KBO midseason update: MVP and Rookie of Year standings

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jul 19, 2017 - 15:06
  • Updated : Jul 19, 2017 - 15:06
Using a statistic called WAR, KIA’s Choi Hyung-woo and Nexen’s Lee Jeong-hoo currently stand as runaway front-runners in the 2017 KBO MVP and Rookie of the Year races, respectively.

WAR, or wins above replacement, is a statistic that attempts to compute player value, allowing for players across positions and time periods to be compared. Roughly-speaking, the average WAR for a starting position player or pitcher is around 2.

In addition to WAR, Choi is currently at or near the top of the KBO leaderboards in several offensive categories, including batting average (.374, 2nd), home runs (22, 3rd), runs batted in (81, 1st), on-base percentage (.481, 1st) and slugging percentage (.689, 1st). He was also the leader in WAR at last season’s halfway point, with 4.76, part of what secured him a huge free-agent contract the past off-season.
KIA Tigers outfielder Choi Hyoung-woo batting in a game on July 15, 2017. (Yonhap)

However, Choi has not yet won a Helix Player award, awarded to the player who earns the most WAR in one month. This season, the recipients have been SK‘s Choi Jeong (April, 1.93), Lotte’s Park Sae-woong (May, 1.78) and Doosan‘s Kim Jae-hwan (June, 2.14). However, Kia’s Choi is currently leading the standings for July, and may capture his first award.
Statistics retrieved from Ilgan Sports.

Meanwhile, in the Rookie of the Year award standings, Nexen‘s Lee Jeong-hoo, nicknamed “The Wind’s Grandson,” is looking to be the first player to win the award straight from high school since Doosan‘s Lim Tae-hoon in 2007. In 86 games in the season’s first half, Lee hit .327 and collected 103 hits and 65 runs, good for 10th and 4th in the league respectively. He is on pace to blow away the previous record for hits by a rookie, set by LG‘s Seo Yong-bin in 1994 with 157.

Lee Jeong-hoo’s potential Rookie of the Year win would be Nexen‘s second straight, after Lee’s teammate Shin Jae-young won last year. At this point Lee does not have much competition, his 1.81 WAR dwarfing the combined totals of his two closest competitors, SK’s Jo Yong-ho (0.61) and KIA’s Choi Won-jun (0.52).
Statistics retrieved from Ilgan Sports.

Each month, the position player and pitcher that are awarded the Helix Player award earn a 1 million won ($890) bonus.

By Alex Park / Intern reporter (