Pitcher Casey Kelly of the LG Twins throws in the top of the first inning during the KBO League game between Kiwoom Heroes and LG Twins at the Jamsil Baseball Stadium on May 16, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images)
By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network
The Korea Baseball organization (KBO) begins its season today, April 1, and will operate during the same time frame as the Major League Baseball regular season in the United States.
Before the 2023 KBO season kicks off, let’s take a glance at each team’s history, and players to look for this year.
Doosan Bears (1982-Present)
The Doosan Bears are five-time KBO champions, winning the title most recently in 2019. They finished the 2022 season with a win-loss record of 60-82. The Bears are managed by Lee Seung-yuop.
Starting pitcher Raul Alcantara was outstanding for Doosan in 2022, and will be a major factor once again for the team in 2023. Last season, he started 31 games and went 20-2 in 198.2 innings.
Catcher Yang Eui-ji will look to duplicate an impressive 2022 at the plate. In 130 games, Eui-ji batted .283 with 20 home runs for Doosan. He struck out only 48 times, and walked 60.
Hanwha Eagles (1986-Present)
The Hanwha Eagles have won one KBO championship in 1999. They finished the 2022 season with a win-loss record of 46-96. The Eagles are managed by Carlos Subero.
The 2022 campaign was a rough season for the Eagle pitching staff, but Yun San-heum was a bright spot. The relief pitcher appeared in 37 games, and had a 2.67 ERA. He only allowed one home run, and struck out 46 hitters.
Chae Eun-seong will be looked upon to be an offensive threat in 2023, after batting .296 and hitting 12 home runs last season. The first baseman’s OPS was .791, and he was hit by a pitch 21 times.
NC Dinos (2011-Present)
The NC Dinos have won one KBO championship in 2020. They finished the 2022 season with a win-loss record of 67-74. The Dinos are managed by Kang In-Kwon.
Starting Pitcher Koo Chang-mo started 19 games for the Dinos in 2022, and went 11-5. He struck out 108 hitters in 111.2 innings pitched, posting a 2.10 ERA. Chang walked just 29 batters.
Second baseman Park Min-woo may not have hit a ton of home runs in 2022 with four, but he helped the team in multiple other categories. He only struck out 55 times in 451 plate appearances, and showed off his speed, swiping 21 bags.
KT Wiz (2013-Present)
The KT Wiz have won one KBO championship in 2021. They finished the 2022 season with a win-loss record of 80-62. The Wiz are managed by Lee Kang- chul.
Starting pitcher Kim Min-su was stellar for the Wiz in 2022. The right-hander had a 1.90 ERA in 80.2 innings. Min struck out 91 hitters, and walked only 15.
First baseman Park Byung- ho, who previously played in the MLB with the Minnesota Twins, hit 35 home runs last year with the KT Wiz. The slugger had a .908 OPS, and recorded 118 hits in 487 plate appearances, resulting in a .275 batting average.
LG Twins (1982-Present)
The LG Twins have won two KBO championships, most recently in 1994. They finished the 2022 season with a win-loss record of 87-55. The Twins are managed by Yuom Kyoung- youb.
The Twins pitching staff is led by Casey Kelly, who started 27 games in 2022. Kelly was drafted by the Boston Red Sox 30th overall in the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft. Kelley pitched 166.1 innings for the Twins in 2022, and posted a 2.54 ERA.
Third baseman Moon Bo-gyeong was a solid contributor for the Twins at the plate in 2022. In 466 plate appearances, Bo-gyeong hit .315 with nine home runs. Additionally, he crossed home plate 52 times and stole seven bases.