Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Pitching Analysis and Stacks for July 19th
There are very few gas cans set to pitch tonight so selecting which offense to stack is a bit tricky. Three starting pitchers stand out from the pack and would be my entire starting pitcher pool tonight in MME. Personally, I would rather mess around with stack exposure and lock in the pitchers than try and get too cute. Let’s get to work…
Note: there may be some weather concerns in the KIW/SK and HAN/LG games which would drastically change the pitching landscape on this slate and SP2 would become a complete crapshoot.
Vegas Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook:
Dan Straily, Lotte Giants, $9,400 DK/$24 FD – After fantasy players enjoyed a dominant performance from the top pitcher in the league, Chang Mo Koo (NCD), last night, they will have a chance to back the second-best starter on Sunday morning: Dan Straily (LOT). Each of Straily’s last two times on the mound, he has completely shutout his opponents, and has topped 30 DK fantasy points in each. Six different active hitters on the Lions have topped a 23-percent whiff rate this year, per Sports and Info Solutions, and four hitters in the lineup (min. 60 ABs) have struck out at over a 25-percent rate overall. The Lions offense ranks league average across the board and are missing one of their top bats in Tyler Saladino (SAM). Basically, most of the KBO is overmatched versus an ex-MLB pitcher like Straily, and the Lions offense is no different despite their recent hot streak.
Casey Kelly, LG Twins, $8,200 DK/$23 FD – Casey Kelly (LG) is tonight’s lucky pitcher tasked with facing the Hanwha Eagles but it should be noted their lineup received a huge boost yesterday. By starting in the cleanup spot last night, foreign player and ex-Astros/Rockies/Indians outfielder Brandon Barnes (HAN) appeared in his first game for his new team following his 14-day quarantine. Of course, his presence in the lineup gives the Eagles exactly one hitter to be fearful of, and Kelly has strung together back-to-back productive starts in tough matchups (Lions and Bears). Kelly is one of just three pitchers on the slate to own a FIP under 3.70, an ISO allowed of under 0.100 and a HR/9 rate of 0.50 or lower since the start of 2018 (along with Straily and Warwick Saupold (HAN)). A talented pitcher is always in play against the worst offense in the league and tonight is no different.
Jake Brigham, Kiwoom Heroes, $7,900 DK/$20 FD – As of this moment in time, the Eagles being the worst offense in the league is a bit subject, as the team that has struck out at the highest rate is also missing their top hitter: Jeong Choi (SK). No Choi in the lineup is absolutely massive as he leads the team in wRC+ by over 20 points, wOBA by over 35 points and is one of just two hitters on the roster with over six homers (Choi leads the team with 13). Sure, Dong Min Han (SK), the team’s leader in ISO, recently returned to the squad, but this is a strikeout-prone group that clearly will struggle to score runs without Choi regardless. Jake Brigham (KIW) is coming off an excellent 2019 season in which he held opponents to a ridiculous 0.28 HR/9 rate and finished with a 3.23 FIP. By comparison, 3.23 is the exact FIP teammate Eric Jokisch (KIW) sports through 13 starts, and he is widely considered a top five pitcher in the league. While Brigham started the season slow, the time off was likely exactly what the doctor ordered (literally) to get him right, as he returned to throw five shutout innings versus a league-best Dinos offense less than a week ago. If trying to differentiate from the field, fading Straily for Brigham as second starting pitcher on DK is a great way to do it (as Brigham projects similarly on a per-dollar basis).
Probable starter Min Woo Lee (KIA) has now allowed three-plus earned runs (ERs) in five of his last six games and he has seen his FIP come crashing down to 4.57 during that span (it started under 4.00 prior to this span). Besides missing bats at a mediocre rate (15.2-percent), Lee has walked opponents at a middling 8.2-percent rate, yielded a 0.73 HR/9 rate and has probably been lucky in the process (as his BABIP allowed ranks lowest amongst starters on the team by 15 percentage points). If failing to miss bats, the Bears can make a starter’s day miserable, as they strike out at the lowest rate in the league and average the second most runs per gamer (R/G). Four different hitters in the lineup have posted double-digit extra-base hit (XBH) rates in the split against right-handed pitching (RHP) and lefties have hit over 30 percentage points higher against Lee. Up to seven lefties can be featured in a Bears lineup so it is no wonder their 6.0-run implied total is tied for highest on the slate.
Naturally, I am the staff’s KT Wiz truther, so readers are probably going to take this with a grain of salt, but their offense is completely stackable against Jae Hak Lee (NCD). This year alone, Lee has pitched like the clear weak link in the Dinos lineup: 5.84 ERA, 5.40 FIP, 1.17 HR/9 rate and 14.7-percent K rate all rank last on the team (amongst qualified starters) and only Mike Wright (NCD) has walked opposing hitters at a higher rate. A disaster of a season for Lee should only get worse versus the clear MVP in the KBO. Just how magical of a season has Mel Rojas Jr. had to this point? Well:
The man is top three in virtually every offensive category and that is before discussing the entire team which ranks third in R/G, second in HR/9 rate and is susceptible to pitchers that can miss bats. Spoiler alert: Lee really does not miss bats which means the entire lineup is on red-alert to take him deep. Feel free to roster the best hitter in the league and pair him with names like Baek Ho Kang (KTW), Yong Ho Jo (KTW), Jae Gyun Hwang (KTW), Han Joon Yoo (KTW) and Sung Woo Jang (KTW).
Last season, stacking against Warwick Saupold (HAN) would not have been an option much of the time because the league had not figured him out yet. 2019 Saupold induced ground balls at a high rate and consistently limited damage against him. Unfortunately, the 2020 version has tried a similar strategy, but has not enjoyed the same success. Out of all the starting pitchers on the slate, Saupold’s 15.7-percent K rate dating back two seasons ranks second lowest, and he has struck out just 13.7-percent of opposing hitters this year alone. The last time Saupold allowed fewer than seven hits in a start was May 22 and only seven pitchers (min. 20 IP) have yielded more hits per nine innings than the supposed Hanwha “ace.” Roberto Ramos (LG), Hyun Soo Kim (LG) and Ji Hwan Oh (LG) are the clear top targets although it should be noted that Saupold has produced reverse-splits this year in a small sample (which was not the case at the MLB level). Still, the fact that Saupold has not missed bats makes strikeout-prone Hyung Jong Lee (LG) one of the most intriguing tournament options on the entire slate (and he is only priced at $3,400 on DK).
Honorable Mention: David Buchanan (SAM) has posted a FIP well over a full run higher than his ERA so he has been extremely lucky and the Lotte Giants have hit RHP quite well this season.