GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld
Hyun-soo Kim has done well when given the chance, but he still isn’t getting very many of them, even whileJoey Rickard continues to struggle against righties. Press play or read below for more.
Despite comporting himself well in his very limited opportunities, Hyun-soo Kim continues to see no signs of those opportunities increasing. The O’s Korean import has seen just a single start over the team’s last seven games, and even in that one, he was pinch hit for in the sixth inning after singling and walking in three previous at-bats.
In 33 plate appearances, Kim has 10 singles, a double, and 10 walks, good for a .455 on-base percentage. He’s yet to draw a single AB against left-handed pitching, despite not being a platoon player in the KBO.
Meanwhile, Joey Rickard continues to struggle mightily against right-handers. The rookie Rule 5-er has put up a wRC+ of just 70 vs. righties, compared to 137 against southpaws, while walking half as much and striking out nearly twice as much.
Despite these obvious struggles, Rickard’s name might as well be written in sharpie atop the lineup card, as he’s played in every game this season, starting all but two.
The knock we’ve heard all along on Kim is that he can’t handle the fastball velocities at the MLB level. Wouldn’t it then have been a perfect time to start him on Sunday against Jared Weaver, whose fastball would barely break a wet paper towel? Yet he was nowhere to be found.
On Tuesday night, the O’s face another soft-tossing righty, Houston’s Doug Fister. It’s been three years since Fister’s average four-seamer clocked in at over 90 MPH. It would seem on the surface to be another prime opportunity for Kim to get the start.
We’ll see…but I won’t be holding my breath.