KBO: Week 17 Power Rankings

KBO: Week 17 Power Rankings

This article is part of our KBO Power Rankings series.

These weeks where teams all play three two-game series are a very interesting wrinkle for those following or covering the KBO. How do you adjust your assessment of a team when it splits one series, sweeps another and gets swept in a third? Is that better or worse than splitting three straight two-game sets? That was the dilemma I faced with the top three teams in last week's rankings, each of which went 3-3. There's certainly a case for leaving all three teams in their previous spots, and I did in fact have the rankings listed that way when I began this article. In the end, I decided I couldn't not penalize the Twins for losing a pair of games to the Eagles, and I couldn't not reward the Wiz for crushing the Dinos over two games, but you could rearrange the top four teams in almost any order and I could see a case for it. As a reminder, as these rankings are published on RotoWire, they have a fantasy focus and are meant to reflect how intimidating each team is as an opponent right now, rather than how likely I think each team is to win the league (though those two things of course correlate very closely).

1. Kiwoom Heroes

Last Week: 1
Record: 55-38
Run Differential: +70

The Lowdown: For the second straight week, the Heroes hold onto the top spot more due to the fact that no one else staked a strong claim for it rather than due to any particular dominance on their part. There's no shame in splitting series with the Dinos, Twins or Tigers, and the Heroes still have a strong 13-7 record in the month of August despite never winning more than two games in a row at any point.

DFS Name to Know: Injuries to Eric Jokisch (shoulder) and Won Tae Choi (undisclosed) represent big blows to the Heroes' rotation and could cause the team to tumble down the standings in the near future, but the good news for Heroes fans is that Jake Brigham looks quite healthy after battling elbow injuries throughout the season, as he's allowed just a single earned run in 11 innings of work over his last two starts while striking out 13 batters.

2. KT Wiz

Last Week: 4
Record: 47-39-1
Run Differential: +48

The Lowdown: The Wiz continue their charge up both the power rankings and the actual standings thanks to a 5-1 week which was capped by a two-game sweep of the Dinos, in which they outscored the league leaders by a score of 18-2. It's hard not to move them above the Dinos following that performance despite the five-game gap between the pair in the standings, especially as they've significantly outplayed them over an extended period. They sat 13 games back after losing to the Dinos exactly one month ago and have made up eight games since then.

DFS Name to Know: Mel Rojas Jr. appears to be pulling out of an unexpected tailspin that saw him hit just .100/.119/.125 over a nine-game stretch, as he homered in both weekend games against the Dinos and drove in a total of seven runs.

3. NC Dinos

Last Week: 3
Record: 51-33-2
Run Differential: +98

The Lowdown: The Dinos slip behind the Wiz in these rankings after getting stomped by a combined score of 18-2 over the weekend, but they'll move back ahead of the Twins as they at least didn't lose a pair of games to the lowly Eagles. You could certainly make the case for dropping them much lower, however, as they've gone just 7-14 over the last month.

DFS Name to Know: Myung Gi Lee has hit .447/.512/.579 over his last 18 games and remained the leadoff man even after Min Woo Park returned from a hamstring injury over the weekend.

4. LG Twins

Last Week: 2
Record: 51-39-1
Run Differential: +84

The Lowdown: Though the Twins fall back down two spots, the gap between them and the first-ranked Heroes isn't a large one, but I had to penalize them for becoming the first team all season to get swept by the Eagles. Those weekend struggles were very out of character for a team that had opened August with a 12-5 record, including a 5-3 mark against the Heroes and Dinos, so there's a strong chance they prove it was merely a blip and resume their charge up these rankings next week.

DFS Name to Know: Roberto Ramos appears to be back in form after an extended slump, as he homered in four straight games to start the week and has homered six times in his last 10 games, a stretch in which he's hitting .324/.405/.811.

5. Doosan Bears

Last Week: 5
Record: 50-38-2
Run Differential: +60

The Lowdown: The Bears had a slightly better week than three of the four teams above them in these rankings, but a 4-2 record against two bottom-half teams is hardly something to be proud of. Like the Dinos, the Bears' placement in the standings is purely due to their strong early-season performance, as they have a .500 record over the last month and haven't looked like anything but a bubble team in quite some time.

DFS Name to Know: Jose Fernandez had three games with three or more hits last week while striking out a total of one time and posting a 1.189 OPS.

6. Lotte Giants

Last Week: 7
Record: 44-40-1
Run Differential: +20

The Lowdown: Splitting four games against the Bears and beating the Lions twice is enough to move the Giants back up into the sixth spot in these rankings as well as the sixth spot in the standings, two games behind the surging Wiz. After allowing a total of just 12 runs in their last five games, the Giants now sit second in the league in runs allowed per game, while their improving offense now sits a respectable sixth in scoring. 

DFS Name to Know: 38-year-old Dae Ho Lee had quite the weekend series against the Lions, going 6-for-10 with a pair of homers, giving him a .294 batting average and 13 homers on the season.

7. Kia Tigers

Last Week: 6
Record: 45-42
Run Differential: -24

The Lowdown: The Tigers did get stuck with a very tough schedule last week, facing the Twins, Dinos and Heroes, but a team with playoff aspirations needs to do better than going 1-5 against fellow contenders and needs to do far better than getting outscored by an average margin of 4.7 over that stretch. The strong pitching staff that carried the Tigers for most of the season hasn't been at its best of late and now ranks fourth in runs allowed per game.

DFS Name to Know: Hyun Jong Yang needs to step up and lead the Tigers' rotation with Drew Gagnon struggling and Aaron Brooks out with a sore back, but he's been on an encouraging run over his last six starts, posting a 3.09 ERA and a 10.0 K/9.

8. Samsung Lions

Last Week: 8
Record: 41-48-1
Run Differential: -23

The Lowdown: I strongly considered dropping the Lions due to their awful week and the respectable weeks by the Eagles and Wyverns, but the Lions' 11-game lead over the ninth-place Wyverns is enough to keep them in eighth for now. They've been as bad as anyone in the league for quite some time, though, going 12-24-1 over their last 37 games.

DFS Name to Know: The Lions desperately need something from Daniel Palka, who debuted Sunday, if they're to make a late playoff push. He hit a lopsided but solid .240/.294/.484 in his 124-game MLB debut back in 2018 before hitting an awful .107/.194/.179 in 30 games last season.

9. Hanwha Eagles

Last Week: 9
Record: 25-63-1
Run Differential: -212

The Lowdown: Early in the week, I fully expected to move the Eagles back below the Wyverns, who swept their two-game series by a combined 26 runs. The Eagles salvaged their status with a legitimately impressive three-game winning streak to close the week against the Wiz and Twins, giving them just their second three-win week of the season and their first since mid-May.

DFS Name to Know: Chad Bell earns another mention here as he's now made three strong starts out of four since returning from an elbow injury, posting a 3.60 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP and a 20:10 K:BB over that stretch.

10. SK Wyverns

Last Week: 10
Record: 30-59-1
Run Differential: -141

The Lowdown: As mentioned above, the Wyverns did beat the Eagles twice this week, and in rather convincing fashion, but the Eagles' wins against the Wiz and Twins are considerably more impressive than the Wyverns' victories against the Eagles and Lions. The Wyverns might be starting to turn things around, as their 6-7 mark over the last 13 games isn't terrible, though just two of those wins have come against teams that aren't the Eagles or Lions.

DFS Name to Know: Jamie Romak appears to be sorting things out following an extended stretch of mediocrity, posting a .364/.511/.576 slash line over his last 10 games.

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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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