and set realistic goals, set them one by one and fulfill them, you will become a major league player like your brother before you know it. I hope you have such a dream and work hard.” He patted her on the shoulder.