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Tae-kyun Kim (kimta02)

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Tae-kyun Kim (김태균) also transliterated as Tae-gyun Kim

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 220 lb.

[edit] Biographical Information

Tae-kyun Kim is a first baseman with the Chiba Lotte Marines. In the 2000 World Junior Championship, he hit .433/?/.833 with 3 HR, possibly tying Pedro Rodriguez and Dae-ho Lee for the most. His 12 runs possibly tied Russell Martin for the lead. He made a big splash out of high school, batting .335/.436/.649 as a rookie in 2001 with 20 home runs in 88 games. He won the Korea Baseball Organization Rookie of the Year award that season. He did not qualify for the batting title due to not enough playing time, but had he done so, he would have tied Felix Jose and Jay Davis for 4th in the Korea Baseball Organization. During the 2001 Baseball World Cup, Kim was 2 for 7 (both doubles) with 2 walks as a backup 1B/DH. In 2002, Kim hit .255/.347/.362 with 103 strikeouts in a sophomore slump.

At age 21, Tae-kyun produced at a .319/.424/.572 clip, bouncing back in fine form. He hit 31 homers, drove in 95 and drew 79 walks. In the 2003 Baseball World Cup, Kim hit .353/.450/.647 with 10 runs in 9 games. In 2004, the young slugger batted .323/.412/.529 with 23 home runs and 106 RBI. He tied Byung-kyu Lee for fourth in average. The next year, he won a Gold Glove at first base while hitting .317/.401/.547 with 33 doubles, 23 HR and 100 RBI. He was third in the KBO in average behind Byung-kyu Lee and Jay Davis.

Kim played for South Korea in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and went 0 for 1 with two walks and a run as a pinch-hitter, backing up Seung-yeop Lee at first base. In the regular 2006 season, the Hanwha homer hitter slipped to a .291/.405/.447 line with just 13 homers, though he did draw 82 walks. Through 2006, Kim had hit .308/~.402/.518 in 703 games, with 117 HR, 372 walks and 462 RBI.

In 2007, Kim hit .290/.420/.483 with 92 walks and 85 RBI. He was 5th in the KBO in free passes and tied Jacob Cruz for 4th in RBI. He was 4th in OBP as well.

During the 2008 KBO season, the slugger hit .324/.417/.622 with 31 homers and 92 RBI. He was fifth in the league in average, 5th in runs (81), tied for 2nd in doubles (27), led in homers (1 ahead of Karim Garcia), was 4th in RBI, led in slugging (.081 over Garcia), was third in OBP (behind Hyun-soo Kim and Jae-hong Park) and led in OPS. Kim won his second Gold Glove as the best all-around 1B in the KBO. He was left off the Korean squad for the 2008 Olympics as Seung-yeop Lee and Dae-ho Lee were picked at first base. Kim won 8 of 94 votes for KBO MVP in 2008, finishing third behind Hyun-soo Kim and Kwang-hyun Kim.

Kim was picked for the Korean squad for the 2009 World Baseball Classic, manning first base when Seung-yeop Lee opted not to play in the event. Kim dazzled, hitting .345/.486/.690 with 3 homers, 9 runs and 11 RBI in 9 games for the runner-up team. His 2-run single off Chen-Chang Lee began a rout against Taiwan in the opener. He hit a 2-run homer against Daisuke Matsuzaka in the first match with Japan. His single against Hisashi Iwakuma scored Jong-wook Lee with the only run in a 1-0 win over Japan. His 4th inning solo homer off Oliver Perez put South Korea ahead for good in their round two match with Mexico. His 2-run homer off Carlos Silva helped in their rout of Venezuela in the semifinal. In the finale, Kim's walk off Yu Darvish helped set up the tying run in the 9th, but Korea went on to lose in the 10th. He tied Scott Hairston for second in the event with 8 walks, one behind Adam Dunn. His 20 total bases tied Jorge Cantú for 4th place. He tied Dunn and Kevin Youkilis for the most runs and led in RBI. He tied Frederich Cepeda, Dunn, Karim Garcia, Carlos Guillen, Youkilis and Bum-ho Lee for the most home runs. He was chosen as the All-Tournament 1B ahead of players like Youkilis, Justin Morneau, Miguel Cabrera, Fernando Tatis, Carlos Delgado, Adrián González, David Ortiz and Michihiro Ogasawara.

On April 26, 2009, Kim suffered a concussion during a collision with catcher Seung-hwan Choi of the Doosan Bears, sidelining him for a period. He hit .330/.416/.545 in 95 games in 2009 when healthy.

Becoming a free agent after the '09 season ended, Kim signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan for 2010. He debuted on March 20, Opening Day, hitting cleanup and playing first base. He struck out in all four at-bats against Hideaki Wakui that day.

Sources: KBO player page, Korean wikipedia entry, 2002-2006 Baseball Almanacs, World Baseball Classic website, Defunct IBAF site

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