By: Robert Stevens
2021 Utica Blue Sox and Kentucky commit Tanner Kim will be coming up to bat at the collegiate level this summer.
Kim started his senior season at Farragut High School this spring after not playing ball since his sophomore year back in 2019. Things will be ramping up quickly for Kim, who began his back-to-back seasons with the Farragut Admirals on March 16 with a Grand Slam Tournament before making his trip up north to Utica in June.
“I’m definitely as excited as I can be because of this long break,” Kim said. “It’s been nice to recover my body and any break is good, but it just made me want to get back out there even more and especially with this being my senior season.”
After his high school season, Kim will enter his first summer of collegiate baseball play with the Utica Blue Sox.
“Then I’m going into new experiences, new challenges and a new city with Utica. It’s just going to be a lot of fun.”
Coming straight from high school into collegiate ball comes with a tremendous opportunity to grow and elevate a player’s level of play. For Kim, he knows he belongs in the PGCBL and is coming in with high hopes to put his talent on full display.
“There’s two sides of it,” the incoming Wildcat and Sock said. “I like to think of it like any position that I am in. You want to have confidence and think ‘hey I’m supposed to be here. I can compete with anyone out there.’ But, there’s also not wanting to think about it too much. You don’t want to put that pressure on yourself. You just got to represent the team, so I’m just really excited and it’s going to be a great experience.”
Prior to this season, Tanner Kim hadn’t played ball at a competitive level in his sophomore season. That season, he received national attention from scouts. Kim went 26-for-93 for a .310 average with 17 RBI and two home runs. He also achieved a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with zero errors in his 44 games played.
For the Tennessee native, those statistics didn’t surprise him.
“I honestly would say it’s because a lot of reps and a lot of repetition at practice, on my own or wherever I can,” said Kim. “Like anything, the more you do it, the better you’re going to be at it.”
Tanner Kim is fully aware that the rest of 2021 will demand a lot for him physically, mentally and emotionally. Knowing this, his main focus won’t be on fielding and hitting, but rather his health.
“The No. 1 thing for me is to keep my body healthy and my mind right and make sure that with things like long practices to make sure to do recovery. You can hit good and have a good season, making no errors and things like that, but on top of that is making sure you stay healthy and stay on the field.”
Born in California, Kim has lived most of his life down south. The transition from his home to Utica will be an interesting experience for Kim. He loves the idea of Utica being his new home to settle into for the summer.
“I moved here [Knoxville] from California when I was in sixth grade and that move was big,” said the Kentucky infielder. “It’s going to be similar to that move [to Utica]. But also I am on my own, so it’s going to be an experience for sure. I know when I get up there, after a little while, it’s just going to be my new home and I’ll settle.”
This is going to be Kim’s first summer going against college players with the PGCBL. Knowing that his freshman season at Kentucky is coming soon, this summer will be huge in his development as a player.
“Getting reps is the most important thing,” Kim said. “The experience is something that I want to have under my belt because not a lot of people can say that they went out there and played and had this experience. Especially the experience of older guys and faster pitching.”