This article is part of our KBO Power Rankings series.
An extended slump by the Dinos, who have lost 11 of their last 15 games, has made the KBO standings as close as they've been since very early in the year. While they still hold onto the top spot by an incredibly narrow half-game margin, they'd already lost the top spot in these rankings last week, and they fall still further heading into the 16th week of the season as they continue to struggle. The resurgent Twins continue to shoot up the rankings as they're finally beating good teams in addition to beating up on the basement-dwellers, while there's been plenty of movement throughout the middle of the pack as well. We're now entering a portion of the schedule where teams play three two-game series per week, so there's a potential for more movement in the coming weeks as the top teams have more chances to face each other.
1. Kiwoom Heroes
Last Week: 1
Run Differential: +75
The Lowdown: The Heroes' week was nothing special, as they ook two of three from a pair of bottom-half teams in the Giants and Eagles, but the Dinos' continued struggles mean their spot atop these rankings is safer than it was a week ago. The Heroes could claim the top spot in the standings as well as soon as Tuesday, as they're heading into a tough week with two-game sets against the Dinos, Twins and Tigers, though they could hardly be entering that stretch at a better time as they've won 14 of their last 18 games.
DFS Name to Know: With a .360/.422/.599 slash line, Jung Hoo Lee remains the only player not named Mel Rojas Jr. to have a quadruple digit OPS, and his walkoff homer Wednesday gave him 13 on the season, more than doubling his previous career high of six.
2. LG Twins
Last Week: 5
Run Differential: +75
The Lowdown: This is quite the jump for the Twins, but it's hard not to move them above the Dinos, a team they swept and swept easily, winning all three games by a total score of 29-13. They've gone 17-7 over the past month, winning series against the Bears, Tigers (twice) and Dinos over that stretch, with a series loss against the top-ranked Heroes their only blemish.
DFS Name to Know: Eun Sung Chae has been on fire ever since returning from a brief demotion to sort out his swing, hitting .432 with four homers and an incredible 30 RBI in the 17 games since his return.
3. NC Dinos
Last Week: 2
Run Differential: +107
The Lowdown: The Dinos are in free fall, slipping for the second straight week after previously holding down the top spot in every edition since these rankings debuted back in May. While they still hold a very narrow lead atop the actual standings, it would take a dramatic reversal of their recent fortunes for that to remain true this time next week, as they've gone an awful 4-11 over their last 15 games.
DFS Name to Know: While the Dinos as a whole are struggling, Sung Bum Na has been as good as ever lately, hitting .382/.462/.706 with two homers in his last eight games, tying him for third in the league with 20 homers.
4. KT Wiz
Last Week: 4
Run Differential: +28
The Lowdown: The Wiz were leapfrogged by the charging Twins this week but hold onto their number four spot after moving ahead of the defending champion Bears by taking two of three from them over the weekend. They're still not in an actual playoff spot, trailing the Tigers for the fifth spot by a game and a half, but they've played like a playoff team for two full months now, going 29-16 since June 16.
DFS Name to Know: 18-year-old Hyeong Jun So has allowed a total of just five earned runs over his last five starts, posting a 1.52 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP over that stretch, though his modest 21 strikeouts in 29.2 innings suggests we shouldn't anoint him the next big thing just yet.
5. Doosan Bears
Last Week: 4
Run Differential: +43
The Lowdown: The Bears slip in these rankings yet again and now look firmly like a playoff bubble team after a long run of generally unconvincing performances. They've gone just 7-10-2 over their last 19 games and 19-20-2 over their last 41 contests. A week of games against a pair of bottom-half teams in the Giants and Wyverns could be what they need to turn things around, though they've played exclusively bottom-half sides over the last two weeks and have gone just 4-5-2 over that stretch.
DFS Name to Know: Raul Alcantara finally allowed three runs for the first time since late June Friday against the Heroes, but he's still riding a streak of 12 straight quality starts, posting a 2.02 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP over that stretch.
6. Kia Tigers
Last Week: 7
Run Differential: +24
The Lowdown: Very little separates spots four through seven in these rankings, but I've chosen to move the Tigers up a spot this week, due as much to the Giants' stumble as to their own strong week, as teams don't deserve a ton of credit for sweeping the Wyverns these days. The fact that the Tigers scored a total of 25 runs in that weekend series is an encouraging sign, as it's their weak lineup which will be to blame if they fail to earn a playoff spot, but again, that came against the Wyverns.
DFS Name to Know: Last year's third-place MVP finisher Hyun Jong Yang is finally showing signs of turning the corner, posting a 3.81 ERA, a 1.34 WHIP and an impressive 10.8 K/9 over his last five starts, lowering his ERA from an awful 6.31 to a still-poor 5.57.
7. Lotte Giants
Last Week: 6
Run Differential: +10
The Lowdown: There's no shame in going 2-3 against the Dinos and Heroes, but that's enough for the Giants to fall by one spot. It remains impressive that they're even within striking distance of a playoff spot after finish last, 24.5 games out of the playoffs, in 2019, and there's a chance they could hang in the race a bit longer with four upcoming games against the slumping Bears followed by two-game sets against the Lions and Wyverns.
DFS Name to Know: Dan Straily hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last eight starts, posting a 1.57 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP over that stretch, though that barely counts as a hot streak, as he's given up more than two in earned runs in just two of his 18 starts overall this year, posting a 2.04 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.
8. Samsung Lions
Last Week: 8
Run Differential: -7
The Lowdown: The Lions went a respectable 3-3 this week, but when two of those wins come against the Eagles, there's little reason to move them up the rankings. They're still not completely out of the playoff race, but it's hard to see them closing the five-game gap on the Tigers (while also vaulting over the Wiz and Giants) with a team that ranks in the bottom five in both scoring and preventing runs.
DFS Name to Know: Dong Yeop Kim has just a part-time role at the moment, but that role could begin to increase soon as he's hit .444/.483/1.000 with four homers in his last eight games.
9. Hanwha Eagles
Last Week: 9
Run Differential: -191
The Lowdown: The Eagles remain in ninth this week, though it's not as if they played well, going 2-4 against the Lions and Heroes. The Wyverns won just two games as well, so I see little reason to flip-flop the teams at this point, but that could change next week with the two sides meeting for a two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday.
DFS Name to Know: Finding positive things to say about the Eagles is quite difficult, though it's worth noting that two of Chad Bell's three starts since he returned from the injured list have been good ones, in which he allowed a combined two runs in 11 innings while striking out nine.
10. SK Wyverns
Last Week: 10
Run Differential: -150
The Lowdown: The Wyverns somewhat surprisingly beat the Wiz twice in their mid-week matchup, scoring double-digit runs in both games, but that evidently wasn't the start of a dramatic turnaround, as they proceeded to get swept by the mediocre Tigers over the weekend. They've now given up the most runs per game in the league, ending the Eagles' long stranglehold on the last-place spots in both runs score and runs allowed.
DFS Name to Know: Jeong Choi appears to be emerging from a slump, grabbing a hit in all six games last week, posting a .333/.464/.524 slash line over that stretch while hitting his 19th homer, tying him for sixth in the league.