Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Pitching Analysis and Stacks for May 26th
Vegas Odds and probables courtesy of Pinnacle:
Chang-mo Koo, NC Dinos, $26 FD/$9,600 DK – We realize that former MLBers are crushing in their KBO debuts, but Koo is the best pitcher in this league. Last season, Koo posted an impressive 25.9% K rate and a 3.20 ERA/3.77 FIP. Through three starts this season, Koo has generated a 32.9% K rate, has lowered his walk rate (5.3% BB rate) and has allowed one earned run in 22 innings pitched. In his latest start against a very tough offense (Doosan), Koo struck out seven in eight frames. If any pitcher deserves a $10K+ price tag in this league, it’s Koo. He’s not priced this way today, which makes him clearly underpriced in our eyes. To top things off, he’s a -205 favorite today in a matchup against the Kiwoom Heroes. Pursue him aggressively across all formats.
Chris Flexen, Doosan Bears, $27 FD/$8,700 DK – Flexen is one of the former MLBers who has crushed in his KBO debut. Through three starts, Flexen has posted a 28.2% K rate and a 2.70 ERA/3.05 FIP. Flexen’s latest start was arguably the most impressive of any pitcher this season. The NC Dinos have performed as clearly the best team in the KBO this season, and Flexen struck out 10 Dinos in eight frames. We’re dealing with lots of small samples thus far, but we can confidently say that Flexen is one of the better pitchers in this league. Today, he’ll get to face off against a SK Wyverns team that currently ranks dead last in the league with a record of 3-14. Flexen is a slate leading -270 favorite. Like Koo, we think Flexen makes sense as a play across all formats.
Tyler Wilson, LG Twins, $26 FD/$7,600 DK; Dan Straily, Lotte Giants, $24 FD/$7,300 DK – Wilson is a higher favorite (-194) than Straily (-160) today but Straily holds the edge in strikeouts with a 27.7% K rate thus far vs. Wilson’s 19.7% K rate since the start of 2018. Ultimately, we’re siding slightly with Straily due to the edge in Ks and a slightly cheaper price tag on both sites but the decision is a close one.
Honorable mention: Drew Gagnon (KIA) – Ridiculous 34.3% K rate along with an impressive 2.28 FIP; tough matchup against the KT Wiz today but he’s the cheapest available pitcher on DK with a $6,700 price tag, which is a silly price tag given his ability to miss bats. It’s also worth noting that Baek Ho Kang won’t be available for the next three weeks due to injury, which is a clear downgrade for the KT Wiz on offense.
You read correctly. The Doosan Bears are at it again, ranking as our top stack for today. It’s a lineup loaded with lefties in a matchup against a decent RHP (Jong Hoon Park) that doesn’t miss bats. Jose Fernandez (DOO) leads this Bears offense as he’s batting .500 through 81 PAs this season. Fernandez isn’t going to hit .500 for a full season but he led the league in hits last season for a reason. His .264 ISO is likely unsustainable as well but even if he manages to generate .200 ISO for the season that would be a significant improvement. Fernandez and Jae Hwan Kim (DOO) are our favorite plays from this offense, but don’t forget about Jae Won Oh (DOO), who’s been hitting fifth and is minimum priced on DK. As usual, expect the Bears to draw significant ownership regardless of format.
The Dinos have performed as the best offense and overall best team in the KBO this season. They’ve gotten off to an impressive 14-3 start. Eui Ji Yang (NCD), who’s regarded as the best hitting catcher in the league, hasn’t gotten off to a good start and he might miss a game or two with a neck injury. His replacement, Jin Sung Kang (NCD), has been on an absurd tear, hitting four home runs and a .500 average in 38 at-bats this season. Kang is just $2,700 on DK. Sung Bum Na (NCD) has a L/L matchup in this one. Generally speaking, L/L matchups are known for being tougher than R/R matchups regardless of the league in question. Even if that’s a ding to Na’s value, we still think he’s a strong play. Perhaps Aaron Altherr (NCD) can hit in a top four lineup spot since he’ll have the platoon edge and most of the hitters at the top of the Dinos’ lineup are left handed. If given the opportunity, Altherr should be one of the better power hitters in this league. Outside of Kang, there’s a good chance that the Dinos are lower owned across the board than the Doosan Bears and they own the same implied total (5.5 runs).
Vegas is giving a lot of love to the KT Wiz tonight as the carry the same implied total (5.5 runs) as the Bears and Dinos despite being in a tougher matchup (Drew Gagnon). Perhaps that’s a result of the Wiz being on a roll offensively this season. Mel Rojas Jr. (KTW) has performed admirably to start the season, hitting four home runs and seven doubles in 78 PAs. Baek Ho Kang (KTW) will be out for three weeks, which is a clear downgrade for this offense. Yong Ho Jo (KTW) is $2,500 and recently hit third in the lineup. Woo Jun Sim (KTW) has been priced below $3,000 all season and he’s been leading off for this offense. There’s a good amount of cheap price tags surrounding Mel Rojas Jr. and as a result it’s rather easy to stack this offense alongside expensive pitching. They’re strong tournament targets though the difficult matchup is likely the reason they won’t be as owned today.