5 things to know about the 2020 KBO Season

    KBO 2020

    Korean Baseball fans rejoiced as it was recently announced that the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) regular season will return on May 5. Meanwhile, MLB also announced its plans to start its own 2020 regular season in June, making this resurgence of live baseball action great news for everyone.

    Here are five things you need to know about the KBO 2020 season, set to start about a week from now. And for even more of the latest baseball news and events, head over to our Nitrogen Sports Blog page right after this.
     

    Team Names and Regular Season Format

     
    Contrary to MLB team names, KBO team names are made up of their main sponsor instead of their hometown. There are 10 teams overall in the KBO: the Doosan Bears, Hanwa Eagles, Kia Tigers, Kiwoom Heroes, KT Wiz, Lotte Giants, NC Dinos, Samsung Lions, and SK Wyverns.

    Each of these teams plays a 144-game regular-season schedule, facing each of their nine league opponents a total of 16 times throughout the season. This means that the KBO has a totally-balanced head-to-head matchup slate compared to the MLB’s more division-focused format.
     

    Bears Rule this Korean Kingdom

     
    Heading into the 2020 KBO season, the Doosan Bears are the ones you need to know as the consensus favorites in the league. The Bears are the reigning league champs, having made the Finals for five consecutive years and winning three titles along their rampage.

    Other contenders in the league worth mentioning are the Samsung Lions (KBO-best 18 playoff appearances; 2014 title), the Kia Tigers (most championship titles with 11; 2017 title), and the SK Wyverns (four titles and four runner-up finishes since joining the league in 2000; 2018 title).
     

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    An All-DH League with Tie-Game Outcomes

     
    Similar to our recent coverage of the CBPL, the KBO doesn’t require pitchers to hit in the batting order, making one spot open for a designated hitter at all times. And just like the CBPL, a regular-season game will result in a tie if both teams are still even on the scoreboard after 12 innings.

    This regular-season format makes for some high-powered action on the field while not dragging the game on for too long by incorporating draws as a form of a game’s result.
     
    Read: 5 things to know about CPBL season 2020
     

    Tons of Former Major League Players Around

     
    Several former MLB players are now playing in South Korea and finding success overseas. With pitching coming at a premium in the league, expect to see pitchers such as Dan Straily, Mike Wright and Aaron Sampson take the mound for the first time this 2020 KBO season, as well as the return of Casey Kelly, William Cuevas and Tyler Wilson.

    Although the league is already packed with sluggers and contact-hitters, you can still expect to see the likes of Preston Tucker and Aaron Altherr step up to the plate as well.
     

    Promise of MLB-Worthy Talent

     
    Just this past December, the St. Louis Cardinals signed pitcher Kwang-hyun Kim from the SK Wyverns to a two-year, $11-million contract, proving there’s plenty of talent in the KBO that can play in the majors. The 31-year-old Kim won the KBO MVP and Golden Glove Award in 2008.

    Speaking of MVPs, former MLB player Josh Lindblom spent two seasons in the KBO playing for the Doosan Bears and won the 2019 MVP title himself. Lindblom is now set to make his return to the majors as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, who signed him to a three-year deal this offseason.

    Make sure to check out our Nitrogen Sports Blog page for all the latest baseball news updates from the 2020 KBO season and all the other professional baseball leagues from around the globe.
     

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