Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) Pitching Analysis and Stacks for May 14th
Vegas Odds and probables courtesy of Pinnacle:
Chang-mo Koo, NC Dinos, $28 FD/$9,200 DK – Strikeouts are king in DFS, especially in a league like the KBO where they’re not as widely available. Enter Chang-mo Koo, a pitcher that’s averaged 8.8 K/9 throughout his first four seasons at the KBO. This season, ZiPS is projecting an 8.9 K/9 for KOO. Strikeouts are far more predictable than any run prevention metric, which is typically full of noise. And that’s why we love Koo so much – his strikeout ability is rather rare relative to the league. The 23 year old projects to lead the league in K/9 and he’s one of the lone names around the KBO that can generate double digit strikeouts in a single start. The matchup against KT Wiz is a good one as well as they’ve started off the season 1-6 and project to be a bottom four team the rest of the way. Expect Koo and the Dinos to be the largest favorites in this slate. He’s the most expensive pitcher on the board but he should be priced above $10,000 on DraftKings given his profile as a pitcher. We’re pursuing him aggressively.
Chris Flexen, Doosan Bears, $24 FD/$8,800 DK – Flexen projects to be among the league leaders in ERA (3.68) this season, but the real question is can he be close to a K per inning pitcher? If the past is any indication, it’ll be tough for Flexen to get there, as he posted a 14.3% K rate in 68 IP at the major league level. Thankfully for Flexen, he’s no longer pitching in the majors and his 94 MPH fastball will play much better at the KBO. There’s a chance Flexen can be a 20% K rate pitcher, which is valuable at this level. He’s also playing for a Doosan Bears’ team that projects to be the second best team in the league. Our guess is Flexen will be lower owned than Koo today, which makes him a strong leverage play for tournaments. He’s the second best pitching play in our eyes.
Tyler Wilson, LG Twins, $20 FD/$7,200 DK – It’s incredible what one bad start can do. Wilson had a miserable outing in his opening salvo, allowing seven earned runs in 4.1 IP. Of course, for a pitcher of Wilson’s standing at the KBO, context is very much needed here. Wilson wasn’t able to prepare for the season as he typically does. He had to be quarantined for 14 days before he could take the mound, which certainly affected him to prepare for his first start and for the season in general. One bad start is just that – one bad start. A blip on the radar. After all, Wilson has flat out dominated the KBO, posting a 2.99 ERA in 305 total IP through two full seasons. His K rates haven’t been impressive at the KBO – 21.6% and 18% respectively, but he’s viewed as one of the best pitchers in this league. As a result, you could argue that he’s severely underpriced. The risk is that Wilson’s current form is broken due to the lack of preparation. That makes him a better tournament play than a cash game asset but we recommend that you play him everywhere given the price tag.
Honorable mention: Drew Gagnon (KIA)
The Bears have a total of 6+ once again as they face yet another below average pitcher. This time the pitcher in question is Se Woong Park, who’s posted a 5.30 ERA throughout his career. Park is also a RHP and this Bears’ lineup is full of above average LHBs, particularly towards the middle of the lineup. Jae Il Oh (DOO) has been on a tear of late, hitting a home run in two of his last three games. Jose Fernandez (DOO) is the league leader in hits (15). We’re expecting Jae Hwan Kim (DOO) to lead the team in home runs and he’s now homered in three straight games. Kim and Oh are priced below $5K on DK. We’re expecting them to be two of the highest owned hitters in the entire slate.
The Dinos will end up with a team total close to 6 runs. Opposing pitcher Je Seong Bae is coming off a season in which he posted a 3.76 ERA. We’re expecting Bae to regress closer to his career ERA (4.55) this season. Eui Ji Yang (NCD) hasn’t homered yet but it’s only a matter of time before he does. After all, Yang has hit at least 20 home runs in four of the last five seasons at the KBO. He’s the best hitting catcher in the league and it’s not particularly close. Aaron Altherr (NCD) should be one of the league leaders in home runs but he’s currently ailing (bruised hand). Given Altherr’s shaky recent performance, there’s a good chance that he’ll be very low owned even if he’s in the lineup. Sung Bum Na (NCD) remains severely underpriced on DK ($3,600). Na should be one of the leaders in ownership in this slate given his silly price. You’re not being overly contrarian by playing these Dinos today.
Jong Hoon Park is coming off a 3.88 ERA season in 2019, yet his career ERA is 4.62. It’s more likely than not that Park’s ERA comes back to the 4s this season, especially when you consider that he doesn’t miss many bats. Park’s K/9 for his career is 7. This is an ideal spot for Hyun Soo Kim (LG), who’s generated 6 extra base hits in just 7 games this season. Leadoff hitter Chun Woong Lee (LG) is coming off a 21 SB season in 2019 and has already stolen 2 bases this season. Roberto Ramos (LG) is grossly underpriced on DK ($3,000). Ramos has hit 3 home runs through 7 games. He displayed tons of power at Triple A last season (30 home runs, .580 SLG in 503 PAs) and he projects to be one of the better power hitters at the KBO moving forward. The Twins have a team total of 6 runs as well but we’re not expecting them to be as popular as the Bears or the Dinos sans Ramos given his dirt cheap price tag.
Honorable Mention: Kiwoom Heroes (leverage stack for tournaments; shaky recent performance and lower team total should result in lower ownership today).