KBO: Week 25 Power Rankings

KBO: Week 25 Power Rankings

This article is part of our KBO Power Rankings series.

KBO daily fantasy contests may have gone away temporarily over at DraftKings, though that doesn't appear to be a permanent move, so KBO coverage continues here on RotoWire. We have just two weeks left of regular-season games, with the postseason set to start soon after the MLB's World Series ends, filling the gap quite nicely for baseball fans. We have quite an interesting stretch run ahead of us. Regularly scheduled games have been completed, but the KBO tacks on two weeks worth of rainout makeup games at the end of the schedule, a period we're now entering. There will be games Tuesday through Sunday this week and Tuesday through Friday the following week, though not every day will be a full slate, as not every team has an equal number of games remaining. The Heroes, who play in the league's only dome, have just one game this Friday and one game the next, while the Tigers and Giants both have 10 games remaining.

The regular-season title is all but decided, with the Dinos' magic number sitting at three with eight games to play. The five playoff teams are all but decided as well, with the fifth-place Bears leading the Tigers by 5.5 games and the Giants by six, giving them the same magic number of three with seven games remaining. Just a game and a half separates the second-place Twins from those same Bears, however. With the KBO's playoff system set up to give advantages for each spot a team rises in the standings, there's plenty to play for in the final few games for the Twins, Wiz, Heroes and Bears. Those four will play each other a total of just four times the rest of the way, making for easily the biggest four games remaining on the schedule.

1. NC Dinos

Last Week: 2
Record: 80-52-4
Run Differential: +167

The Lowdown: I moved the Dinos behind the Twins last week, as they were slumping while the Twins had suddenly gotten hot, but with both teams going a mediocre 3-3 this past week it felt right to move the team that's been the best in the league over the course of the season back to the top spot. They're hardly cruising into the postseason, having gone just 3-8 over their last 11 games, but they've almost clinched the top spot and the bye straight to the Korean Series that it comes with, so any momentum they could have theoretically carried would be wiped away by an extended break. They could clinch first place as soon as Wednesday.

DFS Name to Know: Min Woo Park has homered just eight times all season, but four of those have come in his last eight games, part of a 10-game hitting streak in which he's hitting .439.

2. LG Twins

Last Week: 1
Record: 77-59-3
Run Differential: +105

The Lowdown: The Twins carried a six-game winning streak into this past week but went just 3-3 against a pair of bottom-five teams in the Tigers and Giants. They've been without two of their three foreign players, Tyler Wilson (elbow) and Roberto Ramos (ankle), for nearly two weeks, with at least Wilson expected to miss the remainder of the regular season, if not more. They're still deep on both sides of the ball, with five healthy regulars owning an OPS north of .800 and four healthy starters owning an ERA of 4.00 or better, but getting those two back could help close the gap that separates them from the Dinos.

DFS Name to Know: Casey Kelly has thrown 13 scoreless innings while allowing just four hits over his last two starts, giving him 12 quality starts in his last 13 outings, a stretch in which he owns a 1.88 ERA and an 0.92 WHIP.

3. Kiwoom Heroes

Last Week: 5
Record: 79-62-1
Run Differential: +65

The Lowdown: The Heroes move up two spots this week after taking two out of three against both the teams that were directly above them, the Wiz and Bears. They have just two games remaining, both against the Bears, so exactly where they end up in the final standings is mostly out of their hands. They can at least take comfort in the fact that if they do wind up in the two-game series between the fourth and fifth seeds, their top two starters (Eric Jokisch and Jake Brigham) could well be the best one-two punch in the league.

DFS Name to Know: Jung Hoo Lee went hitless in seven of his first nine games in October, but he has seven hits in his last five, including three doubles. He's hit 49 doubles this season, a KBO record.

4. Doosan Bears

Last Week: 3
Record: 74-59-4
Run Differential: +119

The Lowdown: The Bears swept the Eagles (a team that has been surprisingly tough for them to beat this year) before dropping two of three to the Heroes, though they now have the second-best run differential in the league after outscoring their opponents by a combined 20 runs over those six games. That gives a sense of how much talent the defending champions have. The veteran core of their lineup has made it to five straight Korean Series together, and they finally have enough pitchers throwing well after some early struggles, allowing just 3.1 runs per game over their last 15.

DFS Name to Know: Raul Alcantara has won five straight starts to improve to 18-2 on the season, allowing a total of just five earned runs over that stretch while posting a 1.35 ERA, a 0.81 WHIP and a 38:4 K:BB.

5. KT Wiz

Last Week: 4
Record: 76-59-1
Run Differential: +71

The Lowdown: The Wiz sat second in these rankings just two weeks ago, and they certainly haven't been terrible since then, going 6-6. They slip a spot here after losing two of three to the Heroes, as taking two of three from the lowly Wyverns doesn't move the needle much. Still, very little separates them from teams two through four in these rankings, and any playoff series involving two of that group will be quite close to a 50-50 proposition. Just getting to the playoffs is a victory for the Wiz, who have failed to finish higher than sixth in their first five seasons as a franchise.

DFS Name to Know: Rookie Hyeong Jun So owned a 6.65 ERA through his first nine career starts, but he suddenly flipped a switch when the calendar hit July and has now rattled off 14 straight starts in which he's allowed no more than three earned runs, allowing two or fewer in 13 of those contests.

6. Kia Tigers

Last Week: 6
Record: 69-65
Run Differential: -51

The Lowdown: The Tigers and Giants both went 3-3 against a pair of playoff teams, so there's little reason to adjust their positions this week. The Tigers will need a miracle over the final two weeks if they're to sneak back into a playoff spot, though it many ways it would be a successful campaign if they can just manage to finish above .500, something they've only done once in the last seven years (in 2017, when they finished first in the league and went on to defeat the Bears for the title).

DFS Name to Know: Reports surfaced this past week that 32-year-old lefty Hyun Jong Yang would attempt to make the jump to MLB as a free agent this offseason. He's rebounded from an awful start to the season to post a 2.64 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP over his last 13 outings.

7. Lotte Giants

Last Week: 7
Record: 68-65-1
Run Differential: +48

The Lowdown: The Giants have hung around the fringes of the playoff race all season, but they've failed to make a late run, going 5-7 over the last two weeks. Like the Tigers, however, it's been a successful season regardless of where exactly they finish, as they've made the playoffs just once in the last seven years and finished last in the entire league in 2019. Simply being in the race all year is a huge step forward, though a lot of that rests on the right arm of Dan Straily, who could be looking to return stateside on the back of his excellent campaign.

DFS Name to Know: Straily struck out 18 and walked just three while giving up three runs in 12 innings over two starts this past week, giving him a 2.58 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP on the season.

8. Samsung Lions

Last Week: 8
Record: 61-73-4
Run Differential: -60

The Lowdown: Unlike the teams above them, the Lions can't really consider this a season of growth, as they're set to finish eighth for the second straight year and set to finish with a losing record for the fifth year in a row. A big gap separates them from the teams above them, so their solid 4-2-1 record this week doesn't come close to moving them up a spot, especially as it came against the bottom two teams in the league.

DFS Name to Know: Chae Heung Choi owns a 0.96 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP over his last three starts, giving him a 3.69 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP on the season.

9. SK Wyverns

Last Week: 10
Record: 48-89-1
Run Differential: -208

The Lowdown: I had the Wyverns in 10th in these rankings for the past several weeks and thought there was a good chance that the Eagles could pass them in the standings by the end of the season. That seems unlikely now, as the Wyverns sit four games above them in the ninth spot with just six games to play, as they went a respectable 3-3 in a week in which the Eagles went winless. Still, it's been a tremendously disappointing season in Incheon, as the Wyverns finished second in the standings in each of the two previous years.

DFS Name to Know: Jeong Choi has hit six homers in his last 13 games, giving him 31 on the season, tying him for third in the league and representing the fourth-best mark of his 16-year career.

10. Hanwha Eagles

Last Week: 9
Record: 43-92-3
Run Differential: -256

The Lowdown: The Eagles managed just a single tie from seven games this week, getting beat three times by both the Bears and Lions. Outplaying anyone, even the Wyverns, by four games over their final six seems like an impossible task for the Eagles, so they're almost certain to finish last in the league. They'll miss the playoffs for the 12th time in the last 13 years and will finish last for the sixth time in that stretch.

DFS Name to Know: Brandon Barnes' numbers are starting to become more respectable following a rough start to his KBO career, as he's hit .300 with three homers over his last eight games, dragging his season slash line up to a still unimpressive .244/.323/.395.

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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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