After another week of play in the KBO, trends are becoming more clear, and the talent levels of teams are somewhat more apparent. For the most part, week two reinforced what we saw in week one, with no team moving more than two spots up or down in the rankings. The extremes of high and low were on display in the series between the Dinos and Wyverns that concluded on Sunday, as the Dinos asserted themselves in their tenth win in 11 games played and the Wyverns, who tied for the best record in the league last season, slid to their tenth loss in the first 11 games of a season that they’d surely like to start over. This week, rankings were voted on by ten voters for a maximum of 100 points for each team. Teams are listed along with their overall record, their record in week two, and their movement up or down from the previous week.
1. NC Dinos (100 points; 10-1 Record, 6-0 Week 2; -0)
After a first week in which the Dinos appeared to be among the stronger teams in the league, the team now looks to be the strongest. Boasting a +31 run differential, the Dinos are averaging nearly three more runs scored than their opponents in each game. Chang-mo Koo, having not allowed a run yet this season in 14 IP, leads the way for a pitching staff that has a 3.45 ERA as a whole, and Min-woo Park’s ridiculous 2.1 percent strikeout rate so far has helped him to a team high 193 wRC+ as part of a strong offense. The Dinos have played only one team with a winning record so far, so their strength of schedule to this point is questionable, but they’ll start out week three against the defending champion Bears, currently 7-4, and follow that with a series against the Eagles.
2. Lotte Giants (79 Points; 7-4 Record, 2-4 Week 2; ↓1)
After going undefeated in week one, the Giants hit a bump in week two, losing both of their series against the Bears and Eagles. Still, the Giants have one of the league’s most balanced offenses to this point, with six different players posting a wRC+ of 140 or better, but the pitching has been more inconsistent, allowing 11, nine, and seven runs in their three games against the Bears. Still, the Giants have the league’s second best run differential at +14 and largely kept their losses close in week two, and they still look to be a strong team. The Giants will face the Heroes, followed by the Tigers, in week three.
3. Doosan Bears (78 Points; 7-4 Record, 4-2 Week 2; ↑1)
The Bears made a statement against the previously undefeated Giants to open a week of two series wins. Jose Miguel Fernandez and Jae-il Oh have been the leaders of a formidable offense that averaged over eight runs scored per game in week two, but the pitching has continued to look shaky for the Bears. The team currently has both the most runs scored and allowed in the league. The Bears will open week three with an opportunity to assert themselves against the Dinos and then travel to play the Lions to close out the week.
4. Kiwoom Heroes (73 Points; 7-4 Record, 2-3 Week 2; ↓1)
The Heroes, like the Giants, slid a bit in week two after a strong week one performance. The team lost a series against the Lions, and split a rain-shortened two game set with the Twins. They’ve kept games fairly close, but will need more offensively from players other than Jung-hoo Lee; his 192 wRC+ is by far the highest on the team, with no other player exceeding a 120 mark. The Heroes will host the sputtering Wyverns to open week three before traveling to play the Giants in what should be a well-contested series to close out the week.
5. LG Twins (68 Points; 6-4 Record, 4-1 Week 2; ↑1)
The Twins have suffered the unfortunate fate of being the league’s only team to have two games postponed already, but still made a statement in week two to come out with a winning record on the season. The team will need more from its pitching staff moving forward, as no qualified Twins pitcher has an ERA under 5. More than anything, the Twins are hoping for more consistency moving forward, and the momentum they gained in week two can only help that. The Twins will look to carry that momentum and separate themselves against two teams with losing records in week three, visiting the Lions for a series before coming home to face the Wiz.
6. KIA Tigers (45 Points; 5-7 Record, 3-3 Week 2; ↑1)
The Tigers have hardly been stellar so far, but came out of week two no worse than week one after capturing two one run wins from the Eagles and winning a game against the Bears as well. Still, if the Tigers are truly looking to contend, their -18 run differential, good for second worst in the league, is cause for concern, and the Tigers haven’t excelled on either side of the ball. Preston Tucker is the league’s hottest hitter after two weeks, but he won’t maintain a 1.421 OPS forever, and the rest of the offense is nothing to write home about. The Tigers open up week three with a tough series at home against the Giants, then travel to play the Wyverns to close out the week.
7. Hanhwa Eagles (40 Points; 5-7 Record, 3-3 Week 2; ↓2)
The Eagles may not have a great record so far, but they’re the champions of one thing: low-scoring games. The team’s 3.5 ERA is second best in the league, with Warwick Saupold, Yi-hwan Kim, and Min-woo Kim all posting ERAs under 2 in 22, 11, and 18.1 innings pitched respectively. The offense has been the second worst in the league, though, scoring barely over three runs per game. Hanwha will be on the road for all of week three, opening up against the Wiz and then traveling to play the Dinos.
8. KT Wiz (33 Points; 4-7 Record, 3-3 Week 2; ↓1)
After week one it seemed as though the Wiz were underperforming given their talent level, and again this seems to be the case after week two. Despite the league’s third worst record, the Wiz have the third best run differential, a frustrating contradiction that leaves them with nowhere to go but up. While a somewhat disastrous bullpen has dragged the team down thus far, a sweep of the Lions has finally given the team both wins and impetus, and they have an opportunity to turn things around for good in week three. The Wiz open the week at home against the Eagles before traveling to play the Twins in the week’s second half.
9. Samsung Lions (25 Points; 4-8 Record, 2-4 Week 2; -0)
The struggles of the Lions from week one have continued through week two, as the team posted a 2-4 record for the second week in a row. The Lions did win a series against the Heroes to open the week, a strong showing, but turned around to get swept at the hands of the Wiz. Neither the offense nor pitching has been great, and a -17 run differential is hardly good news for a team that’s hoping for better things to come. The Lions will play at home for all of week three, but have a tough slate hosting the Twins followed by the Bears.
10. SK Wyverns (10 Points; 1-10 Record, 0-6 Week 2; ↓1)
The Wyverns have looked downright anemic to start 2020. After winning only one game in the first week, the team had an even worse second week, suffering consecutive sweeps to the Twins and Dinos. A staggering -37 run differential is all the indictment necessary of this team so far, and this is driven especially by an offense that has barely managed three runs per game. The Wyverns will look to turn their fate around on the road against the Heroes, and then at home facing the Tigers.
Series to watch in week three:
Dinos @ Bears (Tuesday-Thursday): Two of the strongest teams in the league so far meet up, with the Bears looking to continue their strong week two performance and unseat the Dinos as the hottest team in the league.
Wiz @ Twins (Friday-Sunday): Two teams that have seemed to under-perform their talent so far will match up, with the Wiz looking to recover from their shaky start and the Twins hoping to prove they belong among the league’s best squads.
Heroes @ Giants (Friday-Sunday): Two of the league’s best teams from week one struggled in week two, and this clash between them will be a chance for each team to regain their footing and capture momentum moving deeper into the season.