Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Pitching Analysis and Stacks for May 23rd
Tonight’s slate features five games with only one starting at 1:00am ET. The other four will start three hours later so plan accordingly as you will be able to utilize the late swap function for the later start games.
Vegas Odds and probables courtesy of Pinnacle:
Eric Jokisch, Kiwoom Heroes, $8,900 DK/$27 FD – Typically, when spending up at the starting pitcher position, fantasy owners would like to see monstrous K potential. Unfortunately, that is not the case with Eric Jokisch (KIW) who has whiffed just 19.2-percent of the hitters he has faced in 198.1 KBO innings. However, he has still held his own: 2.90 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, slate-best 3.01 FIP (amongst pitchers with an extensive sample) and a 0.41 HR/9 rate. On paper, the Lotte Giants are not the perfect matchup for Jokisch, mostly because Dixon Machado (LOT), Jun Woo Jeon (LOT), Dae Ho Lee (LOT) and Byung Hun Min (LOT) all hit from the right side of the plate. Still, the Giants’ offense has started to fade, having averaged just 2.83 runs per game (R/G) over the course of their last six contests. Remember, the Giants finished dead last in the league in R/G last year, so their hot start could easily have been a flash in the pan. If looking for safety at the starting pitcher spot, look no further than the man who has started the year with three consecutive five-plus inning, one-run-or-less allowed starts.
Aaron Brooks, Kia Tigers, $7,800 DK/$25 FD – Tonight, Aaron Brooks (KIA) finds himself a smash spot versus a SK Wyverns team that ranks dead last in the league in runs per game and strikes out at a higher rate than any other club. Brooks owned a career SIERA below 5.00 in the MLB, which may not seem like much, but decent MLB pitchers translate quite well to the KBO format. In two of three starts, including one versus the Doosan Bears, Brooks has struck out 6-plus hitters, and he has struck out 23.0-percent of the hitters he has faced to this point. Only one pitcher on the slate owns a higher K rate in the KBO than Brooks and that pitcher’s matchup is not nearly as enticing. Brooks is at least $1,000 underpriced on DK and $2 underpriced on FD.
Tae Hoon Kim, SK Wyverns, $7,300 DK/$21 FD – Today’s cheap source of strikeouts comes in the form of Tae Hoon Kim (SK) who unfortunately pitches on one of the worst teams in the league. Kim is listed as an underdog in the game with the lowest total on the slate (same game as Brooks) but, at just $7,300, you are not starting him for the win potential. Instead, fantasy owners should target Kim due to his slate-best 24.2-percent K rate dating back to 2018. Kim had rarely been used as a starter in the past but has thrown 85 and 98 pitches in his two starts this year respectively and is coming off a game where he shut down the Dinos (seven innings, five baserunners and six Ks). Both of Kia’s top hitters, Preston Tucker (KIA) and Hyung Woo Choi (KIA), hit from the left side of the plate so the fact that Kim is a lefty is slightly comforting. If looking to stack an expensive offense like the Doosan Bears, concessions will need to be made at SP2, and Kim is extremely inexpensive comparatively to his K potential.
Honorable mention: Raul Alcantara (DOO) coming off an outlier strikeout performance and listed as the heaviest favorite of the slate
After receiving a night off last night, top catcher in the league Eu Ji Yang (NCD) is expected to return to the lineup tonight against gas can Min Woo Kim (HAN). Since the start of 2018, Kim has thrown 185.2 innings and has posted a 6.16 ERA, 1.60 WHIP and 1.36 HR/9 rate during that span. Kim struggles to miss bats (16.2-percent K rate since the start of 2018) and the tendency to strike out has been the clear weakness of the Dinos offense thus far. If failing to miss their bats, guys like Yang, Sung Bum Na (NCD) and Aaron Altherr (NCD) should be on red-alert to go deep. Min Woo Park (NCD), who is slashing .435/.532/.967 this year, is worth including in any Dinos stack as well and they could get a bit overlooked with the Doosan chalk overpowering this slate.
The industry is going to love the Kiwoom Heroes as a secondary stack but the Kia Tigers showed us yesterday why going against bullpen days is a risky proposition. Teams can play the matchups with a bullpen whereas a bad starting pitcher is either going to face the order multiple times or get run out of the ballgame due to poor performance. Essentially, I would rather target a pitcher with an extensive sample size of mediocre results, like Woo Chan Cha (LG), than attack a bullpen game where the offense will be chalk. Cha imploded his last time out which coincides with his sample over his previous 354.1 IP. During that span, Cha has produced a 5.13 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 1.17 HR/9 rate and 4.66 FIP (60 starts). Sure, the Wiz may be without top bat Baek Ho Kang (KTW), but there is still no shortage of talent in this lineup: Mel Rojas Jr. (KTW), ex-San Francisco Giant Jae Gyun Hwang (KTW), Woo Jun Sim (KTW) and Kyung Soo Park (KTW) are amongst the names with enough talent to keep this offense afloat in Kang’s absence. While the Dinos, Heroes and Bears all get touted across the industry, the Wiz may fly under the radar.
Welcome to the ultra-chalk of the night as their individual ownership rates may push 60-percent if last night is any indication. Even though Jose Fernandez (DOO) and Jae Hwan Kim (DOO) have been priced up across the industry, that should not stop the masses from attacking this offensive juggernaut, especially with a multitude of affordable pitching options available. The implied total around 6.0 will be hard for many in the industry to overlook versus the most power-prone pitcher on the slate. Over the course of Dae Woo Kim’s (SAM) last 102.0 innings in the KBO, he has yielded a slate-worst 1.59 HR/9 rate and has nearly walked as many batters (8.7-percent BB rate) as he has struck out (12.6-percent). While this team should be chalky, there are ways to differentiate elsewhere, and this team will be difficult to completely overlook.
Honorable Mention: LG Twins versus Min Kim (KTW) and his 5.18 ERA, 1.63 WHIP and 1.00 HR/9 rate over his last 198.0 innings. Roberto Ramos (LG) and Hyun Soo Kim (LG) specifically are