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Rival sluggers shortlisted for MVP in S. Korean baseball

All Headlines 15:38 October 08, 2015

SEOUL, Oct. 8 (Yonhap) -- Two rival sluggers have been shortlisted for the MVP award in South Korean baseball.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced four MVP candidates for its 2015 season on Thursday. Eric Thames of the NC Dinos and Park Byung-ho of the Nexen Heroes headline the list.

Thames became the first KBO player ever with a 40-40 season, after hitting 47 home runs and stealing 40 bases. He also won the batting title with a .381 average, while leading the league with a .497 on-base percentage and .790 slugging percentage.

Only two foreign players, Tyrone Woods of the OB Bears in 1998 and Danie Rios of the Doosan Bears in 2007, have won MVPs in the KBO.

Park, the MVP in 2012 and 2013, led the KBO with 53 home runs and 146 RBIs, a new single-season record. He's also the first player to hit 50 or more home runs in back-to-back seasons and to lead the league in home runs and RBIs in four consecutive seasons.

The Dinos' right-hander Eric Hacker and the Kia Tigers' left-hander Yang Hyeon-jong will also vie for MVP. Hacker had the most wins this season with 19, while Yang posted the lowest ERA at 2.44.

Three candidates for the Rookie of the Year were also announced Thursday. Koo Ja-wook, outfielder for the Samsung Lions who finished third with a .349 batting average, will battle Nexen shortstop Kim Ha-seong and KT Wiz right-hander Cho Moo-keun.

Koo added 11 homers and 57 RBIs, while leading all rookies with 97 runs scored.

Filling for Kang Jung-ho, who signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the offseason, Kim hit .290 with 19 home runs and 73 RBIs and 22 steals.

Cho went 8-5 with four saves while posting a 1.88 ERA in 71 2/3 innings.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Nov. 24.


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