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Weekend Bird Droppings: Where Hyun Soo Kim is the best hitter alive

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In the news: the Orioles released 37 minor leaguers, Jose Flores is a handyman and Jose Iglesias is the best fielder on the team.

Kiwoom Heroes v LG Twins Photo by Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

Hyun Soo Kim is a hit machine. As of this writing, the former Orioles outfielder is hitting .355/.394/.548 with seven doubles, a triple, a home run, 10 RBI and four walks to just six strikeouts in the KBO. Even Buck Showalter would admit that those are some pretty good numbers and worthy of attention.

His latest feat came on Friday morning here in the United States, when his walk-off single with the bases loaded gave the LG Twins a 6-5 win.

Kim had his flaws during a two-year stint in MLB. There are defensive issues, and he wasn’t particularly effective on the basepaths. But that 2016 season was not a bad showing. He hit .302/.382/.420 and posted 0.9 bWAR/1.0 fWAR despite irregular playing time and adjusting to a new league.

He also hit a massive home run off of Roberto Osuna, which propelled the O’s into the playoffs.

Now 32, Kim appears unlikely to get another chance in MLB. Teams clearly didn’t think that he had enough ability to be a starter, and his struggles on defense make it almost impossible to keep him around as a fourth outfielder. Perhaps his skillset could work in a DH role, but the lack of power would be problematic there as well.

Regardless, the KBO veteran has his place in Orioles lore. The theme song he brought with him, the minor league refusal, the booing on Opening Day, the homer off Osuna, the beer being thrown at him in the Wild Card Game and more.

While not all of those moments are pleasant, they are each something that Orioles fans 10 years from now will be recounting as the club rockets towards their third World Series of the Adley Rutschman era. That’s pretty cool.

Links

Orioles Release 37 Minor Leaguers - MLB Trade Rumors
The timing of this decision makes it pretty clear that this is not something the Orioles want to get talked about much. They waited until Friday evening of a holiday weekend to announce they fired 37 people. It’s unclear how this impacts these players incomes during this time. Clubs previously agreed to paying minor leaguers $400/week until their season starts.

Also, I wonder if this is a harbinger of things to come. MLB is going to reduce the size of MiLB, and the Frederick Keys are on the chopping block. With the draft (as well as undrafted free agents) coming up soon and the possibility that a minor league season doesn’t happen at all, these mass releases could have been preparation for those inevitabilities.

These are the best gloves in the AL East - Orioles.com
Jose Iglesias gets the nod for the O’s, which is fair. The shortstop is a notch below the elite level of defense he used to bring to the table, but he remains more than capable with the leather. However, it will be interesting to see how Austin Hays’s abilities grade out once he plays an entire season in center field.

Flores doing his teaching from Puerto Rico - School of Roch
Do you know anyone in Puerto Rico that needs some repairs done around the house? Apparently Orioles infield coach Jose Flores is available, and he has been getting in a ton of practice at his own home during the ongoing quarantine.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Two former Orioles have birthdays this weekend. Mike Gonzalez, who had a brief and unsuccessful stint as the club’s closer in 2010 and 2011 turns 42 on Saturday. And it is a posthumous celebration for Baltimore’s own Willy Miranda (b. 1926, d. 1996), who served as the club’s shortstop from 1955 through 1959.

1964 - Harmon Killebrew launches a 471-foot home run off of Orioles pitcher Milt Pappas. It is the longest home run recorded at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium.

1999 - Brady Anderson sets an American League record and ties an MLB record by being hit by a pitch twice in one inning as the Orioles defeat the Rangers 15-6.

2000 - The O’s beat the Mariners 4-2, but Rickey Henderson steals the headlines by drawing his 2,000th career walk, becoming only the third person in MLB history (Babe Ruth, Ted Williams) to achieve the feat.

2015 - Brian Matusz becomes the second pitcher of the week to be ejected for having a “foreign substance” on his hand.