KBO: Groups, odds, the right way to watch, ex-MLB gamers and all the things to find out about Korea Baseball Group

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Main League Baseball was alleged to launch its common season on March 26. The unfold of the novel coronavirus compelled the league to delay Opening Day till later within the yr, with the precise date hinging on the effectiveness of containment methods imposed throughout the nation. The league is optimistic about enjoying some type of a 2020 season, however there are lots of points to iron out first.

If there may be excellent news for seamheads, it is that one other league will try to resume play quickly. The Korea Baseball Group (KBO), described up to now as delivering the “wildest, most outlandish” model of the game, is planning to kick off its season with Opening Day on Might 5. KBO groups will play a full 144-game schedule, but when a participant or coach is contaminated with COVID-19, the league might be shut down for 3 weeks minimal. There won’t be followers in attendance.

Most Individuals followers are too preoccupied with MLB to concern themselves with international leagues, be it KBO or Japan’s prime league, Nippon Skilled Baseball. That would change now if KBO is the one sport on the town. As such, we put collectively the next primer to assist educate everybody in regards to the ins and outs of the KBO.

What number of groups are within the KBO?

There are 10 energetic groups. The Doosan Bears, Kia Tigers, LG Twins, Lotte Giants, and Samsung Lions are the oldest golf equipment, every having been based in 1982. The latest groups are the KT Wiz (2015), NC Dinos (2013), and Kiwoom Heroes (2008). The Hanwa Eagles and SK Wyverns spherical out the group.

As you most likely observed, the groups should not named for his or her geographical places. Whereas that is a departure from MLB norms, it does assist differentiate the three groups that share Seoul, South Korea’s capital metropolis: the Bears, the Heroes, and the Twins. For these curious, the Eagles play in Daejeon, the Tigers in Gwangju, the Wiz in Suwon, the Giants in Busan, the Dinos in Changwon, the Lions in Daegu, and the Wyverns in Incheon.

What’s the season construction of KBO?

Each KBO crew performs a 144-game season. As a result of KBO makes use of a balanced schedule, every crew performs the opposite 9 an equal 16 occasions. That may be a departure from MLB, wherein groups play inside their division extra typically and do not play everybody else. KBO, regardless of beginning its season later than supposed, nonetheless hopes to play a full 144-game slate.

How in regards to the playoffs?

As a result of KBO has fewer groups, the playoff construction is totally different from MLB’s as properly. The highest 5 squads qualify for the postseason, with the highest total crew receiving a cross to the best-of-seven championship sequence, in any other case often known as the Korean Sequence.

Earlier than the Korean Sequence can start, the No. four and No. 5 groups play in a best-of-three (type of) Wild Card sequence. The catch is that the No. 5 crew begins in an 0-1 gap, allowing the No. four crew to advance with a single victory or tie (sure, the KBO permits ties, even within the playoffs).

The Wild Card winner advances to play the No. three crew in a best-of-five sequence, with that winner then enjoying the No. 2 crew in one other best-of-five sequence.

In different phrases, there’s a larger emphasis positioned on the regular-season outcomes.

Who’re the perfect groups?

The Doosan Bears have been probably the most dominant crew within the KBO in current occasions. The Bears gained the 2019 Korean Sequence, their third title in 5 years, they usually completed because the runners-up within the different two years. Their 22 postseason appearances are the second most amongst KBO franchises, behind solely the Samsung Lions.

The Lions (eight) and Bears (six) have the second and third most championships to their title. The crew with probably the most, or the KBO equal of the New York Yankees, is the Kia Tigers, who’ve gained 11 titles. 5 of these got here throughout the ’80s, and just one (2017) since 2010.

How can I watch?

ESPN and KBO agreed to a deal the place one sport per day will air on the American community. Which means six video games per week since KBO would not usually play on Mondays. Right here is ESPN’s broadcast schedule for the primary week, with sport occasions within the early morning hours on the east coast.

Are odds obtainable?

Sure. William Hill Sportsbook is providing odds on KBO matchups in each Nevada and New Jersey.

Some other variations price realizing?

We’ll point out two others. First, the designated hitter is common within the KBO. Second, video games are declared ties after 12 innings throughout the common season, and 15 throughout the playoffs. Maintain that in thoughts the following time a baseball purist tells you there is no room within the sport for DHs or ties.


Kwang Hyun Kim, now with the Cardinals, was one of many prime performers within the KBO final season.


Who’re the perfect gamers?

The highest performer throughout the 2019 season, in line with STATIZ’s Wins Above Substitute metric, was Kia Tigers left-hander Hyeon-jong Yang. Yang, who posted a 2.29 ERA over 184 innings whereas hanging out practically 5 occasions as many batters as he walked, throws from an over-the-top slot. He deserves credit score for making strides along with his command, as he had walked no less than 5 per 9 innings in 5 of his first six seasons; he is walked 2.1 or fewer per 9 in every of his final three seasons.

The very best place participant was Eui-ji Yang, a catcher with the NC Dinos. He hit .354/.438/.574 with 20 residence runs and extra walks than strikeouts. He was previously a member of the Doosan Bears, however he signed a four-year pact price roughly $10 million in December 2018. That represented the second-richest contract within the KBO, behind solely Dae-ho Lee’s take care of the Lotte Giants.

Three different gamers completed with greater than six Wins Above Substitute: Kiwoom shortstop Ha-seong Kim; then-SK pitcher Kwang Hyung Kim (now with the St. Louis Cardinals); and SK third baseman Jeong Choi.

Discover extra about gamers to observe within the KBO and Chinese language Skilled Baseball League (CPBL) right here.

May any of them find yourself within the majors?

When individuals take into consideration gamers leaping to the majors from throughout the Pacific Ocean, they have an inclination to think about gamers from NPB. Even so, the KBO has served as a launching pad for quite a lot of gamers.

Simply this previous offseason, the aforementioned Kwang Hyung Kim signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and outfielder Jae-hwan Kim was additionally posted over the winter, however did not draw sufficient curiosity.

That paragraph would not embody American gamers who’ve reestablished themselves abroad, like Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Josh Lindblom.

Of the 4 gamers talked about within the earlier part who stay within the KBO, probably the most promising (in MLB phrases) is Ha-seong Kim. Kim will not flip 25 till mid-October, however hit .307/.389/.491 with 19 residence runs and 33 stolen bases (on 37 tries). Kim is anticipated to be posted after the upcoming season, and may draw curiosity as a second-division starter.

Of notice: Hyeon-jong Yang was already posted for MLB groups again in fall 2014. The Tigers didn’t settle for the profitable bid, nevertheless, stopping him from embarking on a big-league profession.

There are others who may come to the States in due time, but it surely’s essential to do not forget that MLB is not everybody’s objective.

Are there any former big-league gamers?

Followers searching for acquainted names ought to be completely happy to see that, yup, there are some ex-big-leaguers current within the KBO. Groups are restricted to a few foreign-born gamers apiece, although, limiting the ranks.

Veteran pitchers Dan Straily, Adrian Sampson, and Mike Wright are all new additions to KBO this season. They’re going to be part of a bunch that features Warwick Saupold, William Cuevas, Casey Kelly, and Tyler Wilson, amongst others who’ve skilled life within the majors earlier than.

On the hitting aspect, a pair of former outfield prospects who ended up in KBO are Aaron Altherr (greatest recognized for his time with the Philadelphia Phillies) and Preston Tucker (Houston Astros). Former minor-league journeyman Jamie Romak is likely one of the prime home-run hitters within the KBO, having smashed no less than 29 in every of his three seasons in Korea.

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