KBO: Week 9 Power Rankings

KBO: Week 9 Power Rankings

This article is part of our KBO Power Rankings series.

For the first time since I started doing these power rankings nearly a month ago, there's been no movement. That wouldn't have be true had these rankings come out immediately following Friday's contests, as the Twins had lost seven games in a row, but they went on to win both weekend contests while the Tigers dropped two straight, so both teams will stay where they are for now. The way I'd group the tiers this week has changed, however, as the Twins have now dropped down into the same tier as the Tigers, while the Lions have a strong case as part of that tier as well. The Lions at Twins series coming up next weekend should therefore have some interesting playoff implications. The Bears at Heroes midweek matchup will be the best series of the week, while the Dinos will try to get their first win of the season against the Tigers over the weekend after dropping both games of a rain-shortened series against them in mid-June.

1. NC Dinos 

Last Week: 1
Record: 32-14
Run Differential: +74

The Lowdown: The Dinos had lost six of nine in mid-June and looked less than invinceable for the first time all year, but they're back to being the clear team to beat after winning five of their last seven. Another series win against the Bears means they're now 6-3 against the defending champions.

DFS Name to Know: Did the dominant Dinos' offense need yet another player to have a breakout campaign? Definitely not, but that's what they've gotten from Hee Dong Kwon, who's moved from the bottom of the lineup up to the number two spot on the back of a .330/.434/.565 slash line, giving him the second-best OPS in the Dinos' loaded lineup.

2. Kiwoom Heroes

Last Week: 2
Record: 30-18
Run Differential: +59

The Lowdown: The Heroes had yet another excellent week, going 5-1 one against a pair of likely playoff teams in the Twins and Tigers. Their pitching has been dominant of late, as they've allowed just 2.6 runs per game over their last 11 contests, a stretch in which they've gone 10-1.

DFS Name to Know: Eric Jokisch was perfect through 20 outs in his most recent start and now owns a 1.42 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP, second in the league in both categories.

3. Doosan Bears

Last Week: 3
Record: 28-19
Run Differential: +26

The Lowdown: The Bears just can't seem to hang with the league-leading Dinos, taking just one game in each of the three series between the teams thus far. They'll have a chance to move into second place this week if they can beat the Heroes in the first meeting of the season between the two sides, as they'll follow that matchup with three games against the anemic Eagles.

DFS Name to Know: 2018 MVP Jae Hwan Kim has gone from very hot to very cold to now very hot again this season, as he's hit .389/.542/.694 over his last 10 games.

4. LG Twins

Last Week: 4
Record: 27-20
Run Differential: +31

The Lowdown: After getting swept by the Bears last weekend, the Twins remained in a slump for most of this week, getting swept by the Heroes and losing the first game to the Wyverns to extend their losing streak to seven before pulling out of their tailspin and winning a pair of games against the ninth-place side. Those wins were enough to keep them in fourth, but it's hard to see them as a true title contender at the moment, as they now have a 5-12 record against the top three teams in the league.

DFS Name to Know: 30-year-old Chan Heon Jung didn't enter the year with much of a track record but has an excellent 2.56 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP through six starts after throwing a three-hit shutout against the Wyverns on Saturday.

5. Kia Tigers

Last Week: 5
Record: 24-21
Run Differential: +14

The Lowdown: I was very ready to move the Tigers up to the fourth spot due to the Twins' struggles, but I can't move a team up in a week in which they went just 1-3. The Tigers' dominant and deep starting rotation should give them a chance in any playoff series, but they'll need to actually score runs if they're to be a true contender, something they failed to do in either of their last two games against the Heroes. 

DFS Name to Know: Aaron Brooks has been one of the top pitchers in the league this season and now ranks fifth among qualified starters with a 2.51 ERA, backed up by a 23.1 percent strikeout rate and a 5.3 percent walk rate.

6. Samsung Lions

Last Week: 6
Record: 24-24
Run Differential: +9

The Lowdown: The Lions climbed up to .500 after taking two of three against two bottom-half teams this week, the Eagles and Giants. They could move to the doorstep of the playoffs if they handle the Wyverns in their midweek series, but their next two matchups against the Twins and Heroes will be the true test of their postseason chances.

DFS Name to Know: Ja Wook Koo is the Lions' top hitter in the absence of Tyler Saladino (back). He's a strong all-around player, hitting .318 with five homers and six steals in 28 games.

7. KT Wiz

Last Week: 7
Record: 21-26
Run Differential: -3

The Lowdown: The Wiz went plus-16 in run differential this week thanks in large part to an impressive 19-6 victory over the league-leading Dinos, though they won just three of their six games. They're within striking distance of playoff spot (just four games back), but they're entering a make-or-break stretch with their next three series coming against the Twins, Heroes and Tigers.

DFS Name to Know: Mel Rojas Jr. hit four more homers this week, establishing himself as the early MVP favorite, as his 17 homers lead the league by four while he also leads in runs (40), RBI (45), slugging (.714) and OPS (1.132)

8. Lotte Giants

Last Week: 8
Record: 22-23
Run Differential: -8

The Lowdown: The Giants continue to hang around the fringes of the playoff race, but they don't have enough about them to look like a serious threat. In many ways, they're similar to the Tigers, with their strong pitching largely offsetting a poor lineup, but they have less depth in the rotation and are a Preston Tucker short of matching the Tigers' lineup.

DFS Name to Know: Ah Seop Son may not be good enough to lead the Giants to the playoffs, but he's having a strong season nonetheless, hitting .385/.413/.571 in the month of June to raise his OPS to .896.

9. SK Wyverns

Last Week: 9
Record: 14-33
Run Differential: -68

The Lowdown: Time may already be up for the Wyverns, who finished tied for the best record in the league last season, to return to the playoffs, as they're already 11 games back of the number five spot. They did secure a pair of 7-0 victories over two good teams, the Bears and Twins, this week, but they've only won three of their last 17 contests.

DFS Name to Know: The Wyverns don't have enough of either side of the ball at the moment, though Seung Won Moon is having a strong age-30 season on the mound, posting a 3.23 ERA through nine starts and backing it up with a 24.0 percent strikeout rate and a 5.5 percent walk rate.

10. Hanwha Eagles

Last Week: 10
Record: 12-36
Run Differential: -134

The Lowdown: Any week in which the Eagles win a game is a good week by their standards, so congratulations are due to them for winning two whole contests this week. They don't have a single winning week all season and have gone 3-3 just once, however, and that's unlikely to change this week against the Tigers and Bears.

DFS Name to Know: It remains Warwick Saupold and very little else in terms of fantasy-relevant players on the Eagles, though he's in the middle of his best stretch of the year, winning three straight starts while allowing just four earned runs and striking out 17.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Erik Halterman plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: ehalt, FanDuel: ehalt.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Halterman
Erik Halterman is an MLB staff writer at RotoWire. He also covers KBO, NPB and CPBL daily fantasy contests.
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