KBO: Week 14 Power Rankings

KBO: Week 14 Power Rankings

This article is part of our KBO Power Rankings series.

Most of this week's most significant games involved the Bears, who dropped a pair of games to the Heroes before taking two of three from the Dinos and winning a series against the league leaders for the first time all year. It felt quite strange to drop the Bears following the latter result, but the Heroes' dominant undefeated week was enough for them to reclaim the second spot. There remains a large gap between those top three teams and the rest of the league, but the middle tier is changing. The Lions' recent struggles dropped them from the second tier, leaving just three teams competing for the final two playoff spots, barring an unexpected run from one of the bottom four teams. 

1. NC Dinos

Last Week: 1
Record: 45-24-2
Run Differential: +101

The Lowdown: The Dinos had a poor week, winning just one out of four games, meaning they've now won just one of their last six. To be fair to them, their series against the Bears was incredibly tight, as both of their losses came in extra innings, but the gap between them and the other two teams in the top tier is as close as it's been in quite some time despite their four-game lead in the standings.

DFS Name to Know: Jin Hyuk No grabbed seven hits, including three homers and three doubles, in just four games last week, raising his season slash line to .283/.354/.519 in a year in which he's been one of the top offensive shortstops in the league. 

2. Kiwoom Heroes

Last Week: 3
Record: 44-31
Run Differential: +62

The Lowdown: The Heroes had quite a dominant week, outscoring their opponents by a total of 31 runs over five games to extend their winning streak to six. Their lineup had been decent at worst without a foreign hitter for most of the season and could be a true top-tier unit going forward with the addition of Addison Russell.

DFS Name to Know: Russell has been everything the Heroes could have asked for through his first week in Korea, hitting .400 with a homer, two doubles and six RBI through five games.

3. Doosan Bears

Last Week: 2
Record: 42-31
Run Differential: +39

The Lowdown: It's odd to drop the Bears after they won a series against the league leaders, but their fall this week has more to do with the Heroes' surge than their own performance. Their poor pitching staff has shown no signs of improvement, however, and it's hard to see them seriously pushing for the top spot as such a one-dimensional team.

DFS Name to Know: Kyoung Min Hur is riding a 24-game hitting streak, hitting .484 over that stretch while striking out just five times and stealing six bases.

4. KT Wiz

Last Week: 5
Record: 37-33-1
Run Differential: +38

The Lowdown: The Wiz have played like one of the best teams in the league for quite some time, going 24-11 over their last 35 games. They're riding a five-game winning streak and will get the chance to prove themselves against a similarly hot Heroes team in their upcoming midweek series before having the opportunity to climb up the standings with a pair of series against the Eagles and Wyverns.

DFS Name to Know: In the interest of not listing MVP favorite Mel Rojas Jr. in this space every single week, I'll highlight Jae Gyun Hwang, whose OPS sat at just .657 through June 25 but who owns a 1.059 OPS in 32 games since that date.

5. LG Twins

Last Week: 6
Record: 40-32-1
Run Differential: +55

The Lowdown: The Twins cleaned up against the two worst teams in the league this week, going 4-1 while outscoring their opponents by 32 runs to rise in these rankings for the second straight week. They've rebounded from an extended slump to go 9-3 over their last 12 games, though we shouldn't overreact to that run, as seven of those wins have come against the Eagles and Wyverns.

DFS Name to Know: Eun Sung Chae was demoted in late June to figure out his swing after slumping to a .344 OPS over a 13-game stretch, and it certainly seems to have worked, as he returned at the start of the week to hit .440 with two homers and an incredible 16 RBI over five games.

6. Kia Tigers

Last Week: 4
Record: 38-32
Run Differential: +25

The Lowdown: The Tigers continue to bounce around the middle tier of these rankings, falling as much due to strong weeks from the Wiz and Twins as due to their own struggles, though their 1-3 week against the Wiz and Giants wasn't impressive. They're entering a tough part of their schedule, with a pair of key series against the Twins sandwiching a matchup against the league-leading Dinos.

DFS Name to Know: Ji Wan Na's hitless day Sunday ended a nine-game hitting streak in which he'd posted a .469/.553/.594 slash line.

7. Lotte Giants

Last Week: 8
Record: 35-35
Run Differential: -4

The Lowdown: The Giants have won five of their last seven games, quite an impressive stretch given that those games have come against the Heroes, Dinos and Tigers. They still don't seem to have the talent to seriously push for a playoff spot, though they sit just three games back of the fifth-place Tigers and could strengthen their case if they can extend their surprising run.

DFS Name to Know: No Giant who has started more than one game has an ERA under 5.00 other than Dan Straily, but Se Woong Park has at least brought his ERA down to that mediocre mark and is emerging as a capable mid-rotation arm after posting a 3.66 ERA over his last six outings.

8. Samsung Lions

Last Week: 7
Record: 35-38
Run Differential: -7

The Lowdown: The Lions were ranked as high as fourth just two weeks ago, but they've fallen dramatically after losing eight of their last nine games. Their only win over that stretch was an extra-innings victory against the Eagles, so they'll need a fairly dramatic turnaround if they're to regain their status as a legitimate playoff contender.

DFS Name to Know: Chae Heung Choi has allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of his last six starts, posting a 2.67 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP even with his seven-run blowup against the Wiz included in that stretch.

9. SK Wyverns

Last Week: 9
Record: 24-49-1
Run Differential: -133

The Lowdown: The Wyverns followed a five-game undefeated streak with a five-game losing streak in which they looked thoroughly uncompetitive, getting outscored by an average of 10.2 runs per game. They remain fair closer to the anemic Eagles than to the rest of the league.

DFS Name to Know: Jeong Choi has hit .383/.475/.830 with six homers over his last 14 games, moving into second place on the KBO's all-time home run leaderboard with his latest blast Wednesday against the Twins, his 352nd of his career.

10. Hanwha Eagles

Last Week: 11
Record: 19-54-1
Run Differential: -176

The Lowdown: I had dropped the Eagles to 11th out of 10 following their eight-game losing streak, but their 2-2-1 record this week was practically dominant by their extremely low standards. While they now have one decent hitter and Brandon Barnes and a few starting pitchers who are occasionally capable of strong performances, it would still be a surprise if they even finished ninth in the standings.

DFS Name to Know: Shi Hwan Jang has allowed two or fewer runs in all but one of his last eight starts, posting a 2.76 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP and 9.5 K/9 over that stretch.

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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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