Tuesday, June 9th Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Betting Guide
Tuesday’s KBO slate is loaded with pitchers whose samples in the league are tiny. Therefore, bettors will need to make inferences in order to bet this slate, and will have to try and get ahead of the curve! This chart shows how tonight’s probable pitchers have fared (specifically in the KBO) since the start of the 2018 season (including their 2020 stats):
Hanwha Eagles @ Lotte Giants
Following the team’s 13th straight loss (not a typo), Eagles manager Yong-duk Han resigned and was replaced by Won-ho Choi. However, that was far from the only roster movement resulting from the ongoing losing streak as a whopping nine players were called-up/sent down after last game. Although some of those sent down were pitchers, the bottom half of this lineup is now filled with minor league quality hitters, which could be argued is not much different than before. Still, the quality of this lineup is by far the worst in the league, as they rank dead last in runs per game (R/G), home runs (HRs) per game (HR/G) and BB rate while strikout out at the highest rate. Sure, a few of their top hitters own the platoon edge against Adrian Sampson (LOT), who has struggled in his two starts, but does it matter? Sampson is a former MLB pitcher who should get rolling before too long and this is the perfect get-right spot.
As for the Giants, the loss of Byung Hun Min (LOT) has left an already thin lineup even thinner. Warwick Saupold (HAN) is theoretically the best pitcher the Eagles have to offer; he has produced a 3.07 ERA, 3.81 FIP and 1.27 WHIP in 41.0 innings this year. Amazingly, Saupold has done so with a maesly 11.6-percent K rate, so he relies on opponents hitting themselves out to register a vasty majority of his outs. Luckily for him, the Giants are a heavily right-handed squad that ranks ninth in R/G and HR/9 and it is not like they strike out a lot (17.0-percent) to begin with. From that perspective, this may be the Eagles best shot of winning a game in over two weeks, but it is tough to win any game with essentially a minor league squad.
Lotte Giants ML -165, 1U
Kia Tigers @ KT Wiz
When talking about the Wiz’s pitching staff, discussions always must start with their bullpen which ranks by far dead last in ERA (7.53). Before the Tigers offense gets to the bullpen tonight, they will square off against Hyeong Jun So (KTW) coming off his best start of the season. Despite pitching well against the Bears, So struck out exactly two batters for the fifth consecutive start. Amongst pitchers with at least a five start sample size at the KBO level on this slate, So’s FIP ranks second worst on this slate and his K rate is by far the lowest. He projects as a below-average pitcher in the long run followed by the league’s worst bullpen. Good luck trying to bet on that setup.
Hyun Jong Yang (KIA) is without a doubt one of the most talented pitchers scheduled to start tonight and he will take on a Wiz team whose K rate continues to rise rapidly. Just a week ago, the Wiz ranked second to last in the league in K rate at around 16-percent, and that tally has since sky-rocketed to 18.0-percent. Yang’s 20.6-percent K rate since the start of 2018 is tops of any starting pitcher on the salte and the Wiz are beginning to feel the impact of their offensive injuries: Baek Ho Kang (KTW) and Jae Gyun Hwang (KTW). It is possible Hwang returns to the lineup tonight after just a one game absence but, if he does not, the Wiz are down to about three meaningful bats against left-handed pitching (LHP).
Kia Tigers ML -138, 3U
Doosan Bears @ NC Dinos
With Jae Il Oh (DOO) back and hitting third consistently for the Bears, the team now rolls out seven-plus lefties in their lineup on a consistent basis. Why is that important? Well, Sung Young Choi (DOO) rates as one of the worst starters on the slate but at least he is a southpaw. That will put the majority of the Bears lineup in an uncomfortable situation against a starter who struggles with his control. Can the Bears still overcome the odds and produce against a pitcher with a 5.00 FIP over his last 24 starts? Of course.
On one hand, Je-yeong Jo (DOO) has to feel great about the opportunity to make his KBO debut on ESPN for a multinational audience. Jo is a former fourth-round pick of the Bears and is just 19-years old. On the other hand, Jo will be thrown right into the fire, being asked to toe the mound versus the league’s best offense and team: NC Dinos. Jo is a RHP which means Min Woo Park (NCD) and Sung Bum Na (NCD) will own the platoon edge against him…and that is before mentioning KBO wOBA leader Jin Sung Kang (NCD), Aaron Altherr (NCD), Eu Ji Yang (NCD) and the rest of the gang. Even if he were to hold his own, the Bears feature a bullpen that owns a 6.73 ERA through 29-games. Simply put: it would be shocking if the Dinos did not win this ballgame.
NC Dinos ML -167, 2U
SK Wyverns @ LG Twins
Since Jeong Choi (SK) returned last game as a pinch-hitter after sitting out one full game, it is reasonable to infer he will be back hitting third for the Wyverns tonight. Probable starter Casey Kelly (LG) is coming off a game where he was blasted for 10 baserunners and eight earned runs (ERs) in five innings by the Lions. Despite owning a 6.12 ERA, Kelly’s FIP sits a 3.47, and his .359 BABIP puts him amongst the unluckiest pitchers in the entire league. Kelly has a past season of data in the KBO and the results were mostly good. Odrisamer Despaigne (KTW) proved this weekend that it is a risky proposition to back a pitcher following an implosion and bettors should feel similarly about Kelly. Having said that, the Wyverns are amongst the best possible matchups for Kelly, as their best hitters are right-handed and they strike out at a 18.9-percent rate (third highest in the league).
On the Twins side, Geon Wook Lee (SK) too is coming off a beatdown, although he only lasted three innings against the Dinos. In that game, Lee, a converted reliever, only threw 63 pitches partially because he allowed nine baserunners and five ERs. Lee’s seasonal high in pitches is 73 so he is a risk for an early hook any time out. Behind him, the Wyverns bullpen is the definition of average, which puts guys like Hyun Soo Kim (LG) and Roberto Ramos (LG) in favorable matchups throughout. Backing a pitcher who was roasted his last time out is a risky proposition and yet backing Lee/Wyverns bullpen is even riskier.
LG Twins ML -264, 1U
Kiwoom Heroes @ Samsung Lions
With former KBO MVP Keon Chang Seo (KIW) back leading off, this Heroes lineup is no joke, and is well-suited to hit either side of the plate. His presence is bad news for Tae In Won (SAM) who has pitched quite well in the early-going for the Lions. Through six appearances, Won sports a 2.45 ERA and 1.12 WHIP but the underlying numbers tell a slightly different story. Not only have opponents only posted a .263 BABIP against him but his 83.3-percent strand rate is over 15 percentage points higher than lsat year and he still rarely misses bats (15.8-percent K rate). The best way to beat this Heroes offense has been to induce whiffs (Heroes rank fourth in K rate) so Won may not be up the task.
The Lions will welcome back Ja Wook Koo (SAM) to the lineup on Tuesday morning. For those unfamiliar with his skill set, Koo ranked second amongst active Lions in homers last year (15) and had hit 14-plus bombs in four consecutive seasons heading into 2020. Unfortunately, Koo is returning to the lineup just as 2019 team HR leader Won Seok Lee (SAM) headed to the injured list but it should be noted the lineup is slightly deeper now than it was this weekend. 21-year old opposing pitcher Young Gun Jo (KIW) has thrown a total of 6.1 innings at the KBO level so he is tough to gauge. His FIP is approaching 7.00 in that tiny sample and it is concerning he was unable to miss the bats of the porous Eagles lineup his first time out. Quite likely, Jo is going to take time to adjust to this league, which makes this a sneaky spot for the Lions to score some runs.
Kiwoom Heroes/Samsung Lions Over 10.0 Runs, 2U