KBO Weekly: Power Rankings, power surges and a drive-off home run

Two weeks into the season, we have a new team atop our Korea Baseball Organization Power Rankings. Plus, we had a continuing surge in home runs (including one that won a player new car!), which means we also had a continuing surge of bat flips.

On to the latest in KBO ...

ESPN's KBO Power Rankings

1. NC Dinos: 10-1 (Last week: 4) -- With a 6-0 week, the Dinos are tearing it up with a balanced attack. NC leads the league with 18 home runs and has KBO's best team ERA (3.26).

2. Kiwoom Heroes: 7-5 (1) -- The Heroes were fortunate to drop only one spot in our rankings after a 1-4 week.

3. Doosan Bears: 7-4 (2) -- Expect some fireworks when the Bears play: Doosan leads the league in runs scored and batting average (.337) but also leads in runs allowed and has the worst ERA (6.24).

4. LG Twins: 7-4 (3) -- LG ran off six straight wins (with a plus-23 run differential) before Sunday's loss to Kiwoom.

5. Lotte Giants: 7-4 (5) -- After a 5-0 opening week, the Giants slipped to 2-4, with Sunday's loss to Hanwha coming on an 11th-inning, walk-off balk by Dae-woo Kim.

6. KT Wiz: 4-7 (7) -- Don't get the Wiz angry: After dropping three one-run decisions to the seemingly unbeatable Dinos, KT took out its frustration on Samsung ...

7. Samsung Lions: 4-8 (8) -- The Lions' week had a promising start (series win over Kiwoom), but it ended with three losses to the Wiz by a combined score of 33-12.

8. Kia Tigers: 5-7 (9) -- Preston Tucker continues to rake (a .911 slugging percentage and 1.421 OPS, both league highs), but for Kia, it has largely been Tucker or bust. He has 40% of the team's RBIs all by himself.

9. Hanwha Eagles: 5-7 (10) -- Hanwha's pitching has been great (3.31 ERA), but the Eagles haven't had any pop (a league-low four home runs).

10. SK Wyverns: 1-10 (6) -- Losers of nine straight and holders of a minus-37 run differential on the season, the Wyverns are a hot mess, leading some to wonder if manager Kyoung-Youb Youm could soon be on the hot seat. SK suffered a huge collapse at the end of last season in Youm's first season at the helm replacing Trey Hillman (now the Marlins' third-base coach), who led the Wyverns to a Korean Series title in 2018.

(Selected by Joon Lee, Alden Gonzalez and Dan Mullen)

The week that was and what's ahead

One thing to know that happened last week: Home runs are back -- in a big way. In 2019, KBO altered the balls it used to stifle the league's power surge, but it seems the old juiced balls might be back. Home runs per game dropped from 2.4 in 2018 to 1.4 in 2019 but have bounced back up to 2.0 this year. The uptick led the KBO to conduct a random inspection of the balls, which the league said turned up nothing. Stay tuned.

One thing to watch this week: The rampaging Dinos take on the reigning champs in the explosive Bears, a matchup of the two teams atop the home run charts in a three-game series starting Tuesday. Sign us up!

Viral moment of the week: We've all seen walk-off home runs, but how about a drive-off home run? Preston Tucker, who -- if you haven't heard -- is absolutely on fire, launched a 435-foot home run that landed in the Kia Home Run Zone, which won him ... a brand-new car!

Bat flip of the week: Jin-sung Kang is feeling it after one of the Dinos' four home runs against the Wyverns on Sunday.

Fans (?) of the week: Well, we'll just leave this here.

Most impressive stat of the week: Tucker has 20 RBIs through 12 games. The last MLB player with 20 RBIs in his team's first 12 games of a season was Alex Rodriguez with the Yankees in 2007.

KBO on ESPN broadcast schedule

Stream live KBO games and replays on WatchESPN

(All times ET; in addition to the game replays listed, all KBO League games on ESPN2 will also re-air leading directly into the next live game telecast.)


5:30 a.m.: ESPN2 -- NC Dinos vs. Doosan Bears (live)
2 p.m.: ESPN2 -- NC Dinos vs. Doosan Bears (rebroadcast)


5:30 a.m.: ESPN2 -- LG Twins vs. Samsung Lions (live)
2 p.m.: ESPN2 -- LG Twins vs. Samsung Lions (rebroadcast)


5:30 a.m.: ESPN2 -- NC Dinos vs. Doosan Bears (live)
1 p.m.: ESPN2 -- NC Dinos vs. Doosan Bears (rebroadcast)


5:30 a.m.: ESPN2 -- KT Wiz vs. LG Twins (live)
2 p.m.: ESPN2 -- KT Wiz vs. LG Twins (rebroadcast)


4 a.m.: ESPN -- Doosan Bears vs. Samsung Lions (live)


1 a.m.: ESPN -- Hanwha Eagles vs. NC Dinos (live)