Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Pitching Analysis and Stacks for June 19th
After getting postponed last night, a pair of the KBO’s best starting pitchers will toe the mound tonight, except not versus each other like they were orginally scheduled. One game features an implied run total of 8.5 while every other game opened with an over/under of 9.5-runs. UPDATE: Bears/Twins and Giants/Wiz have both moved to 10.5-runs. Let’s get to work…
Vegas Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook (UPDATED):
Chang Mo Koo, NC Dinos, $9,400 DK/$26 FD – The top starting pitcher in the KBO will toe the mound tonight and, for some reason, he is still priced below $10,000 on DK. Look, Koo leads the league in K rate (30.1-percent), HR/9 rate allowed (0.19), FIP (2.35) and WHIP (0.69), and most of those categories are not even close between him and the next guy. Koo is starting to look like the next Hyun-Jin Ryu (TOR) in the sense that he is a dominant lefty who appears destined for the MLB at some point. His opponent, the Hanwha Eagles, are loaded with left-handed hitters (LHHs) and strike out at a higher rate than any other team in the league. Furthermore, they average the fewest runs per game (R/G), walk at the lowest rate in the league and own the lowest HR/9 rate as well. This is the mismatch of the century and a strong case could be made for Koo costing $12,000 in this spot. Do not be surprised to see him close to 100-percent rostered in nearly all formats as the game’s best pitcher faces the stone worst offense and is clearly underpriced.
Seung Won Moon, SK Wyverns, $8,200 DK/$26 FD – Moon faces a tough matchup versus an extremely patient Heroes squad but that is not such a scary setup for a pitcher who has never struggled with control. Following back-to-back seasons where Moon walked exactly 5.6-perent of the opposing batters he had faced, that number has dropped to just 4.8-percent in the early-going of 2020. Partially due to the improvement of his nasty curveball, Moon has struck out a career-high 24.4-percent of opposing hitters this year, and only two teams have struck out at a higher rate than the Heroes (18.9-percent). With ByungHo Park (KIW) removed from the roster, the offense is not quite as deep as it was a week ago, although Park was struggling mightily (.197 AVG, 32.1-percent K rate) prior to his departure. Most lineups tonight on DK will feature the pairing of the other two pitchers mentioned in this article, so if one of them struggles, pivoting to Moon has the potential to be a GPP-winning strategy.
Drew Gagnon, Kia Tigers, $7,800 DK/$26 FD – Through seven starts, Drew Gagnon (KIA) ranks second in the KBO in both K rate and FIP while posting the fourth best K/BB ratio (right behind the aforementioned Moon) and one of the lowest BB rates (5.5-percent). In fact, Gagnon’s ERA sits over a full run higher than his FIP (3.57 versus 2.54), meaning he has been quite unlucky (60.5-percent LOB rate) despite the impressive numbers overall. Instead of having to face the Dinos, like he would have if last night’s game were not postponed, Gagnon will instead do battle with a Lions team that averages the fourth fewest R/G. Additionally, the Lions have struck out at the fourth highest rate and walked at the fourth lowest rate. Although they have recently gotten healthier, with the return of Ja Wook Koo (SAM) to the lineup, they are still a below-average offense basically across the board. Gagnon is tied for the second highest favorite of the night and is the obvious SP2 in cash games on DK (and a strong GPP play as well).
Honorable Mention: Ja Seong Bae (KTW) is nowhere near the strikeout threat of the other pitchers mentioned in the article, and the Giants are a tough team to stike out (16.7-percent), but they are also one of the less potent offenses in the league (third fewest R/G) and significant underdogs (+140) to the Wiz (-170).
Amongst starting pitchers scheduled to pitch on Friday morning, Se Woong Park’s (LOT) .383 wOBA and .176 ISO allowed dating back to 2018 both rank dead last. To put that differently, opposing hitters have flashed the power against him, posting a 1.19 HR/9 rate and yielding a wOBA equivalent to the number Peter Alonso (NYM) posted for the Mets last year. The Wiz’ lineup is amongst the deepest in the entire league with everyone healthy so there are a lot of candidates to post Alonso-like performances against a subpar righty: Baek Ho Kang (KTW) and Mel Rojas Jr. (KTW) are the two main power threats and each will own the platoon advantage against Park. Koo is a lock for cash games on the pitching side this evening and both these outfielders are cash game locks from an offensive perspective. All hitters 1-8 are in play from this lineup and, other than Kang, Rojas and Jae Gyun Hwang (KTW), most of the lineup is affordable.
Well, the Dinos are listed as by far the heaviest favorites of the evening, and it is not just because their ace is on the mound. The offense is not too shabby in their own right as they lead the KBO in R/G and HR/G. For context for how historic the start to the season has been for Jin Sung Kang, this tweet puts it in perspective:
At just $4,500 on DK, with the platoon edge versus a left-handed Bum Soo Kim (HAN), Kang is one of the strongest plays on the board. By the way, Kim has walked a whopping 13.3-percent of hitters over the course of his last 170.0 innings to go along with a 1.32 HR/9 rate, .363 wOBA, .169 ISO and slate-worst 5.67 FIP. Sung Bum Na (NCD) is priced in a difficult spot to pair with multiple expensive pitchers, or other expensive offenses, so he may prove to not be as chalky as the likes of Kang and Aaron Altherr (NCD). Either way, this is clearly one of the top stacks on the slate, and the bullpen behind starter Kim now owns the third worst ERA in the league also.
Roberto Ramos (LG) returned to the lineup and just walked thrice but his presence enhances the potential of this lineup greatly. Probable starter Young Ha Lee (DOO) owns the lowest K rate of any starting pitcher on the slate and he has flirted with a double-digit BB rate over a 325.2 IP sample size too. While he induces a fair amount of ground balls (0.58 HR/9 rate), he is still not a great pitcher, and the BB rate allows teams to sustain rallies against him. Any team other than the Wiz and Dinos will come with a muted public percentage so there is some merit to taking a contrarian approach to a chalky night in a volatile sport. A recent offensive surge has propelled the Twins to second in the KBO in R/G and the total of this game continues to rise as the day goes on. This offense is definitely worth a shot in tournaments.
Honorable Mention: SK Wyverns versus Hyun Hee Han (KIW) who quietly has allowed a .344 wOBA to opposing hitters over the course of his last 265.2 IP.