(ATTN: CLARIFIES stats in para 7)
By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) — NC Dinos’ catcher Yang Eui-ji has been voted the MVP of the virtual All-Star Game in South Korean baseball.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced Tuesday that Yang received 65 out of 82 media votes to earn the award after a contactless All-Star competition this month, with the winning side determined by individual players’ win probability added (WPA), an advanced statistic that measures a player’s contribution to a team’s victory, from Sept. 8-27.
The annual All-Star Game had been set for July 25 but was never played. The start of the regular season was pushed back by more than a month to May 5 due to the coronavirus outbreak, and in an attempt to squeeze the usual 144 games into a tighter calendar, the league decided to scrap the All-Star Game.
The KBO still held voting to keep fans engaged, and the selected starters will wear special patches on their jerseys the rest of the season.
The All-Star teams were the Dream Team, made up of players from the Doosan Bears, SK Wyverns, KT Wiz, Samsung Lions and Lotte Giants, and the Nanum Team, with players from the Kiwoom Heroes, LG Twins, NC Dinos, Kia Tigers and Hanwha Eagles.
The 12 positions to be filled are starting pitcher, middle reliever, closer, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop, left fielder, center fielder, right fielder and designated hitter.
The Nanum Team won the WPA race 13-5, with the team with the higher WPA total each day earning a point. Yang led all Nanum hitters with an average WPA of 0.0585. Yang batted .370 in 19 games during the Sept. 8-27 period, with six home runs and 26 RBIs. He earned a trophy, along with 2 million won (US$1,700) in prize money and a gold bar worth 700,000 won, courtesy of Shinhan Bank, the KBO’s title sponsor.
Yang also won the virtual home run derby, with players earning points for home runs — a grand slam was worth four points and a three-run home run was worth three points, and so forth. Yang collected 11 points from his six home runs, which included a grand slam on Sept. 18. Yang will receive another gold bar worth 700,000 won.