Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) Pitching Analysis and Stacks for May 9th
It’s officially the fifth day of the KBO season and boy is pitching getting scarce. The backend starters in this league are completely miserable and essentially all of them are priced like bargains, other than one, on DK. Pitching is going to be the hardest decision on this slate since cases could legitimately be made for most of the offenses being in nice spots to succeed.
UPDATE: Vegas odds are now live and are as follows for this five-game slate:
Yong Chan Lee, Doosan Bears, $27 FD/$8,800 DK – The clear top starting pitcher on the slate is Yong Chan Lee (DOO) who is one of the few pitchers on the slate who has acted as a true starter for an extended period. In other words, he is the one player who can be trusted to pitch deep into a game on a slate loaded with converted relievers. Chan is not a gigantic strikeout threat (6.2 K/9 last year) but his career ERA sits at 3.73 which is easily tops on the slate (amongst those with an extended sample). On most other slates, this price point would seem a bit stingy for Lee, but due to the lack of alternatives (and plethora of cheap alternatives), it is easy to fit Lee alongside a cheap pitcher and most other stacks. Additionally, the Bears are expected to be amongst the heaviest favorites on the entire slate. UPDATE: Bears are officially the heaviest favorite of the night.
Hyun Hee Han, Kiwoom Heroes, $24 FD/$4,000 DK – On Saturday morning, Hyun Hee Han (KIW) will make his first start in over a full season at home versus the Hanwha Eagles. Han has acted as a starter in the past and has multiple 100-plus pitch outings dating back to the start of the 2018 season. For his career, Han has produced a 7.3 K/9 and sports a career 4.11 ERA, 1.31 WHIP. While those numbers may not seem overly flattering in general, they are pretty solid for a back-end starter in the KBO, especially compared to some of the altneratives on the slate. To feel better about this play, it would be nice to see some confirmation that the team is committed to Han as a true starter, but at least he faces an Eagles offense that struck out more than anyone last year and scored the third fewest runs. Beyond Lee, pitching on this slate is a complete crap shoot, so it feels like the right move to simply choose a pure punt starter at SP2 and load up on bats.
Tae In Won, Samsung Lions, $23 FD/$6,200 DK – Despite being priced more expensively than Han, Tae In Won (SAM) is listed third in this article because I believe this is a slate with an extremely obvious pitching duo for cash games (and those are the two aforementioned starters). Every other starter on the slate, including Won, is extremely risky and is generally unappealing at their price point. Won is only 20-years old and has already appeared out of the bullpen this season and faced three batters in that appearance. Won was a starter for most of his rookie season and posted decent numbers for a 19-year old: 4.82 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and a 5.5 K/9. The Lions’ offense finds themselves in a nice spot versus a subpar opposing pitcher so Won may even be blessed with some run support this evening. He is the clear third option at the starting pitcher position but, if opposed to spending up for Lee, he is one of the few appealing alternatives (versus a Kia Tigers team that scored the second fewest runs in the league last season).
Chan-Gyu Lim (LG) is listed as the probable starter for the LG Twins. This is his eighth season in the KBO,and he has never posted an ERA below 4.46 at this level (and that was his rookie season). Lim possesses the ability to miss bats but only one team struck out fewer times than the Dinos last season. In other words, Lim’s swing-and-miss stuff is unlikely to play very well versus a team that is loaded with contact hitters. Oh, by the way, Lim owns a career 5.09 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 10 H/9, 1.1 HR/9 and just a 1.77 K/BB ratio (despite the solid career 7.4 K/9). By comparison, a 1/1 HR/9 rate allowed last year would have equated to the 13th highest rate allowed by any starting pitcher…and the Dinos led the KBO in homers last season prior to Aaron Altherr (NC) arriving on the scene. Be careful with Eu-ji Yang (NC), who only started 60-percent of the team’s games at catcher last year, as he has started every game this week and likely needs a day off one day soon. Sung Bum Na (NC) is the other must-play from this offense with the platoon edge versus a mediocre RHP.
Look, the Lions appear to once again be one of the worst teams in the entire KBO, but this matchup simply cannot be overlooked. At age 27, Ki Yun Im (KIA) owns a career 1.2 HR/9 rate allowed, including a massive 1.7 HR/9 rate allowed over a 29-game sample in 2018. He only appeared in 12 games last year but allowed seven bombs in just 48.2 IP which equated to a 1.3 HR/9 rate. Im also sports a career 5.08 ERA and 1.61 WHIP so this is not a great pitcher by any means. Tyler Saladino (SAM) launched his first career KBO homer last night and the team’s three hole hitter, Ja Wook Koo (SAM), posted both double-digit steals and HRs in 2019. Dong Yeop Kim (SAM) hit second yesterday, leads the team in fantasy points per game so far and would be the third member of the team to make sure to include in any stack.
This offense can get a bit frustrating, mainly because top bat Jose Miguel Fernandez (DOO) is lacking in the power department, but probable starter Min Kim (KT) is coming off a brutal first full season. Last year, in 27 games (26 starts), Kim allowed a whopping 16 homers (tied for fifth most of any pitcher) and posted a measly 1.40 K/BB ratio. As a whole, the Bears walked 49 more times than any other team a year ago, so this spot is a treacherous one for the 21-year old Min. If his control eludes him once again, the Bears are going to rack up baserunners, and there will be serious value to targeting the full stack (since there should be a plethora of run-scoring opportunities in this matchup).
Favorite Individual Hitters: Tyler Saldino (SAM), Sung Bum Na (NC) and Jae Hwan Kim (DOO)