Saturday, December 24, 2011

Comparing Korean Baseball to Japan and America

I wanted to compare the difference between baseball in Japan and baseball in Korea. Big hat-tip to my friend Yusuke Ueno (@inter_ueno on Twitter) for compiling basically all of this data, which you can view here:
Of course, KBO stands for the Korean Baseball League, while NPB stands for the Japanese.

Karim Garcia: KBO: .341 OBP, .850 OPS, 2.56 PAPP, 1.58 PPG
NPB: .327 OBP, .804 OPS, 2.69 PAPP, 1.2 PPG

Cliff Brumbaugh: KBO: .414 OBP, .940 OPS, 2.19 PAPP, 1.52 PPG
NPB: .322 OBP, .744 OPS, 2.79 PAPP, 1.04 PPG

Tyrone Woods: KBO: .393 OBP, .967 OPS, 2.18 PAPP, 1.83 PPG
NPB: .391 OBP, .964 OPS, 2.19 PAPP, 1.65 PPG

Byung Kyu Lee: KBO: .370 OBP, .831 OPS, 1.43 PPG, 2.52 PAPP
NPB: .290 OBP, .676 OPS, .92 PPG, 3.23 PAPP

Jong Beom Lee: KBO: .371 OBP, .832 OPS, 1.54 PPG, 2.27 PAPP
NPB: .334 OBP, .741 OPS, 1.14 PPG, 2.81 PAPP

Seung-Yeop Lee: KBO: .407 OBP, 1.021 OPS, 1.92 PPG, 2.18 PAPP
NPB: .324 OBP, .818 OPS, 1.28 PPG, 2.69 PAPP

Tae Kyun Kim: KBO: .410 OBP, .938 OPS. 1.43 PPG, 2.24 PAPP
NPB: .346 OBP, .724 OPS, 1.18 PPG, 2.67 PAPP

Here are the averages:
KBO: .386 OBP, .911 OPS, 1.60 PPG, 2.31 PAPP
NPB: .333 OBP, .781 OPS, 1.2 PPG, 2.72 PAPP
Difference: -.053 OBP, -.130 OPS, -.4 PPG, .41 PAPP

Some Korean Players to look out for:

Dae-Ho Lee is going to Japan next year (according to Ueno on the link above)
KBO stats (career, big thanks to Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times, you can follow him at @jcoskrey):.396 OBP, .924 OPS, 2.36 PAPP, 1.44 PPG, 4.83 Simple WAR
NPB projection: .343 OBP, .794 OPS, 1.04 PPG, 2.77 PAPP, 1.46 Simple WAR
MLB projection: .310 OBP, .728 OPS, .55 PPG, 3.51 PAPP, -.9 Simple WAR

Sok-min Park: KBO stats (2009-11, big thanks to Dan, @MyKBO on Twitter, his site is .411 OBP, .911 OPS, 1.39 PPG, 2.42 PAPP, 5.4 Simple WAR
NPB projection: .358 OBP, .781 OPS, .99 PPG, 2.83 PAPP, 2.03 Simple WAR
MLB projection: .325 OBP, .715 OPS, .5 PPG, 3.57 PAPP, -.33 Simple WAR

Seong-heun Hong: KBO (2009-11): .413 OBP, .925 OPS, 1.47 PPG, 2.31 PAPP, 5.64
NPB projection: .360 OBP, .795 OPS, 1.07 PPG, 2.72 PAPP, 2.27 Simple WAR
MLB projection: .327 OBP, .729 OPS, .58 PPG, 3.46 PAPP,  -.09 Simple WAR

Tae-wan Kim: KBO (2009-11): .398 OBP, .851 OPS,1.2 PPG, 2.37 PAPP, 4.47 WAR
NPB projection: .345 OBP, .721 OPS, 2.78 PAPP, .8 PPG, 1.1 Simple WAR
MLB projection: .312 OBP, .655 OPS, 3.52 PAPP, .31 PPG, -1.25 Simple WAR

As you can see, the best KBO hitters would be decent NPB hitters, but below replacement Major Leaguers. I was a little surprised that the difference (especially in OBP) between KBO and NPB is larger than NPB and MLB. Then again, I don't think Americans respect the high level of play that the NPB exhibits.

Now for Pitchers:
This is interesting because Chan Ho Park is making the transition from Japan (he already went from MLB to NPB) to Korea (reminder for those not familiar with PE, the lower the number the better, a good reliever has a negative, an elite reliever is below -3, and anything under 2 is desired for a starter).

Gary Rath: KBO: (as a starter) 1.28 PE
NPB: (starter) 4.31 PE
AAA: (as a starter) 3.16 PE
MLB Projection (from AAA stats): 5.69 PE

Seth Greisinger: KBO: (as a starter) -.99 PE
NPB: (starter) .45 PE
MLB: (starter) 5.29 PE, -.2 WAR

Narciso Elvira: KBO (as a starter) -.88 PE
NPB: (starter) 2.62 PE
AAA: (starter) 2.51 PE
MLB Projection (from AAA stats): 5.03 PE

Brandon Knight: KBO (mainly a starter) .76 PE
NPB: (mainly a starter) 2.65 PE
AAA: (starter) 1.01 PE
MLB Projection (from AAA stats): 3.54 PE

Ken Kadokura: KBO (starter) .64 PE
NPB: (both, but more starts than relief appearances) .31 PE

Dong Yeol Sun: KBO (mainly a reliever)  -5.58 PE
NPB: (reliever) -4.45 PE

Sung Min Cho: KBO (mainly a reliever) 5.8 PE
NPB: (mainly a reliever) -.73 PE

Sang Hoon Lee: KBO (mainly a reliever) -2.13 PE
NPB: (mainly a reliever) -.16 PE

Dae-Sung Koo: KBO -3.16 PE
NPB: -1.16 PE

Chang-Yong Lim: KBO (mainly a reliever) -.54 PE
NPB: (reliever) -3.7 PE

Dustin Nippert: MLB: (mainly as a reliever) 2.44 PE, .1 WAR in 268 innings

KBO: (starter) -1.28 PE
NPB projection: -.786 PE
KBO total: -4.8 PE. KBO average: -.48 PE
NPB total: .14 PE. NPB average: .014 PE
Difference: .494 PE added from KBO to NPB
From NPB to MLB about 2.046 PE is added
From KBO to MLB: 2.54 PE is added according to the KBO-NPB-MLB metric, averaging with the above with Major League experience (or AAA projections) gives us a 4.27 addition of PE from KBO to MLB

Chan Ho Park: NPB (Starter): 3.79 PE
MLB: (Starter and Reliever) .546 PE .96 WAR per year (However, he has clearly regressed, and it makes sense to throw his MLB numbers out for projection).
MLB projection: 5.836 PE
KBO projection: 3.296

Mario Santiago, a member of the Royals organization, has decided to go pitch in the KBO instead.
AAA (mainly as a reliever): 3.66 PE
MLB Projection: 6.19 PE
KBO Projection: 3.65 PE
Byung Hyun Kim: MLB: (reliever) -.344 PE, .94 WAR a season
NPB Projection: -2.39
(this is interesting because he actually signed a deal with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, but never actually pitched in any games)
KBO Projection: (most people believe he will pitch there in 2012) -2.884

Some KBO pitchers to watch

Seung-hwan Oh: KBO (2011): (reliever) -9.3 PE
NPB Projection: -8.81 PE
MLB Projection: -4.6 PE

Dae-hyun Jung: KBO (2011): (reliever) -1.45 PE
NPB Projection: -.956 PE
MLB Projection: 3.314 PE

Won-jun Jang: KBO (2011): (starter) .96 PE
NPB Projection: 1.454 PE
MLB Projection: 5.23 PE

Suk-Min Yoon: KBO (2011): (starter) -3.57 PE
NPB Projection: -3.076 PE
MLB Projection: .7 PE

Dong-seop Shim: KBO (2011): (reliever) -5.04 PE
NPB Projection: -4.55 PE
MLB Projection: -.77 PE

As we can see, there is a much smaller difference in pitchers between KBO and NPB. Some of the better KBO pitchers can have success in the MLB according to the projections, unlike the hitters, who were all below replacement.

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