By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, June 2 (Yonhap) -- Two aces and two hitters will contend for South Korean baseball's top player honor for the month of May.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) unveiled four candidates for the Player of the Month award Tuesday. They are NC Dinos' starter Koo Chang-mo, Kiwoom Heroes' starter Eric Jokisch, LG Twins' first baseman Roberto Ramos and Doosan Bears' designated hitter Jose Miguel Fernandez.
Koo and Jokisch are tied for the league lead at four wins apiece. Koo is the sole leader in other Triple Crown categories, with a 0.51 ERA and 38 strikeouts. Koo is also tops in walks and hits per innings pitched (WHIP) with 0.60. Thanks to the breakout campaign by the 23-year-old lefty, the Dinos jumped out to a 17-3 start, the best 20-game record to start a season in league history. They're in first place at 18-5.
Jokisch, in his second KBO season, is second behind Koo in both ERA (0.90) and WHIP (0.87).
At the plate, Ramos, the first-year Mexican slugger, is leading the KBO with 10 home runs after 23 games. He is at the top of the leaderboard with .813 in slugging percentage and 1.264 in on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS).
Fernandez, the second-year Cuban hitting machine, is leading the batting race with a .468 average and 44 hits. He has already had three four-hit games. He's second behind Ramos in slugging percentage (.691) and OPS (1.191).
A combination of media votes and online fan votes will determine the winner, to be announced next Monday. The winner will receive 2 million won (US$1,630) in prize money and a gold bar worth 600,000 won, courtesy of the league's title sponsor, Shinhan Bank.
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