KBO star Kim Ha-Seong is being posted this winter, and he could be of interest to the Milwaukee Brewers.
When you have a productive well, why not keep going back to it? The Brewers have signed Eric Thames from the KBO, then they signed Josh Lindblom from the KBO. Now, Kiwoom Heroes star infielder Kim Ha-Seong is going to be on the market.
Thames was the 2015 KBO league MVP while Lindblom was the 2019 KBO MVP. Ha-Seong had a very strong season for Kiwoom and could end up winning the league MVP award when that gets announced.
Who is Kim Ha-Seong?
If you haven’t been paying close attention to KBO baseball, let’s sum up who Kim Ha-Seong is.
Ha-Seong, 25, has played seven seasons now in the KBO, the first five with Nexen and the last two with Kiwoom. He played in his first professional season at just 18 years old. While his first season didn’t show great numbers, which is understandable given his age, he’s been excellent since.
Over the last six seasons, Ha-Seong has hit at least .281 or higher and posted an OPS of at least .832 or higher every single year. He has consistently been playing at least 130 games or more a season. The KBO plays a 144 game schedule.
There have been no injury issues, and his consistent offensive production makes him quite valuable, but batting average and OPS don’t tell the full story.
Ha-Seong has quite the power-speed combination, hitting 30 homers in 2020 with 23 stolen bases. He has hit somewhere between 19 and 30 home runs each of the past six years and has stolen at least 20 bases in four of the past six years. Ha-Seong has also driven in 100 runs or more in three of the last four seasons.
His career .294/.373/.493 slash line is, to put it mildly, very good. He also walked more than he struck out in 2020 (75 BBs to 68 Ks).
If the Brewers could get Kim Ha-Seong to Milwaukee, he’d likely play third base and bring a dynamic power-speed combination to the middle of the lineup and boost this offense.
Ha-Seong has primarily been a shortstop over in Korea, but he also possesses the arm strength to handle third base. Given his offensive production over the years, he also has the power profile to handle third base.
Even if the Brewers wanted to keep him at shortstop, he’d likely be an offensive upgrade over Orlando Arcia and Luis Urias. Of course, Ha-Seong would be the biggest power threat of the three, making him a better fit for the hot corner.
Given Ha-Seong’s youth and prior production, he’s in line for a potential long-term deal this offseason. MLB Trade Rumors projected him for a five year, $40MM contract. While that initially looks high for the Brewers, that kind of deal could be backloaded somewhat to help balance out the payroll while the team recovers from the financial losses of 2020.
There’s a number of different ways the Brewers could utilize Ha-Seong if he were to come to Milwaukee. With the bat he’ll provide, the acquisition cost is going to be worth it.
The negotiating window with Ha-Seong will begin on November 26th at 7 AM CT and that will be the Brewers first chance to speak with him. That window will be open for 30 days and by the end of that 30 days, Ha-Seong will have to decide who he wants to sign with.
The Brewers have not shied away from Korean League players before, and it’s worked out well for them.