Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) Pitching Analysis and Stacks for May 17th
Vegas Odds and probables courtesy of Pinnacle:
Drew Rucinski, NC Dinos, $9,200 DK/$26 FD – The price for Drew Rucinski (NC) is slightly uncomfortably high for a player who posted just a 16.3-percent K rate over the course of his first full KBO season. However, many of the pitchers on tonight’s slate either find themselves overpriced or with a complete lack of sample size at the KBO level. Seung-heon Lee (LOT) and Seung-geon Baek (SK) have a combined 16 appearances in the KBO so they are near impossible to handicap. At least Rucinski has a proven track record and is facing a SK Wyverns team that has averaged a league-worst 3.11 runs per game (R/G) through their first nine contests. As if that were not enough, they have struck out a whopping 7.89 times per game (most in the KBO) so this matchup sets up nicely for an outlier strikeout performance. Due to the lack of reliable alternatives, Rucinski is a rock-solid SP1 option in all formats.
Odrisamer Despaigne, KT Wiz, $8,500/$25 FD – Despite a lack of KBO sample size, FanGraphs projections (and common sense) expect Despaigne to be amongst the top pitchers in the league when all said and done (especially in the strikeout department). Through two starts, Despaigne has struck out 14 total hitters, which may not sound like much, but a 31.8-percent K rate is absolutely massive in this league. Tonight, Despaigne will do battle with a Samsung squad missing Tyler Saladino (SAM) and one that has struck out 7.3x per game (fourth most in the league). Despaigne’s total sample can be taken with a bit of a grain of salt as well to this point as he has faced two very difficult offenses (NC, LOT). The strikeout floor alone should lead you to gravitate towards Despaigne in all formats and the strikeout ceiling in this spot is massive.
Ben Lively, Samsung Lions, $7,000 DK/$24 FD – Speaking of sizeable strikeout upside, Lively is the only pitcher on the slate to have posted a K rate over 19-percent over the course of the past two seasons. To be fair, Lively’s KBO sample last year was 57 total innings, but Lively was posting 22-plus percent K rates in Triple-A as recently as 2019 as well. Over time, Lively is likely to become priced closer to $9,000, so this is a nice time to buy on the discount (due to poor recent performance). Rostering Lively is 100-percent a bet on his talent as the KT Wiz are red-hot, having scored double-digit runs in back-to-back games (against mediocre pitchers). Lively is by far the most talented pitcher they have faced during this threat and the Wiz have still struck out nearly seven times per nine innings. If looking to load up on expensive bats, Lively is the clear path.
Honorable mention: Raul Alcantara (especially if Preston Tucker is out of the lineup for the KIA Tigers)
Your chalk of the night tonight will be the Lotte Giants facing the clear worst starting pitcher on the slate (at least of those with an extended sample). Probable starter Min Woo Kim (HAN) has been rocked to the tune of a 6.62 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 15.2-percent K rate, 9.1-percent BB rate and a 1.34 HR/9 rate dating back to 2018. By comparison, Seung-won Moon (SK) allowed the worst HR/9 rate of any starting pitcher last year at 1.4. If stacking this team, Jun-woo Jeon (LOT), Dae-ho Lee (LOT), Byeong-heon Min (LOT) and Dixon Machado (LOT) are the clearly the most enticing targets.
Won-chan Cha (LG) is nothing if not wild (slate-worst 9.25-percent BB rate the last two seaons) and his HR/9 rate allowed in 2019 was the worst of any starting pitcher on the slate. That should be music to the ears of those Byung-Ho Park (KIW) fans out there considering he has led the KBO in homers per plate appearance in back-to-back years. The Kiwoom offense has been all too quiet this year; they have averaged just 4.78 R/G after leading the league in R/G a season ago. Note: Jerry Sands leaving the team was undoubtedly a big loss. Anyways, expect this to be a prime bounceback spot for an offense that will not get kept down for long especially with names like Park, Ha-Seong Kim (KIW), Dong-won Park (KIW) and Jung-hoo Lee (KIW) in the lineup.
Last night, the Doosan Bears ended up around 11-15-percent owned which was the lowest they have been in well over a week. Finally, the team faced a challenge in an upper-echelon left-handed pitcher (LHP) last night and that moved the masses off their stack. On Sunday morning, the Bears will take on Aaron Brooks (KIA), who should prove to be a solid pitcher in this league, but he is right-handed. The main assets in the Bears lineup are almost all lefties: Jose Miguel Fernandez (DOO), Jae-Hwan Kim (DOO), Jae-Il Oh (DOO), Joo Hwan Choi (DOO) and even catcher Se Hyuk Park (DOO). They are going to give every right-hander fits and will likely be lower-owned yet again due to the talent level of their opponent. Naturally, this lineup is stacked enough to drop a bomb on any night, so using them in single-entry to differentiate from the Lotte chalk makes quite a bit of sense.
Honorable Memtion: Hanwha Eagles versus a pitcher with a one-start sample size (and it was terrible)