Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter expressed recently that he is concerned about the confidence level of outfielder Kim Hyun-soo, who has seen both his playing time and performance drop this season.
As of July 18, Kim, who is in his second season in the major leagues, was hitting .227/.299/.277, a huge dropoff from 2016 where he hit .302/.382/.420. Due to the crowded platoon situation in Baltimore’s outfield this season, he has also seen a decrease in playing time, making it harder to find opportunities to do well and increase his confidence.
Baltimore Orioles outfielder Kim Hyun-soo high-fives teammates after scoring in a game on July 9, 2017. (Yonhap)
In an interview with the Baltimore Sun on Tuesday, Showalter said, “I think there‘s a little less confidence, but that’s maybe not his fault, as much as it is probably [Trey Mancini’s] fault.” Mancini, a highly-touted outfielder and one of Baltimore’s top prospects, has been hitting incredibly well as both an outfielder and first baseman. However, after the return of slugger Chris Davis from the disabled list, Mancini has played mostly outfield and has largely taken Kim’s starting spot.
Kim has also been given some chances as a pinch hitter, but his results have not been good, especially compared with last year. He is hitting a mere .133 (2-for-15) in pinch-hit appearances, a slippery slope which makes it hard to get him more chances.
Showalter is quick to praise Kim for his work ethic, despite his struggles, calling him a “professional” and saying that “[Kim] always puts his work in. I think there are a lot of people who are pulling for him today.” He also said he plans to give Kim more pinch-hit opportunities so he can get more swings in.
Showalter described Kim as the kind of player who you can always count on to do what needs to be done. What Kim needs to do now is to work on seizing the opportunities he’s given, confident that he has a patient and supportive manager behind him and that the results will come.
By Alex Park / Intern reporter (email@example.com