KBO: Week 3 In Review
Greg Jewett recaps the past week of KBO action with top performances and stories.
While baseball negotiations heat up in the United States, the KBO completed its third week of regular season games. More good news could be on the horizon for baseball enthusiasts with this announcement out of Japan:
BREAKING: NPB can play ball from June 19, but minus the fans https://t.co/6XvzH8sBBr— Japan Times: Sports (@jt_sports) May 25, 2020
Plus, it appears the NHL and NBA will resume games, or at least their playoffs in the coming months so momentum cannot be ignored. As for the KBO, tracking trends and games can be frustrating. Like our own brand of baseball, variance remains in a sport predicated on being tough to predict on a daily basis. Still, my adopted team, the NC Dinos, continue to roll through three weeks of contests:
Fueled by the league’s best pitching staff so far (3.26 ERA), the Dinos will host Kiwoom starting Week 4 in the KBO marking a match-up of two teams with aspirations of going deep into the play-offs. Blown saves (six so far by the KT Wiz), home runs (up to 1.91 per game so far with 166 in 87 games) and a higher league ERA (4.82) continue to pervade the KBO landscape.
With this in mind, here’s the updated hitter leaderboards courtesy of eng.koreabaseball.com:
This underscores how important import players prove to be for success. Doosan’s Jose Miguel Fernandez continues to rake in the KBO leading the lead in four of the six categories above. Preston Tucker held on to the RBI lead but he’s in the midst of a mini-slump going hitless over his last three contests (zero-for-15).
As for the pitching, there’s been some changes in the leaders but imports still appear among them with the exception of bullpens:
Taking all of this in, here’s some player’s of note from the KBO with an eye on future performance.
Hitter Highlights from Week 3
Jose Miguel Fernandez, Doosan Bears
One cannot ignore a hitter with a .500 average through his first 17 games spanning 81 plate appearances and this tweet encapsulates his hot week:
Presently, Fernandez also leads the KBO in on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS - 1.295) and recorded 12 multi-hit games in his first 17 going hitless in only two of them. At some point he’s bound to cool off, but heading home to host the struggling SK Wyverns signals it may be this week.
Roberto Ramos, LG Twins
Ramos went 7-for-23 (.304) with three runs, three home runs, nine RBI and walked three times. His prodigious power plays well in the KBO and if he progresses against left-handed pitching a move back to the states could ensue at the end of the season. Taking over the league lead with seven home runs, Ramos accomplished it with some flare:
Through his first 17 games, Ramos owns a .350/.443/.767 slash and ranks second in the KBO in OPS (1.210) over his 70 plate appearances.
Before delving into the next two players, here’s a teaser on them using a tweet from the world scouting community:
[SPOTV News] | MLB scouts have closely monitored KBO players this season looking for the next Korean star.— Jason (Hanshin) Lee (@Jasons_JaysHub) May 24, 2020
Names drawing the most interest right now: Yang Hyeon-Jong (KIA Tigers), Na Sung-Bum (NC Dinos), Kim Ha-Seong (Kiwoom Heroes), and Kim Jae-Hwan (Doosan Bears).#KBO #MLB pic.twitter.com/yrDAaypZak
Ha-seong Kim, Kiwoom Heroes
Tabbed as a player to watch in the preseason, Kim scuffled at the dish early on. However, Kim’s heating up going 8-for-17 (.471) last week with nine runs, four doubles, two home runs, five RBI and a stolen base.
#KiwoomHeroes SS Kim Ha-seong HR Deeeeeep ????— Prospects Worldwide (@ProspectsWorldW) May 23, 2020
Expect this kid in the MLB next season.
All around talent, bat is LOUD#ScoutingReport will be released Sunday Morning covering Kim Ha-seong's potential as an MLB player#KBO pic.twitter.com/LLtRoDSImA
Kim scored 112 runs with 19 home runs and 33 stolen bases during 2019’s “dead ball” season in the KBO. With the ball more lively so far in 2020, Kim’s in the midst of a heater making him someone to key on going forward.
Sung-bum Na, NC Dinos
Owner of back-to-back multi-hit contests, Na’s not flashed the power many counted on but may be on the brink of breaking out. Na went 9-for-28 (.321) in Week 3 with a double and six RBI. He’s racked up multiple hit games in three of his last four raising his average to .290 but his .365 batting average on balls in play hints at more positive migration to the mean. Na’s career isolated power (.217) also points to more power on tap since his .188 ISO this year with four home runs could translate soon, especially if he drives the ball to all fields:
Starting Pitcher Spotlight
Drew Gagnon, Kia Tigers
Gagnon fired six shutout innings allowing two hits and two walks with nine strikeouts during his first win in 2020:
3 pitches. 1 spot. Good afternoon. Good evening. Good night.— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) May 20, 2020
- FB with wicked movement down and away
- SL in the same spot
- CH same spot
This is how Drew Gagnon - @Dgags24 - begun the game! pic.twitter.com/PD2mTZK1Em
Being able to pound the strike zone with three different pitching in the KBO makes him a pitcher to target in future contests. His current 3.86 ERA accompanies a 2.77 FIP with a 1.16 WHIP. If his ERA migrates towards his FIP and the strikeouts minus walks percentage (26.9) sticks, Gagnon could take off in future contests.
Odrisamer Despaigne , KT Wiz
Perhaps the pitcher with the worst luck so far in the KBO, Despaigne notched his first win in Week 3 despite owning a 2.25 ERA, 2.31 FIP and 0.96 WHIP through his first four starts this season. Despaigne’s turned in three quality outings with a 21:2 K:BB over his first 24 innings and his ability to throw from different angles while working in the strike zone makes him a pitcher to watch if the Wiz can turn their season around.
Chris Flexen , Doosan Bears
If Doosan can repeat its KBO championship, it needs Flexen to pitch well all season. His last outing yielded 10 strikeouts against first place NC in a no-decision which Flexen worked eight innings giving up only four hits and one walk on 108 pitches. Unlike many in the KBO, Flexen can record strikeouts at the top of or above the strike zone:
Through his first three starts, Flexen’s 2-0 with a quality start in each outing, a 2.70 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with the league’s fourth best K-BB percentage (23.1) as a result of his 22:4 K:BB in 20 innings.
With more sports about to restart or begin their seasons, be sure to stay with Fantasy Alarm to remain ahead of the competition across all fantasy formats. Enjoy Memorial Day and remember those who served to preserve our way of life.