KBO: Week 21 Power Rankings

KBO: Week 21 Power Rankings

This article is part of our KBO Power Rankings series.

We've got four weeks left in the regular season, and if this past week was any indication, there are still several twists and turns remaining the playoff race. The past week began with a tie at the top, as the Dinos' long slump saw them finally get caught by the Heroes. With the Heroes playing a full week against bottom-four teams, it sure looked like there would be a changing of the guard atop the standings. Instead, the Heroes won just two of those games, though they weren't punished all that much, as three other top-six teams failed to have a winning record. The Dinos were able to pull out to 2.5 games in front and are the clear top team in these power rankings, but there are four teams within 4.5 games of the Heroes in second. You could arrange the rest of the top six in many different ways, though I've chosen to keep the back half of that group in the same order as last week as all three similarly failed to impress.

1. NC Dinos

Last Week: 2
Record: 65-42-3
Run Differential: +138

The Lowdown: The Dinos appeared to be in trouble this time last week, as the Heroes had finally caught them in the standings following an extended run of mediocrity. Instead, in a week in which most of the contenders stumbled, the Dinos showed their quality by going a strong 5-2. Granted, five of those games came against bottom-four teams, but it's an encouraging sign nonetheless, especially with their pitchers allowing just 2.8 runs per game over their last six.

DFS Name to Know: Drew Rucinski struggled over a five-start stretch from late July through late August, posting a 7.33 ERA and a 1.89 WHIP, but he's back in form now, recording a 2.10 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP over his last four.

2. KT Wiz

Last Week: 3
Record: 63-47-1
Run Differential: +75

The Lowdown: The Wiz were the only contender other than the Dinos to have a winning week, going 5-1 to give them a 14-4 record over their last 18 games. They've been helped by going 7-0 against the Wyverns and Eagles over that stretch, though they're beating good teams too, going 5-3 against the Dinos, Heroes and Bears. They've been succeeding on both sides of the ball, scoring 5.9 runs per game while allowing 4.2 over those 18 contests.

DFS Name to Know: Jae Gyun Hwang has swung a very hot bat lately, posting a .390/.461/.636 slash line over his last 20 games while scoring 23 runs.

3. Kiwoom Heroes

Last Week: 1
Record: 67-49-1
Run Differential: +65

The Lowdown: This was supposed to be the week the Heroes made their move, as they played the first six games of their 10-game stretch against bottom-five teams. Instead, they lost both games to the Giants before splitting two-game sets with the Eagles and Lions. With Ha Seong Kim (back) and Dong Won Park (knee) suffering injuries over the weekend, adding to Byung Ho Park's season-ending finger fracture, their chances of making a quick rebound took a hit.

DFS Name to Know: Jake Brigham appears to be fully past his elbow issues, as he's allowed more than two runs just once in his last seven starts, a stretch in which he owns a 3.05 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP and a 10.2 K/9.

4. LG Twins

Last Week: 4
Record: 62-48-3
Run Differential: +97

The Lowdown: The Twins don't really deserve to hold onto their spot after going 3-3 in a week where they played four games against bottom-four teams, but neither of the teams just below them deserve to move up a spot, either. To be fair to them, they did outscore their opponents by 13 runs this past week, and they now rank second in run scoring and first in run prevention, but they're nevertheless stuck in one of their all-too-frequent slumps, winning just four of their last 12 games.

DFS Name to Know: Eun Sung Chae returned from a side injury to go 5-for-8 over the weekend, building off the .343/.393/.505 line he produced in his last 25 games before he got hurt.

5. Doosan Bears

Last Week: 5
Record: 59-49-4
Run Differential: +69

The Lowdown: The Bears should be making a run right about now, as they have the deepest rotation they've had all year. Their offense is suddenly struggling, however, as they've managed just 3.9 runs per game over their last 10 contests, a stretch in which they've gone just 3-6-1. They went just 2-4 this past week, and while all six of those games came against playoff teams, the Bears need to actually beat those teams if they're to have a shot at making their sixth straight Korean Series.

DFS Name to Know: Chris Flexen looks healthy after missing nearly two months with a broken foot, as he reached 93 pitches in his most recent start and has allowed just three earned runs in eight innings since his return, striking out 11 while walking three.

6. Kia Tigers

Last Week: 6
Record: 59-50
Run Differential: +16

The Lowdown: The Tigers had a great chance to move into a playoff spot this week, as they faced exclusively bottom-three teams while the Bears struggled to a 2-4 record against playoff sides. Instead, they managed just a .500 record against those bottom-tier teams, making up just one of the 1.5 games that separated them from the final playoff spot. While they're still very much in the race, this feels like a major missed opportunity, especially as 10 of their next 12 games come against playoff teams.

DFS Name to Know: 36-year-old Hyung Woo Choi has shown no signs of fading down the stretch, hitting .373/.434/.731 with five homers, 16 runs and 18 RBI over his last 17 games.

7. Lotte Giants

Last Week: 7
Record: 56-53-1
Run Differential: +4

The Lowdown: The Giants had an encouraging week, going a respectable 4-3 against the Heroes, Twins and Dinos. They're still very much underdogs in the playoff race, but the fact that they're just 3.5 games out with four weeks to play after finishing last in the league in 2019 (8.5 games back of the ninth-place Eagles and 24.5 games out of the playoffs) is very encouraging.

DFS Name to Know: After opening the year with a 6.08 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP in his first eight starts, Se Woong Park has a 3.22 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP in his last 14 trips to the mound, giving up more than three earned runs just twice and never allowing more than four.

8. Samsung Lions

Last Week: 8
Record: 50-60-1
Run Differential: -44

The Lowdown: The Lions are playing for pride at this point, as they're now 10 games out of the playoffs. A 2-4 showing against the Wiz, Tigers and Heroes isn't the worst performance in that regard, though it was a week to forget for their pitching staff, which allowed double-digit runs in three straight games. It hasn't really been a season of progress for the Lions, who look very likely to finish eighth for the second consecutive season. 

DFS Name to Know: Dong Yeop Kim was bad enough early in the year that he was demoted twice, but he's hit an excellent .391/.415/.687 with nine homers in 35 games since his return, including a ridiculous .500/.500/.947 line with five homers over his last nine contests.

9. Hanwha Eagles

Last Week: 10
Record: 32-78-2
Run Differential: -233

The Lowdown: The Eagles had one of their best weeks of the season, going 3-3 with wins over three contenders in the Twins, Heroes and Tigers. That ties their best record in a week this season, though that says far more about how their season has gone than anything else. Still, if they keep playing like this down the stretch, they have an chance to close the 4.5-game gap that separates them from the Wyverns and finish in ninth. 

DFS Name to Know: Min Woo Kim has allowed more than three runs just once in his last 10 starts, posting a 3.68 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP over that stretch while striking out 50 batters in 51.1 innings.

9. SK Wyverns

Last Week: 9
Record: 38-75-1
Run Differential: -187

The Lowdown: The Wyverns followed up an 11-game losing streak with a six-game winning streak, but they've now followed that up with a new losing streak, which currently sits at four games. That win streak looks less impressive when considering that all six games came against bottom-five teams, however. The last time the Wyverns beat a team that's currently in the playoffs was all the way back on Aug. 13 against the Wiz. The Wiz weren't a playoff team at the time, though. The last time the Wyverns defeated a team that was in the top five at the time of the game came way back on July 19 against the Heroes.

DFS Name to Know: Seung Won Moon has rebounded from a slightly rocky stretch with two excellent starts, posting a 12:0 K:BB while allowing a single run on eight hits in 11 innings.

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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.
KBO Chats LIVE: October 19, 2020
KBO Chats LIVE: October 19, 2020
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