With the collection of players from Korea transferring to the major leagues, myworld will take a look at the KBO and see where it stands. Just an update on the few teams myworld is tracking. Again it is the year of the hitter with batting averages inflated and homeruns aplenty. Low scoring games are usually the result of two foreign pitchers on the mound.
Doosan Bears (31-12 -1) - They are the defending champs and have carried that over to 2016, sitting in first place by eight games. The big bat is Jae-Hwan Kim who leads the KBO in homeruns with 14. He is also hitting .368 with 38 RBIs. All this production in only 34 games and 126 plate appearances, not enough to qualify for the batting title, which would put him second in the KBO. A player ahead of him in average but also not eligible for a batting title because of too few at bats is Jae-Il Oh, who is hitting .394 in 121 plate appearances. Sitting at fourth and fifth in hitting is Byung-Hun Min (.376) and Eui-Ji Yang (.355). These two players have also combined for 10 and 9 homeruns and 31 and 30 runs driven in respectively. Needless to say Doosan is atop the KBO because of their bats. They lead the KBO in overall average at .313, the only team hitting above .300 in the KBO and they have scored 298 runs, 57 more runs than any other team in the league.
The pitching is not that bad. They are third in the KBO in ERA at 4.13, just behind the NC Dinos and SK Wyverns. Import Michael Bowden has turned into a nice ace (6-1, 2.43 ERA). The other import is Dustin Nippert (7-2, 3.91). These two starters have won 13 of the Bears 31 games. Won-Jun Chang (6-2, 3.86) and Hee-Kwan Yoo (5-0, 4.67) are the local starters who fill the back end of the rotation. Hyun-Seung Lee (2.95, 12 saves) is the closer with Jae-Hoon Jung (1.23, 13 holds) the top set-up man.
NC Dinos (23-17-1) - The Dinos were favored by many at the beginning of the year to win the division. The offense is led by MVP Eric Thames (.367, 14, 40). These numbers may look good, but when compared to last year when he came close to winning the Triple Crown, fall a bit short of what Dino fans expect. Talk about high expectations. One of myworld’s favorite players is 27 year old Sung-Bum Na (.337, 9, 36) who has the advantage of hitting in front of Thames. Na does not have the most attractive walk to whiff numbers (15/47), those 47 strikeouts tied for second most in the league.
Import Erik Hacker (6-1, 2.61) is the ace of the staff. They are not getting much from their other foreign import Zach Stewart (3-4, 5.60). They do have a lights out closer in Chang-Min Lim (0.48, 10 saves) who has 31 whiffs in just 18.2 innings of work.
Nexon Heroes (23-20-1) - They’ve lost two of their big power hitters in Kang and Park but are still battling, currently in third place in the KBO. They’ve replaced two of their biggest bats with 20 year old shortstop Ha-Seong Kim (.275, 8, 20), who may not have the power of Kang but plays a more fluid defense and foreign import Danny Dorn (.252, 8, 32). Those batting average numbers for Dorn are a bit of a disappointment. The two are tied with Dong-Won Park for the team homerun lead. Geon-Chang Seo became the first Korean to collect 200 hits in 2014, but missed most of last year because of injury. He is healthy again (.311, 2, 24) hitting atop of the order but the .370 average he had in 2014 may have been an outlier.
Pitching is the Heroes strength with Jae-Young Shin (6-2, 3.38) their ace and imports Ryan Feierabend (3-4, 4.81) and Robert Coello (4-4, 4.34) also pitching decent outings. Se-Hyun Kim (2.37, 12 saves) is their closer and Sang-Su Kim (2.42, 8 holds) is their top set-up man.
Samsung Lions (21-23) - After winning four championships and five divisions the Lions are a big disappointment, sitting near the bottom of the league. A gambling scandal forced them to sit out three of their pitchers in their championship with the Doosan Bears and they lost. This string of bad luck seems to have carried into the 2016 season. Hyoung-Woo Choi (.333, 10, 44) still carries a big bat and second in the KBO in RBIs. Ja-Wook Koo (.371, 5, 28) sits atop the KBO in runs scored with 43 and sits third in batting average. The 40 year old Seung-Yeop Lee (.282, 5, 29) still produces from the DH spot. He is the all time Korean homerun leader. They have not gotten a lot of production from foreign import Aaron Baldiris (.271, 1, 13) who found more success in Japan.
Samsung is second in the league in runs so that tells you that pitching has been their big problem this year. Their 5.60 ERA sits only above the last place Hanwha Eagles. Foreign imports Allen Webster (3-4, 6.56) and Collin Balester (0-3, 8.03) have contributed to that high ERA. Sung-Hwan Yun (6-1, 3.34) has been the only pitcher to answer the call.