Hyun Soo Kim tore it up for the O’s in the first half, but aggravated his hamstring last week. If he goes on the DL – he’ll test the hammy on Sunday – a Joey Rickard/Nolan Reimold platoon could bridge the gap. Read below or press play for more.
Hyun Soo Kim was booed on Opening Day at Camden Yards by many fans who thought he was selfish to refuse a minor league assignment after a poor Spring Training. The outfielder hit just .178 in the spring and did not record an extra base hit, but announced he would return to Korea if he was not given a spot on the Orioles’ major league roster.
As he found more playing time, Kim turned some heads and was arguably the biggest surprise of the first half, leading the team in batting average and on base percentage and posting a higher fWAR than Adam Jones despite playing in about half as many games. He eventually worked his way into a more consistent role and has made the most of the opportunity thus far.
Last Sunday, on the final day before the All Star break, Kim left the game in the first inning after aggravating his hamstring on his way to first base. Though no official announcement has been made in terms of his status, my gut tells me a trip to the disabled list is forthcoming. If there’s one thing we know about hamstring injuries, it’s that they tend to linger. Looking at you, Darren O’Day.
Kim’s absence from the O’s lineup will prove to be a big blow for a team that relies heavily on the home run ball. Kim’s propensity for getting on base put pressure on opposing pitchers and the Orioles will certainly miss that in his absence.
Nolan Reimold is sure to see more playing time, as is Joey Rickard. Reimold should no longer be considered a platoon guy versus left-handed pitching; he is hitting nearly 50 points higher against righties this season and his OPS is .167 higher against right-handed pitchers. While Rickard has surely cooled off after his hot start to the season, he maintains a .313 batting average against left-handed pitchers. A Reimold-Rickard duo could be used as a placeholder as Kim recovers.