Sunday, April 11, 2010

Week 2 Power Rankings

Samsung Lions manager Seon Dong-yeol cheers as team comes in first in this week's power rankings.

I'll try to do these power rankings every week. I'll be posting them every Monday from now on, and it'll then be based on the games done before that week's Monday break. Weeks in Korea start on Mondays instead of the Sunday's we're used to. And this is Korea and Korean baseball so let's follow that.

First: Samsung Lions

Record in last 5 games (5-0)

Here's why the Samsung Lion's come in over the more popular Doosan Bears in this week's power rankings. Samsung won all their games, any ties? Nope, no ties. Lions sweeped a Nexxen team, that was holding its own early in the season (14-5 win, 4-5 loss, 5-0 win in previous Twins series). As a matter of fact, it's the Lions that turned the Heroes from early season upstarts to the non-playoff team they are now with the Lions' series win. Bae Young-su's looking like the prospect of old holding onto a 0.75 ERA (shares KBO lead with Kim Seon-woo), Jang Won-sam's got an equally awesome 1.20 ERA. And Yoon Seong-hwan's got 16 strikeouts, good enough to for 3rd in the KBO in that category. Park Suk-min and Lee Yong-ok have 18 hits apiece, and share the KBO lead in that category. This is the beat team in Korean baseball right now.

Second: Doosan Bears

Record in last 5 games (4-0, 1 tie)

Unbeaten this week, but that 1 tie against losing LG won't get you on the top of this week's rankings. Bears are playing very well now, but Doosan's lowest team ERA in games was 2.00, while Samsung kept their opponents at 1.00 in Samsung's best games. Kim Hyun-su is no longer the team's batting leader as he now only leads in runs scored, which really isn't a batting stat if you think about it. Not many Bears show up on the leader boards this week, Oh Jae-won has 4 stolen bases and Ko Young-min is the team's home run king with... 2 home runs. Kim Sun-woo's got a great ERA, leading the KBO with 0.75 (with Bae Young-su above), but he's 16th in the league in K's with 11. Casual KBO fans might be thinking Bears on top but KBO scholars such as ourselves see the Bears with holes.

Third: Kia Tigers

Record in last 5 games (2-3)

SK below had a better record, but Kia won their series with SK 2-1. Head to head, Kia was the better team this week. A tough week playing against SK and a surging Samsung Lions, Kia's wins this week weren't cheap by any means. Kia players aren't showing up much on leader boards, Kwak Jeong-chul is the only notable pitcher with a modest 14 strikeouts. Sitting second last in team BA (last is LG) and just forth in team ERA (powerful Doosan, Samsung, and SK are above them), it could be because of the tough teams they faced or there are problems. Next series is with 1st place Doosan and I don't think Kia will win this series.

Fourth: SK Wyverns

Record in last 5 games (3-2)

Finally took a limp Heroes team for the Wyverns to get back on track with things. Luckily for them, we're only counting the last 5 games for these rankings because they got blasted 8-0 by Doosan in last Sunday's game. But besides, that losing 2 games to the guys above will result in your team dropping 2 notches from last week, especially when it's the team above that beat you. It's still early, but struggles of both SK and Kia are visible. Good news for SK: no team earned runs 2 times (1 in a win over Kia and another in a win over the Heroes), and made 1 or less errors in all games counted for these rankings. Better news for SK: Kim Kwang-hyun pitched two relief innings and looked sharp. And reportedly, he will be starting this week.

Fifth: Hanhwa Eagles

Record in last 5 games (2-3)

Guess what, Hanhwa's not doing so bad. They are first in team batting with an impressive 331 team BA. They hit a very impressive 400 plus in two games and did not hit below 250 this week. The Eagles' 15-14 marathon win on Friday illustrates this teamas the talent-strapped grinders they are. They will fight for 5+ hours for a win if they can, but they will give up 14 runs and 27 hits to get there. I've seen too many easy throw outs not being thrown out from these guys to be certain they will be fighting for 6th or 7th place come August. Jang Won-sam is the accidental superstar of the moment leading the KBO with a very temporary 447 batting average. They play SK next and they will win a game or two in that series.

Sixth: Lotte Giants

Record in last 5 games (2-3)

They've won a few, and they scored 14 runs against the Eagles in the game mentioned above. Giants move from the basement to not such a bad, bad team in the span of a week. Sadowski's still winless and they're sitting dead last in team ERA rankings (574). But Hong Seong-heung, Lee Dae-ho and Karim Garcia aren't doing too bad. They also cut down their team errors to just 2 in their last 5 games (down from 10 counted last power rankings). It could just be a case of there's no place to go but up. They're next in Mok-dong in an exciting mid-week battle for second last place. They'll probably pass the disaster baton to the Heroes in front of Lotte's own fans on the Heroes' turf.

Seventh: LG Twins

Record in last 5 games (1-3, 1 tie)

Their 10-2 thrashing of the Giants on Thursday is the lone bright spot from their last 5 games. It's actually the anomaly. This team has been below average since opening Saturday. Their ace Bong Joong-geun's riding buses to his minor league games and Gonzales is on his last legs with no wins and a 10.70 ERA this season. There is no LG ranking top five in any category. LG is dead last in team batting (211) and second last in team ERA 5.65. And frustrating individual batting and pitching aren't worth spelling out here. They won a game and tied another and that's why they're not in the bottom of this week's power rankings.

Eighth: Nexxen Heroes

Record in last 5 games (0-5)

Winless in their last five, they're either the victims of the Lions who sweeped them or the Wyverns, who are currently sweeping them, or just a victim of themselves. Either way team ERA's for this team in their last 5 games read 7.00, 4.00, 6.75, 3.38, and 6.75. In so many words, they're giving up too many runs. Kang Gui-tae's euphoria after grand slam hitting his way to the top of the charts is now dead as he is 2 for 18 in this last 5 games. This is reflected in the whole team as they have team batted 248 in their last 5 games. In an early season where teams are scoring a lot of runs, all this spells disaster. The tsunami's moved from Busan to western Seoul. But fortunately, no one goes to Heroes games so nobody will die (3783 Saturday night, 2687 Friday night attendance).

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