Alex Kielar | May 18th, 2020
We are now through two weeks of the KBO season and can get a better idea of who these teams are. The team at the top of these rankings is on an absolute tear right now, while the cellar dwellers are reeling. Then you got your middle of the pack teams just trying to keep pace with the leaders and avoid the cellar. Let’s get into it.
10. SK Wyverns (1-10)
They have lost nine games in a row after picking up their first win, but they have run into two walls in the LG Twins and NC Dinos this week, two of the top-tier teams in the KBO. They lost two of the games, one versus each of them, by just one run but the other four were fairly convincing, losing by four runs or more. There really isn’t anything positive to see with this team for the future, they currently have a league-worst -37 run differential. Their lone bright spot is outfielder Dong-min Kim who is tied for the league lead with five home runs and is slashing .351/.429/.811.
9. Samsung Lions (4-8)
After a promising start to the week, taking two out of three from the Heroes, the Lions fell flat on their face and got swept in convincing fashion, 14-6, 10-4, 9-2, by the KT Wiz. That puts the Lions in the spot the Wiz were in last week. Former Philadelphia Phillies and Tokyo Yakult Swallows (Nippon Pro Baseball) pitcher David Buchanan was masterful in his start against the Heroes on Wednesday, going seven shutout innings, surrendering just two hits and one walk, and striking out eight. They don’t have too consistent hitting, with just three hitters with at least 20 plate appearances slugging at least .400, and two hitting .300 or higher. Sang-su Kim went 8-for-18 this past week and is slashing .324/.477/.412. Dong-yeop Kim has the highest slugging on the team at .460, which is 31st in the league.
8. Kia Tigers (5-7)
Despite winning one more game than they did last week, the Tigers had a -3 run differential this week and went 3-3. Foreign-born players Aaron Brooks and Preston Tucker have continued to dominate for them. Tucker hit two more home runs to tie for the league lead with five and went 10-for-24. He is now slashing .444/.510/.911 in 51 plate appearances. Brooks did struggle a bit in his most recent start on Sunday, giving up four earned runs and 11 over 5 1/3 innings, taking his first loss in his only decision so far. In his first start on Tuesday, however, he went seven innings and surrendered just one earned run. He currently holds a 3.00 ERA and 1.28 WHIP with 17 strikeouts.
7. Hanwha Eagles (5-7)
They lost two out of three against the Tigers, but the losses were only but one run each and then took two of three from the 6-2, now 7-4, Giants. Min-woo Kim pitched a dominant seven innings in both of his starts this week while giving up just one run and striking out 14. Woo-ram Jung picked up his second and third saves on Thursday and Friday. Ju-suk Ha went 7-for-23 this week to put his slashline at .333/.349/.405.
6. KT Wiz (4-7)
They started the week getting swept by the hands of the Dinos, but all three games were one run games, and then swept the Lions. The Wiz definitely aren’t as bad as they looked last week, which is what merits them a move up three spots. They scored 14, 10, and 9 runs in their wins over the Lions, while Mel Rojas Jr. continued to rake, going 10-for-25 with one homer. Rojas Jr. is now slashing .426/.460/.660 in 50 PAs. Jeong-dae Bae has also hit well, going 8-for-21 and is slashing .361/.410/.500. Baek-ho Kang is leading the team in homers with four as he hit two this week and is slashing .333/.400/.756.
5. Kiwoom Heroes (7-5)
The Heroes lost four games in a row this week, making them fall two spots. Jung-hoo Lee went 7-for-21 and one homer and is the leading hitter right now, with a .372/.449/.721 slashline. Eric Jokisch, who previously pitched for the Chicago Cubs, was masterful in his two starts, pitched through six innings in both games. He gave up just one unearned run and five hits and struck out ten batters. His ERA is now sitting at 0.53 after three starts so far this season.
4. Lotte Giants (7-4)
After being the only undefeated team remaining after week one, the Giants only won four games this past week. They had a -9 run differential and are not looking as dominant as they did last week when I had said it could be them and the Dinos on a crash course. Right-hander Dan Straily continued to strike batters out, as he struck out 11 more in his first start of the week and four more in his second to put his total at 19. This is tied for the league lead and he is averaging over 10 strikeouts per nine. He pitched a seven-inning, three-hit shutout in the first start; his ERA is now 2.12. Jun-woo Jeon his two homers to up his total to four, while Ah-seop Son is slashing .405/.532/.541 through 49 PAs.
3. Doosan Bears (7-4)
They won both of their series and went 4-2 this week, using their solid hitting to boost them. They have six hitters with over 35 PAs still hitting over .300, while José Miguel Fernández continues to rake with a .479/.519/.729 slashline and two homers. Jae-il Oh is also hitting over .400 with a .404 batting average. Their pitching hasn’t been too consistent, but their hitting has been able to bail them out.
2. LG Twins (7-4)
The Twins were on a roll, winning six games in a row before losing their latest game on Sunday versus the Heroes. Their winning streak started when they handed the top team in these rankings, the Dinos, their first loss last week. Roberto Ramos hit two more homers to get to four on the season, as he slashes .378/.477/.784, Hyun-soo Kim is slashing .400/.438/.644 and Chun-woong Lee is slashing .333/.391/.429.
1. NC Dinos (10-1)
Their only loss this season was to Twins, who are certainly a legitimate team, and they have a +31 run differential. The Dinos have had a great combination of pitching and hitting. They have three pitchers who still haven’t surrendered a single run, including Chang-mo Koo who has pitched 14 innings while surrounding only six hits and three walks, and striking out 18 batters. Sung-bum Na hit three homers this week to increase his total to four, and Min-woo Park is slashing .432/.479/.636. They have two hitters, Jin-sung Kang and Min-suk Park, who have three homers in addition to Na’s four.
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