BASEBALL'S BACK, BABY

Week 2 KBO power rankings

Photo by Paul Muth.

Week one power rankings usually never mean anything. There's a reason that baseball plays over 100 games, and this past week the KBO did a great job of either introducing or simply reminding everyone of how chaotic the league is. Because of the lack of bullpen depth across the league, no lead is safe. It's not always fun for fans of the specific team that it happens to, but it makes for a more interesting game for the rest of us.

Last week we started to see teams settle into their identities. The Lotte Giants cooled off something fierce, while the Kia Tigers and LG Twins shook off their slow starts. Meanwhile, the NC Dinos have just been finding ways to win all along.

1. NC Dinos (10-1); previous week rank - 3

The Dinos are the toughest out in the KBO at the moment. The Dinos put together 3 extra innings wins in one week, which is more strain anyone's heart needs in that short amount of time. They're currently riding a 6 game win streak thanks in part to Sung Bum-Na's 3 home runs this week alone (one of which was the league's first walkoff Dino-Dinger). The Dinos have a tough start to the week against the defending champ Doosan Bears, but then it eases up against the Hanwha Eagles.

2. LG Twins (7-4); previous week rank - 5

The Twins started the week 2-3 and ended it 7-4, so you could say they figured some stuff out. Taking on the league-worst SK Wyverns is sure to do that for any team, but following that up with a series win against last year's Korean Series runner-up is a good sign that things are headed in the right direction. Nothing says KBO-ness more than their Tuesday victory, scoring 14 runs without a single home run. Starting pitcher Casey Kelly turned in a solid performance Saturday with 6 innings of 3 hit baseball. The Twins schedule looks pretty favorable as they match up with two sub .500 clubs this week (Lions and Wiz).

3. Doosan Bears (7-4); previous week rank - 4

The Bears are almost as exhausting to watch as the Dinos. They sport the league's best offense, but it's paired with the league's worst bullpen. They've yet to lose a series this season, but they also haven't swept anyone. First baseman Oh Jae-Il has been on a tear, batting .408 last week with 2 home runs and 10 RBIs. The Bears have an opportunity to gain some serious early season ground on the Dinos beginning tomorrow, before they finish the week against the unimpressive Lions.

4. Lotte Giants (7-4); previous week rank - 1

The Lotte Giants had nowhere to go but down last week, and that's exactly what they did. Dropping a series against the Bears is understandable, but to follow it up by dropping a series to the sub .500 eagles will get you dropped in the power rankings. Son Ah-seop was out of his mind at the plate last week batting .608 despite last week's 2-4 record. This week they'll look to get back on track against the Tigers and the Heroes.

5. Kiwoom Heroes (7-5); previous week rank - 2

Kiwoom found themselves in a similar situation as the Giants, taking a solid first week and squandering it. The offense just isn't really there at the moment, as evidence last Wednesday when they were shut out against the 9th place Lions. This week Kiwoom should be able to get back on track, with an easy series against a Wyverns team on a 9 game losing streak. They'll follow that up with a statement series against the Lotte Giants.

6. Kia Tigers (5-7); previous rank - 8

The Tigers made up some ground this week, due in large part to the bat of former Astro Preston Tucker. En route to a 13-4 victory against the Bears, Tucker went 4-4 with a home run and 7 RBIs. That's impressive at any level. Unfortunately, the rest of the offense has yet to catch up to Tucker's blistering pace, and they remain a sub .500 team. If they can take the series from the Giants to begin the week, the following series against the Wyverns could start some positive momentum to push them back into the win column.

7. Hanwha Eagles (5-7); previous rank - 7

The Eagles inexplicably finished last week with a solid series win against the Giants. They are the second worst offense in the league, and the fact that they've even won 5 games is pretty surprising. They have a fairly even match up to start the week against the KT Wiz, before they travel to take on the league leading NC Dinos later in the week.

8. KT Wiz (4-7); previous week - 9

The Wiz seem to be the most unlucky team so far to start the season. They're second in the league in runs scored, and still only have 4 wins to show. That's baseball for ya. That's the KBO for ya. They should be able to gain some ground early in the week against the Eagles, but we'll see if that gives them any momentum when they take on the LG Twins later on in the week.

9. Samsung Lions (4-8); previous week - 6

I don't think the Lions will be down here for that long. They're not very good at the moment, but they're not this bad. This week probably won't be the one that they make up any ground through, as they take on the LG Twins and the Doosan Bears. Maybe next week fellas.

10. SK Wyverns (1-10); previous rank - 10

Meet your 2019 Orioles. These guys are in for a long season.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images.

J.J. Watt, the Houston Texans all-time leader in sacks (96.0), is entering his ninth season with the franchise ahead of what will certainly be an anomaly year for the NFL. Due to the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, there is serious doubt that the NFL will be able to play a full 16-game schedule, while others express their concern with the league's inability to play any form of football come the fall of 2020.

There are a lot of uncertainties surrounding the league this coming season, which is becoming a theme for Watt's future in Houston.

The 31-year-old defensive end has two years remaining on his six-year, $100 million contract extension he signed in September of 2014. But as he prepares to embark on another year with the Texans through Zoom meetings with his teammates, a new contract is not on Watt's priority list.

"No, I don't think that's necessary," Watt told Houston reporters on Wednesday. "I fully understand and respect the situation that I'm in at the moment, and what's happened in the past few years, so I'm not gonna sit here and demand anything. I think if I went back and asked for an extension or more money, I think that would be the wrong move. I am just going out there to prove my worth and to help this team win games."

As of now, it is unsure what the future holds for Watt's career with the Texans. Should management re-sign the three-time Defensive Player of the Year winner (2012, 2014 & 2015), the question becomes: How much is Watt worth as he enters the twilight of his career? It's the subject that will be the driving force when discussing Watt's future with the team, and the segment that sparked a trade rumor of his departure to the Chicago Bears.

Although his on-field production remains extremely valuable, Watt has had a difficult time trying to stay healthy. Since 2016, he has missed 32 out of a possible 64 games due to an abundance of injuries. In 2019, Watt missed half of the season after suffering a torn pectoral during the Texans' 27-24 victory over the then-Oakland Raiders.

"My goal for every season is to do whatever possible to help this team win, and number one, that means staying healthy," he said. "You have to be on the field in order to help the team win, and then it is to play at the peak physical level I am capable of. It is just making sure I am in the best possible shape to perform that way."

Contract and injuries aside, the five-time Pro-Bowler is excited about his opportunity to play under new defensive coordinator, Anthony Weaver. During his introductory press conference two weeks ago, Weaver said Watt will remain the focal point for the Texans' defense in 2020, but acknowledged getting the future Hall of Famer through 16 games remains a hurdle.

After four seasons serving as Houston's defensive line coach, the Texans promoted Weaver to defensive coordinator in January to replace Romeo Crennel.

"I love [Anthony] Weaver... I think that he has a great mixture of knowledge of the game, experience, but also personality to be able to handle the players in the room," Watt said. "To be able to inject some fun and excitement into meetings, practice and everything, all while bringing the knowledge necessary to run a good defense."

Under the guidance of a new defensive coordinator, Weaver may be just the coach to help Watt rekindle the potential that made him an All-Pro defensive end. Regardless of the uncertainties surrounding his future at the conclusion of his contract, Watt is hoping he will have the opportunity to finish his career where it started — in Houston.

"That is a goal of mine, and this city [Houston] has been incredible to me since I got here," Watt said. "I don't know what's going to happen in the future, but I certainly hope that's the case."

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome