Monday, April 16, 2012

Week 1 Power Rankings

This is the first Power Ranking of the season. The KBO "week" starts on Tuesdays and ends on Sundays, with each team playing 2 series each within these weeks. The first Ranking of the season includes the opening weekend 2 game series as well. Tuesday's games were rained out, however.

1. SK Wyverns (6-1)

SK got it done this week with its pitching. Although it wasn't absolutely dominant, they only let in more than 2 runs once (Sunday's 11-6 win over Hanhwa). New import Mario Santiago pitched twice and now sports a nice 1-0, 0.75. This ERA is the lowest in the league for anyone with an ERA. (There are a number of pitchers that have not yet let in any runs after starting games.)

2. Lotte Giants (4-2-1)

Showing power even with the loss of Lee Dae-ho, their team BA .312 is the best in the league. So is their 81 hits and .385 slugging percentage. They seem to be in need of some plate discipline as their 12 drawn walks is by far the worst in the league, especially when compared to pace setters Kia which has 32.

3. LG Twins (4-3)

Answering their critics of last year by sweeping the two game opening series against defending champions Samsung, LG split the rained out two game set against Hanhwa and managed to win the rubber match of their weekend series against fellow pressure team Kia. 40 year old reliever Ryu Taek-hyun is the star of the staff with a 2-0, 2.08. Ben Jukich will be looking to settle down after 2 inconsistent starts this week.

4. Doosan Bears (3-3-1)

Doosan is thankful to finish the week within the early playoff picture. They are inconsistent in what they are good at and seem to be looking for an identity early in the season. Sophomore import Dustin Nippert is looking to settle down and Korea noob Scott Proctor is looking to get some innings in. A team with a quiet off season and the pressure of yearly playoff appearances behind them, it is up to them to determine their fate this season.

5. Samsung Lions (3-4)

Korean Series hangover? They started the regular week off showing what they are capable of on Wednesday after an uninspiring opening weekend: Yoon Sung-hwan going 7 and striking out 8. Unfortunately, the cats ran into an equally determined Kia team lead by Yoon Suk-min who pitched even better with 8 innings and 11 K's. Samsung lost that game and then pounced on a lesser man the next day as Park Gyung-tae and 6 relievers were throttled for 10 runs in a 10-2 win. Mitch Talbot debuted in that game and the Lions are within playoff positioning after winning their weekend series against Nexen.

6. Kia Tigers (3-4)

Their record is the same as Samsung but this is no Samsung Lions. Kia lost their opening weekend series to a determined SK team and sputtered the rest of the week besides the dominant Yoon Suk-min appearance on Wednesday. Especially worrying is their offense. Their 0.224 batting average is last in the league and their 52 hits are only better than Nexen's 51. Their overall pitching is also poor with their 4.79 team ERA only held up by Hanhwa from the cold bottom of that stat column.

7. Nexen Heroes (3-4)

Nexen will be Nexen seemingly, win here and there but lose most of the time. Their 3 and 4 is equal to the above two but with low stats and no prospects, there isn't any reason for them to be looked at higher than Samsung and Kia. Even when Nexen does win, its usually a sloppy affair where both teams are off their games. Case in point would be their 10-7 Sunday win over Samsung. This game, they lost a lead and managed to win in 10 against a distracted Samsung bullpen that loaded the bases. Kim Byung-hyun is throwing but there is no word on when he will pitch.

8. Hanhwa Eagles (1-6)

Trouble is starting early despite two seemingly awesome pitchers in their system. Ryu Hyun-jin's 13K's in 8 and Park Chan-ho's 5 in 6.1 show that this team has a good 1 and 2. But Hanhwa couldn't even get Ryu a win despite his Friday performance and Chan-ho's start was the only win they could record this week. LG is a team ready to buckle down and Samsung is beginning to display why they were 2011's best team. These are the two teams the birds play next week and prepare for another appearance at last place in the standings and in the Rankings this time next week.

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