This article is part of our KBO Power Rankings series.
The ninth week of the KBO season brought the most significant shakeup to these power rankings in quite some time, as the Lions continued to roar while the Twins continued to do whatever unimpressive thing Twins do. The Twins did manage to hold onto a playoff spot after avoiding the sweep on Sunday, but their recent trends could hardly be more divergent. As a reminder, since these power rankings are published on RotoWire, they have a fantasy angle to them and are intended to reflect how intimidating of an opponent each team is right now. While the fact that the Heroes are playing this well with just one foreign player bodes quite well for their Korean Series hopes, for example, that isn't particularly relevant to fantasy players setting their lineups right now. There could well be plenty more movement in these rankings next week, as we'll have far more than our fair share of exciting series in the next six days, with the bottom three teams playing four series against each other this week, leaving the top seven teams to beat each other up in some of the most significant matchups of the year to date.
1. NC Dinos
Last Week: 1
Run Differential: +80
The Lowdown: The Dinos haven't been at their best for quite some time, as the last time they won more than three games in a row came back in early June. However, it has become quite clear that they are one of the best teams in the league even on cruise control. There are reasons to be concerned about the back half of their rotation and bullpen, but they've nevertheless won five series in a row and shouldn't be too tested this upcoming week against the Wyverns and the struggling Twins.
DFS Name to Know: Aaron Altherr, who's hitting .307/.383/.615 on the season while sitting third in the league with 10 steals and tied for third with 14 homers, has finally and deservedly reclaimed a key spot in the Dinos' lineup, batting cleanup three times in the last week.
2. Kiwoom Heroes
Last Week: 2
Run Differential: +60
The Lowdown: I was very ready to move the Heroes into first place after they took two of three from the Bears in their mid-week series, but they remain in second after dropping two of three to the Wiz over the weekend. Still, the gap between them and the Dinos is as small as ever, and they've actually outperformed the league leaders since getting swept by them in late May, going 23-10 since that series compared to 19-13 for the Dinos.
DFS Name to Know: 24-year-old shortstop Ha Seong Kim, who could be playing stateside next year, was held hitless just once in his last 11 games. He hit .395/.472/.698 with 13 runs and 15 RBI over that stretch.
3. Doosan Bears
Last Week: 3
Run Differential: +23
The Lowdown: The Bears' dominant lineup keeps them comfortably above the group of teams competing for the final two playoff spots at the moment, but the gap between them and the league's top two teams looks fairly large after they dropped two of three to the Heroes last week. The defending champions have a poor 4-8 record against the Dinos and Heroes this season.
DFS Name to Know: Raul Alcantara has recorded five straight quality starts, posting a 2.29 ERA, a 0.88 WHIP and a 30:3 K:BB over that stretch.
4. Samsung Lions
Last Week: 6
Run Differential: +21
The Lowdown: I remain unconvinced that the Lions have the talent to be the league's fourth-best team come playoff time, but they jump up two spots this week as the hottest team in the league. Samsung went 10-3 over their last 13 games after taking two of three from the Twins over the weekend and have more than held their own against playoff teams all year, as they own an impressive 15-12 combined record against the Heroes, Bears, Twins and Tigers.
DFS Name to Know: Chae Heung Choi's underlying numbers don't support his season-long 3.08 ERA, but it's hard to ignore what he's done over his last three starts, as he's given up just a single run while posting a 0.88 WHIP and a 15:4 K:BB.
5. Kia Tigers
Last Week: 5
Run Differential: +19
The Lowdown: The Tigers could have moved up this week had they managed to steal a series against the league-leading Dinos, but as it stands they still look like a bubble team and remain in the number five spot despite movement both above and below them. Their dominant rotation, which has helped them allow a league-low 4.5 runs per game this season, should be a significant factor if they make it to the playoffs, but they remain less than a lock to get there, as they've been outscored by all but the three worst teams in the league.
6. KT Wiz
Last Week: 7
Run Differential: 5
The Lowdown: The Wiz move up a spot in the standings after a pair of impressive series victories over the Twins and Heroes. They have plenty of work to do to make up or their early struggles, but they're doing all they can, winning 12 of their last 18 games. Perhaps most significantly, their previously poor pitching staff has allowed just 4.7 runs per game over that stretch, a number which would rank third-best over the full season.
DFS Name to Know: Mel Rojas Jr. continues to extend his lead in the MVP race, as his 19 homers are four more than anyone else in the league and his 1.145 OPS is more than 100 points ahead of the next-best qualified hitter.
7. LG Twins
Last Week: 4
Run Differential: +26
The Lowdown: The Twins did manage to hold onto the fourth spot in the standings after avoiding the sweep against the Lions with their win Sunday, but the fall three spots in these power rankings as they've been one of the coldest teams in the league over an extended period, going 4-11 over their last 15 games. The good news is the cure to their ills isn't hard to find–they simply need Roberto Ramos to hit like he did early in the season and Tyler Wilson and Casey Kelly to pitch like they did last year–but until those things start happening, they'll remain a rather unintimidating opponent.
DFS Name to Know: Hyun Soo Kim emerged from an 11-game stretch over which he posted just a .527 OPS to homer in all three games of the Twins' weekend series against the Lions, giving him eight on the year and suggesting that he could be back to being the dominant hitter he was early in the season.
8. Lotte Giants
Last Week: 8
Run Differential: -12
The Lowdown: The Giants deserve praise for their respectable record after finishing last in the league by an 8.5-game margin in 2019, but it's hard to see them moving up in these rankings any time soon. Their nine-game lead over the Wyverns this year keeps them eighth in the rankings despite losing two out of three against them over the weekend, but they could certainly move down a spot if they manage to lose their upcoming series against the Eagles as well.
DFS Name to Know: Ah Seop Son remains the Giants' top bat, as he's gone hitless just once in his last 15 games, driving in 15 runs while posting a .417/.431/.617 slash line over that stretch.
9. SK Wyverns
Last Week: 9
Run Differential: -81
The Lowdown: As recently as Friday, I'd considered bumping the Wyverns down to the No. 10 spot, as they'd won just three times in their last 20 games. Taking two of three from the Giants over the weekend keeps them from suffering that fate, but they remain a rather easy matchup for just about any team in the league at the moment.
DFS Name to Know: Jeong Choi continues to perform admirably despite getting minimal support from his teammates, as his three homers last week gave him nine in his last 19 games to go along with a .304/.385/.739 slash line.
10. Hanwha Eagles
Last Week: 10
Run Differential: -141
The Lowdown: As mentioned above, I wanted to move the Eagles up a spot this week, but it's tough to justify that when they won just a single game. While their victory against the Bears on Saturday means they've rather entertainingly beaten the defending champions more times than they've defeated any other team this season – accounting for nearly a quarter of their wins – they remain the league's biggest pushovers.
DFS Name to Know: 20-year-old second baseman Eun Won Jung is quietly starting to swing the bat well, going .386/.500/.545 at the plate over his last 12 games.