Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Pitching Analysis and Stacks for July 1st
After getting rained out last night, the same matchup from last night is scheduled between the Hanwha Eagles and Kia Tigers. Whereas the Tigers opened as -225 favorites last night, they have moved to -290, which shows just what a huge advantage they have…and they are not the heaviest favorites of the night. Early on, there are looking like no weather issues on this slate, so let’s get to work…
Vegas Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook:
Chang Mo Koo, NC Dinos, $11,000 DK/$29 FD – Well, the best pitcher in the KBO will toe the mound tonight and will take on a Giants ball club that has struggled to hit left-handed pitching (LHP). Despite the fact the Giants lineup is loaded with righties, guys like Jun Woo Jeon (LOT), Dixon Machado (LOT) and Hoon Jung (LOT) are all hitting under .210 in the splitt versus southpaws. The matchup is still not perfect on paper as the Giants strike out at just the third lowest rate, and Koo is the most expensive pitcher on both sites, but he has basically been untouchable this year; he leads the league in K rate (29.7-percent) by more than three full percentage points and leads the league in FIP by nearly half a run. Fading Koo at any price is a risky proposition these days but his price point has reached a level on DK that DFS-ers can at least consider it in tournaments.
Ki Young Im, Kia Tigers, $8,000 DK/$24 FD – On a per-dollar basis, Ki Young Im (KIA) actually gives Koo a run for his money on this slate, mostly because there is a $3,000 difference. Im’s numbers don’t look good over the last 197 IP as he’s only generated a 16% K rate and has allowed a 1.32 HR/9. However, through 43 IP this season, Im has struck out 39 batters, walked seven and allowed two just two home runs (with a 2.91 ERA). All things considered, we think Im has clearly resembled an ace this season and he is in an elite matchup against a Hanwha Eagles offense that’s averaging a league worse 3.5 runs per game. Im is a -295 favorite and that coupled with his level of performance makes him underpriced on DK. Roster him with confidence in all formats.
Seung Won Moon, SK Wyverns, $7,700 DK/$27 FD – Comparatively to his numbers on the pitching sheet above, Seung Won Moon (SK), like Im, has stepped his game up in 2020. Moon ranks fourth in K rate behind only Koo, Dan Straily (LOT) and Im and his 3.38 FIP ranks in the top 10 of qualified pitchers as well. The pitch that stands out specifically is Moon’s curveball which is a devastating 12-6 breaker that has given opposing hitters fits. To this point, the Lions rank just sixth in runs per game (R/G) and HR/9 rate while striking out at the fifth highest rate and walking at the fourth lowest rate. Essentially, the Lions are an average offense across the board and Moon has looked like a well above-average pitcher. If needing the salary relief from Koo to afford more bats, Moon is the logical pitching pivot.
Honorable mention: Shi Hwan Jang (HAN) (46 Ks in 37 IP this season; his K upside alone puts him in the map and gives him a legitimate ceiling of finishing as one the better pitching plays)
The clear top stack on the slate is once again the NC Dinos versus the clear worst starting pitcher on the slate. Guys like Im and Moon, who look like poor pitchers on the pitching sheet, have stepped up their game this year and are not the same pitcher as years past. Unfortunately for Won Sam Jang (LOT), the same cannot be said for him. Jang is 37-years old, so the odds of him evolving as a pitcher now are slim-to-none, and he has not produced a WHIP below 1.57 since 2015. Amongst all pitchers on the slate, Jang’s .382 wOBA and .176 ISO allowed since the beginning of 2018 rank dead last as does his 13.1-percent K rate and 7.11 ERA during that span. Jang is a bad pitcher and guys like Aaron Altherr (NCD) and Hee Dong Kwon (NCD) both own the platoon advantage and are blazing hot. Eu Ji Yang (NCD) left with a back injury last night, so he may or may not be in the lineup, but it is clear to see why the Dinos are such massive favorites. As per usual, they are a tough fade.
Mel Rojas Jr. (KTW), a switch-hitter, has dominated in all splits this year but has especially excelled against LHP. In 47 at-bats (ABs), Rojas has hit .447 with eight extra-base hits (XBH), including six homers, and 16 RBI with a 9:8 K/BB ratio. Woo Chan Cha (LG) is priced as the second most expensive starting pitcher on the slate (on DK) but he ranks dead last amongst the Twins’ qualified starting pitchers in FIP (4.82) and BB rate (10.5-percent). There is no reason for him to be priced above $7,000 at this point but pricing algorithms have remained committed to him which would move players off him that like to target bats versus cheap DFS pitchers. Other than Rojas, Jae Gyun Hwang (KTW) and Han Joon Yoo (KTW) are the two righties of note who have held their own with the platoon split versus LHP, and neither of them are likely to garner much public attention. Contrarian GPP players should flock to this team.
Thus far, Young Ha Lee (DOO) has pitched extremely poorly in the 2020 season, as he owns a 4.58 FIP to go along with just a 3.4-percent K-BB rate. To put that differently, Lee has struck out 14.6-percent of the hitters he has face this year and has walked 11.3-percent of them en route to an ugly 1.89 WHIP. Lee mostly pitches to contact and relies on ground ball outs which explains his 0.59 HR/9 rate allowed since the start of the 2018 season and 0.37 HR/9 rate this year alone. In other words, offenses must string together baserunners to inflict damage upon Lee, and they have been doing that most of the year (.313 AVG allowed on a .368 BABIP). No Ha Seong Kim (KIW) limits the potential upside of the Heroes stack but ByungHo Park (KIW) is a threat to go deep versus any pitcher that does not miss bats. Furthermore, Jung Hoo Lee (KIW) is hitting .370 versus RHP this year with six bombs and 22 XBH in 127 at-bats (ABs) and that is before mentioning the likes of ex-KBO MVP Keon Chang Seo (KIW) and star catcher Dong Won Park (KIW). Oh, by the way, Hye Sung Kim (KIW) is basically free, and was 50-percent rostered last night on DK, which should be the case once again (assuming he hits second). If trying to differentiate off the Dinos chalk, the Heroes are one of the few enticing alternatives.