The World Baseball Classic (WBC), the ‘Baseball World Cup’, where the best baseball players in the world all mobilize. In the 5th tournament, which will be held next month, a large number of active major leaguers will appear.
In particular, some countries,안전놀이터 such as the United States, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, have such splendid members that all or most of their entries are made up of big leaguers.
Korea originally included three big leaguers, but Choi Ji-man (32, Pittsburgh Pirates) was canceled due to opposition from the club, leaving only two players. It is true that Korean roasters are somewhat lagging in terms of ‘name value’.
Coincidentally, however, the two form a keystone combination, the ‘nucleus of defense’. The main characters are Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres) and Tommy Hyun-soo Edman (28, St. Louis Cardinals), who wore the Taegeuk mark for the first time in the history of the baseball team as ‘Korean’.
Ha-seong Kim, who entered the Major League (MLB) in 2021, took off as a main player last year in his second year. Kim Ha-seong, who took over as the starting shortstop due to the injury of Fernando Tatis Jr., supported the team’s defense by creating ‘highlight films’ several times with his improved defense. After the season, he became the first Korean to be nominated for a Gold Glove. He has been recognized as the third best defensive shortstop in the National League.
In the offense, he had a batting average of 0.251 with 11 homers, 59 RBIs, 58 points and 12 stolen bases, and he had a good performance. Considering his high contribution in defense and the fact that he was mainly placed in the bottom batting order, this performance can never be ignored.
Edmund is also an infielder with excellent offensive and defensive balance. In 153 games last year, he had a batting average of 0.265 with 13 home runs, 57 RBIs, 95 points and 32 stolen bases.
He has already been recognized before Kim Ha-seong in defense. Edmund has already won the National League Gold Glove in 2021. In 2022, he moved back and forth between second baseman and shortstop to guard the infield, and after the season was nominated for the National League Gold Glove Award for Utility Fielder.
It is no exaggeration to say that the ‘keystone combination’ of two incumbent major leaguers, Kim Ha-seong and Edmund, is the strongest ever in the Korean national team.
It is not simply a subjective view of ‘our player’. Ha-seong Kim and Edman also showed the highest level of records among the ‘Keystone Combi’ that will participate in this competition.
When looking at the win contribution (WAR) compared to substitute players, which quantifies the player’s value, Ha-seong Kim’s WAR last year was 5.1 and Edmund’s was 6.4 (hereinafter referred to as Babe Ball). If you add the two together, it is 11.5, which means that the two players have won about 11 wins with their pure power.
Among the WBC participating teams, Venezuela is the only team whose Keystone Combi’s WAR sum is higher than Korea’s. In Venezuela, Andres Jimenez (Cleveland Guardians), who won the American League second baseman Gold Glove last year, and Jose Altuve (Houston Astros), who received the Silver Slugger, are highly likely to work together.
Both were second base last year, but Jimenez can also play shortstop. Jimenez’s WAR is 7.4 and Altuve’s is 5.1, for a total of 12.5.
The United States, where all players are big leaguers, was next to Venezuela and Korea. Trey Turner (Philadelphia Phillies) and Jeff McNeil (New York Mets) are expected to form a keystone combination. Last season, Turner’s WAR was 4.9 and McNeil’s was 5.7, the sum of the two was 10.6.
In addition, the Dominican Republic, where Jeremy Pena (Houston Astros, 4.8) and Willy Adames (Milwaukee Brewers, 4.4) would work together, was 9.2, while Francisco Lindor (New York Mets, 5.4) and Javier Baez (Detroit Tigers, 2.5) were the main players. Puerto Rico, who will play as the .
The ‘rival’ Japan included 5 big leaguers including Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels) and Yu Darvish (San Diego Padres) in this tournament, but the Keystone Combi is made up of domestic league players. Sōsuke Genda (Seibu Lions) and Tetsuto Yamada (Yakult Swallows) are likely to be the starting pitchers.
It is true that the keystone combination of Kim Ha-seong and Edman is highly competitive enough to be at the top of the list, even though there are many outstanding players.
Foreign media are already paying attention to the Korean Keystone combination. MLB.com, the official homepage of Major League Baseball, recently predicted, “The shortstop-second baseman infield guarded by Kim Ha-seong and Tommy Edman will be the strongest defensive line in this tournament.” Jiji News, a Japanese media, also picked the Keystone combination of Kim Ha-seong and Edman along with Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom Heroes) as players to be wary of.
Meanwhile, Kim Ha-seong and Edman are currently training at their respective team’s spring camp. They will join the national team in early March and work together in earnest.