Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Pitching Analysis and Stacks for June 14th
Tonight, FanDuel (FD) will be offering a full five-game slate but DraftKings (DK) will only include four games after last night’s Bears/Eagles game was suspended after three innings.
Vegas Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook:
Hyun Jong Yang, Kia Tigers, $9,900 DK/$25 FD – It feels like a Tigers starting pitcher makes content every single night because the starting unit is so strong from top to bottom. Tonight, Yang is going to be popular because he is basically one of three options with any semblance of strikeout upside and he is facing a strikeout-prone opponent (Wyverns strike out at an 18.6-percent rate). However, as a left-handed pitcher (LHP), righties have naturally hit Yang harder, so there is at least some cause for concern versus the Wyverns. Both of the Wyverns top hitters, Jamie Romak (SK) and Jeong Choi (SK), hit from the right side of the plate (although they are surrounded by hitters of the left-handed variety). With only three standout options on the slate, fantasy owners will need to choose two, but Yang’s strikeout floor is likely higher than that of Kelly’s. For that reason, he is definitely worth including in cash game builds, and he features the necessary upside for GPPs as well.
Casey Kelly, LG Twins, $9,200 DK/$27 FD – No one can accuse Casey Kelly (LG) of being consistent to begin the year, as it seems every other start has been a letdown, but he is still amongst the most talented pitcher in the league. The opposing Giants rank just eighth in runs per game (R/G), ninth in home runs (HRs) per game (HR/G) and below the league average in walk rate per game. They are just one of four teams whose K rate sits below 17.2-percent and they have quietly won seven of their last eight games. Even so, the Giants lineup is extremely right-handed, with Ah Seop Son (LOT) being the only lefty who typically hits in the top seven of the lineup. During his MLB career, Kelly held right-handed hitters (RHHs) to a wOBA over 30 percentage points lower than he did versus lefties, and he struck out RHHs at a rate over five percentage points higher. An entirely right-handed lineup presents a solid matchup for Kelly but he is destined to be the stone chalk on this slate. In tournaments, fantasy owners certainly can consider fading Kelly, although there are a noteable lack of high-end alternatives.
Geon Wook Lee, SK Wyverns, $6,500 DK/$23 FD – On the other side of the Wyverns game, Geon Wook Lee (SK) will toe the mound and face a Tigers team that is league-average virtually across the board. Lee’s 18.3-percent K rate in the KBO ranks second highest of any pitcher on the slate (actually edging out Kelly’s K rate). Still, Lee is nowhere near as talented as Kelly, but he also is significantly cheaper (almost $3,000 cheaper on DK). Only one game on the slate features a lower total than this matchup between the Tigers and Wyverns (9.5-runs) and that really ends the list of positives here. Lee has yielded the highest HR/9 rate of any pitcher on the slate to go along with a 4.99 FIP, .364 wOBA and .143 ISO. Lee is risky but rostering him also allows a lineup full of expensive bats so he is clearly a tournament-only, shoot-for-the-ceiling sort of play.
After scoring a whopping 18-runs last night in a game that Jae Hak Lee (NCD) started, the Heroes find themselves in a great spot to mash again versus a 22-year old rookie making his KBO debut. Jin-ho Kim (NCD) is a righty without any data available but the Heroes are uniquely-suited to mash a young pitcher battling their nerves. How so? Well, the Heroes lead the league in BB rate (10.9-percent) by a wide margin, so the baserunners will rack up against a pitcher struggling to find the zone. Additionally, the Heroes are one of just five teams averaging over 1.0 HR/G, and their Achilles heel is their tendency to strike out (18.7-percent K rate). Young pitchers lacking any degree of hype are not typically huge strikeout threats so the usuals are in play here: Keon Chang Seo (KIW), ByungHo Park (KIW), Jung-hoo Lee (KIW), Ha Seong Kim (KIW) and Dong Wan Park (KIW). If looking to stack this team alongside expensive pitchers, consider adding salary savers Byeong Woo Jeon (KIW) and Hye-sung Kim (KIW) to the mix. In a game with the outlier total of the night, the Heroes are going to be the lower-owned of the two teams and it is only because of the unknown of Kim. Consider taking the shot on them over the Dinos (or with the Dinos) in all formats as they should be the lower-owned team of the two.
Speaking of the Dinos, they are matched up against a pitcher that has walked hitters at a higher rate (12.8-percent) than he has struck them out (10.3-percent) this year, so of course they are in play as well. The Dinos lead the league in R/G and HR/G while walking at a 9.4-percent rate and striking out at a rate below the league average. Furthermore, opponents have posted a .397 wOBA against Jo in a four appearance sample at the KBO level, which is an outrageously high number (especially for this league). Sung Bum Na (NCD) and Aaron Altherr (NCD) have struck out at rates above 25-percent but a pitcher with a 10-percent K rate is in trouble if failling to miss their bats. Each player has posted an ISO of at least .278 and a wOBA above .400. Jin-sung Kang’s (NCD) price is starting to rise (up to $4,500 on DK) as it should for a hitter that leads the league in wOBA (.553), wRC+ (235) and SLG (.813). Jo’s sample is tiny but his 5.78 FIP (2020 only) and other underlying numbers tell the full story so it is tough to argue with Vegas implying this team for the most runs on the slate.
Beyond the Heroes/Dinos game, there is a noteable shortage of gas cans slated to pitch, but Tae-in Won (SAM) has objectively enjoyed some luck to begin the year. Amongst all qualified pitchers, Won’s ERA-FIP ranks third worst, behind only Jun-won Seo (LOT) and Mike Wright (NCD). With 20-year old star Baek-ho Kang (KTW) back in the lineup, the team features one of the deepst lineups in the league, and they already rank fourth in R/G with Kang and Han-joon Yoo (KTW) missing a majority of the season. Won’s 82.6-percent LOB rate is fourth highest in the league and his .243 BABIP is destined to regress to the mean. What better time for the regression to begin than versus a lineup that includes Kang, Yoo, multiple 20-plus homer, 100-plus RBI producer Mel Rojas Jr. (KTW) and elite values like Jeong Dae Bae (KTW)/Yong Jo Ho (KTW). Won started the season well but now is the perfect time to jump on stacks against him.
Honorable Mention: LG Twins versus Adrian Sampson who is looking like a subpar pitcher in this league as well (after long struggling at the MLB level). Also, the Doosan Bears are in play specifically on FD, which is the only site they are rosterable tonight. Unfortunately, with the suspended game last night, no starter has been announced yet for the Eagles, but Warwick Saupold (HAN) is the likeliest candidate. He rarely misses bats and gives up hits in droves so feel confident going back to the Doosan well.