Almost one month has passed since the start of the 2020 KBO League season. It’s been quite a start of some of the league’s foreign players, while others have not been as fortunate. Let’s take a look at who’s hot and who’s not in the KBO right now.
Foreigners Lead the Charge
Even though there are only 10 foreign-born hitters in the KBO League, four of them are in the top 10 in OPS. Former Angel Jose Miguel Fernandez (Doosan Bears) is currently second in the KBO (min. 25 PA) in OPS (1.295), and third in runs batted in (17). Preston Tucker (Kia Tigers) has also found success in Korea, as his 1.060 OPS is good for ninth in the KBO. The former Astro also leads all KBO League players in runs batted in (21). Oh, and did I mention he also won a new car?
Two other foreigners have gotten off to fast starts. Outfielder Mel Rojas (KT Wiz), a former Pirate farmhand, currently possesses the sixth-best on-base percentage in the league (.462), and the fifth-best OPS in the KBO (1.152). And let’s not forget former Rockie Roberto Ramos, who’s off to a torrid start for the LG Twins. The 25-year old first baseman has seven home runs so far, which leads the KBO. Ramos also possesses a whopping .767 slugging percentage, good for second in the KBO League, and a .417 ISO, which leads the league.
Leaderboard Filled with Dinos
The NC Dinos are leading the pace right now in the KBO, and have done so essentially since the beginning of the season. Through 17 games, the Dinos currently possess a 14-3 record, which is three games better than the LG Twins, who are second in the KBO with an 11-6 record.
Considering their strong start, it should come to no surprise that the Dinos, who are currently third in the KBO in both batting average and OPS, have players on the league leaderboard. The Dinos offensive charge has been lead, in large part, by 1B/OF Jin-Sung Kang, who currently leads the KBO in OPS (1.428), second in on-base percentage (.533) and third in ISO (.395). Through 16 games, the 26-year old has hit seven extra-base hits and has driven in 14 runs, good for tenth on the KBO leaderboard.
Sung-Bum Na, meanwhile, has bounced back quite nicely after missing most of last season. The 30-year old has recorded a slash line of .290/.388/.478 and is currently second on the Dinos in runs batted in (13). Min-Woo Park, meanwhile, has been a tremendous sparkplug for the Dinos. Park is currently in the KBO top 10 in runs scored (14-tied for seventh) and has the eighth-best on-base percentage (.455) in the league. On top of that, Park’s minuscule 5.1 K% is the best rate in the league.
Not all Foreign-Born Players Are Doing Well
We mentioned earlier in the article that several foreign-born players have excelled in the league thus far. Several foreigners, however, have gotten off to cold starts thus far. Former Mariner Taylor Motter (Kiwoom Heroes) has just three hits in his first 27 at-bats of the season, and among players who have at least 25 plate appearances in the league so far, Motter has the second-worst OPS (.360) in the league.
Former MLB outfielder Aaron Altherr (NC Dinos) also has gotten off to a bit of a sluggish start. While several of his Dinos teammates have gotten off to fast starts, the former Phillie has struck out 22 times in just 62 times at the plate. Altherr’s K% rate of 35.5% is currently the second-worst rate in the KBO, only behind Taek-geun Lee of the Kiwoom Heroes. Former White Sox and Brewers infielder Tyler Saladino (Samsung Lions) isn’t too far behind Altherr, as his 33.3% K% is the fourth-worst rate in the league. Saladino also possesses the tenth-worst OPS (.506) in the KBO (min. 25 PA).
Best wOBA Figures in KBO
Here’s a look at the players who have the best wOBA figures in the league. In case you’re interested, FH Freeway uses the basic wOBA calculation for these figures:
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