KBO: Week 19 Power Rankings

KBO: Week 19 Power Rankings

This article is part of our KBO Power Rankings series.

The KBO made it through another week despite South Korea's rising number of COVID-19 cases putting the league in apparent peril. That's quite fortunate, as we have a rather exciting pennant race on our hands, and it would be quite a shame to see it interrupted. The Dinos, Twins and Heroes are all separated by no more than a game and a half at the top of the standings with six weeks left to play. Meanwhile, there's now a 2.5-game gap between the final two playoff teams (the Bears and Wiz) and the Tigers in the sixth spot, though there's still plenty of time for the Tigers to close that gap. Even the Giants, who sit 5.5 games out of the race in seventh, are one hot streak away from being right back in the race. The bottom three teams appear to be playing for pride at this point.

1. LG Twins

Last Week: 3
Record: 58-40-3
Run Differential: +107

The Lowdown: The Twins move into first place in these rankings for the first time all season, though they're still a game out of first in the standings. While the Heroes and Dinos have gone winless in their last three and four games, respectively, the Twins haven't lost any of their last nine, outscoring their opponents by a score of 56-32 over that stretch. They've beaten some good teams over that stretch, too, defeating the Wiz twice and recording a win and a tie against both the Dinos and Bears.

DFS Name to Know: Hyun Soo Kim is riding a six-game hitting streak and owns an excellent .403/.506/.627 slash line over his last 18 contests.

2. KT Wiz

Last Week: 4
Record: 55-43-1
Run Differential: +75

The Lowdown: Two weeks ago, I moved the Wiz up to second place, and they rewarded my faith by winning just two of their next six games. I moved them back down two spots last week, and they responded to that skepticism by winning six straight. Granted, just two of those wins came against playoff teams, but they have to be above the Heroes after sweeping their two-game set by a combined 16-8 score. Their turnaround remains remarkable, as they sat nine games under .500 and 13 games back of the Dinos 35 games into the season but have outplayed the league leaders by nine games since that point.

DFS Name to Know: Mel Rojas Jr. appeared to be fully back after a few cold weeks, hitting .522/.607/1.130 with four homers in his last six games.

3. Kiwoom Heroes

Last Week: 1
Record: 61-44
Run Differential: +67

The Lowdown: If the Dinos had won more than one game this past week, the Heroes likely would have fallen all the way down to fourth, but the league leader's poor week means the Heroes only drop two spots here. Still, things aren't going well for the Heroes at the moment, as they've gone a modest 7-8 over their last 15 games after dropping three straight, including one against the lowly Eagles and two more against the surging Wiz even with Jake Brigham and Eric Jokisch on the mound.

DFS Name to Know: Ha Seong Kim has remained hot even while most of his teammates have gone cold, hitting .406/.500/.594 over his last 17 games while adding six steals.

4. NC Dinos

Last Week: 2
Record: 57-37-3
Run Differential: +114

The Lowdown: The Dinos' fourth-place spot in these power rankings despite their first-place spot in the standings may come across as more dramatic than intended, as the gap between them and the first-place Twins is quite small. The league leaders are just one strong week away from moving right back into the top spot, though they haven't looked capable of doing that in quite some time. Dating back to Aug. 1, they're just 3-11-1 against teams that currently occupy a playoff spot.

DFS Name to Know: Eui Ji Yang has seven multi-hit games in his last 11, hitting .463/.500/.854 with four homers and 12 RBI over that stretch.

5. Doosan Bears

Last Week: 5
Record: 55-43-3
Run Differential: +68

The Lowdown: The Bears had yet another mediocre week, playing five games against the bottom three teams in the league but managing a modest three wins. They were 11 games over .500 when Chris Flexen broke his foot on July 16, and they've been just a single game over .500 since that point. They simply need to pitch far better if they're to have any real shot at extending their streak of consecutive Korean Series appearances to six.

DFS Name to Know: Former closer Duk Joo Ham is worth keeping an eye on as he returns to the rotation, as he allowed just one hit and zero walks in six scoreless innings against the Wyverns on Sunday in his first start since 2017.

6. Kia Tigers

Last Week: 7
Record: 53-46
Run Differential: +5

The Lowdown: The Tigers move back into sixth place after going 5-1 over the past week, though it's probably not worth getting overly excited, as none of those games came against playoff teams. Still, a good week from their formerly strong pitching staff is an encouraging sight, as they allowed no more than four runs in any of their five victories. They're in for a much tougher test this week, as they face the Twins, Bears and Dinos, and they'll likely need to go at least 3-3 if not 4-2 to remain in the playoff race.

DFS Name to Know: Aaron Brooks struggled to a 5.89 ERA in his final three August starts, but he's bounced back to allow just one run on seven hits in 15 innings over his first two starts this month, striking out 15 without walking a batter.

7. Lotte Giants

Last Week: 6
Record: 48-47-1
Run Differential: 0

The Lowdown: The Giants fall back down by a spot after winning just one of their past five games. While it's certainly impressive to see them still on the outskirts of the playoff race this late into the season after finishing last in the league last season (24.5 games out of the final playoff spot), their fifth-ranked pitching staff hasn't been enough to overcome their seventh-ranked lineup and turn them into a true contender.

DFS Name to Know: Adrian Sampson hasn't had a very good debut season in Korea overall, but he's now riding a streak of three straight quality starts, posting a 0.95 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP over that stretch.

8. Samsung Lions

Last Week: 8
Record: 46-52-1
Run Differential: -28

The Lowdown: There's probably a case for moving the Lions up to seventh, as they're riding a three-game winning streak against a pair of good teams in the Bears and Dinos. It's going to take more than three wins for me to forget that they went 3-10 over their previous 13 games and 9-22-1 over their previous 32, though they could have the chance to string some more wins together, as their next five games come against the Eagles and Giants. It's probably far too late for them to make up the nine games that separate them from the final playoff spot, however.

DFS Name to Know: Ja Wook Koo appears to be pulling out of his slump, hitting safely in seven straight games, posting a .407/.448/.704 slash line with a pair of homers over that stretch.

9. Hanwha Eagles

Last Week: 10
Record: 27-71-1
Run Differential: -227

The Lowdown: It doesn't really matter which order I decide to put the Eagles and Wyverns in, as both have been similarly awful throughout the year and are considerably worse than the rest of the league. The Eagles move back up to ninth this week, as they at least managed to win one game (against a good Heroes team, no less), something the Wyverns haven't managed to do in any of their last nine contests.

DFS Name to Know: Yong Kyu Lee still has just one homer all season, but it's hard to complain about his .379/.471/.466 slash line over his last 15 games.

10. SK Wyverns

Last Week: 9
Record: 32-69-1
Run Differential: -181

The Lowdown: The Wyverns still sit 3.5 games above the Eagles in the standings, but there's a strong case to be made that they've been the worst team for quite some time. They've now lost nine straight games and have gone 8-25 over their last 33 games. The Eagles have gone 10-19 over that same stretch.

DFS Name to Know: Jamie Romak has played some of his best baseball of the season recently even as the Wyverns have struggled, hitting .372/.457/.667 with six homers and 22 RBI in his last 22 games.

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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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