Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) Pitching Analysis and Stacks for May 7th
Today’s slate seems primed to be the chalkiest slate yet considering the bottom tier pitchers who till toe the mound. Since Chan Gyu Lim (LG) is priced under $6,000 on DK and has shown some decent strikeout potential, it is possible he garners a bit of ownership, but the overwhelming consensus will be to stack against him and one other pitcher. For that reason, ownership is expected to condense in a league that has two days sample for all extensive purposes. Basically, you are going to have to ask yourself whether flocking to the chalk stacks is a strategy you want to employ or whether you would prefer to target an off-the-board offense in a significantly worse setup due to ownership concerns.
UPDATE: Vegas Odds have been released for this slate along with probables. According to Pinnacle:
Chris Flexen, Doosan Bears, $27 FD/$9,200 DK – Well hello, old friend, it seems like your -1.25 DK fantasy point MLB debut was just yesterday. Flexen has yet to pitch in the KBO but once upon a time looked like a promising prospect for the Mets. Unfortunately, the time likely called him up too soon, as he moved straight from Double-A to the MLB level in 2017 and never recovered from the initial beating he took. From 2017 on, Flexen posted consistently below-average numbers during his time in the MLB, although he did manage a 26.7-percent K rate in Triple-A last year to go along with a 6.1-percent BB rate, sub-4.00 FIP/xFIP and just 33.0-percent fly ball rate allowed. With velocity into the mid-90s (averaging 94.5mph on his fastball last year), he seems like the type of pitcher whose stuff will translate well to this league, and he is the clear top priority at pitcher on this slate.
Won-tae Choi, Kiwoom Heroes, $24 FD/$8,000 DK – Quietly, Choi posted some impressive numbers in his age 22 season last year, finishing with a career-best 3.38 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 0.3 HR/9 rate. For the third straight year, Choi posted a K/BB ratio above 2.85 and walked under 2.5 batters per nine innnings as well. Simply put: Choi is a solid pitcher in this league and is only just reaching his prime. On DK, Choi is priced as the fifth most expensive starter on the slate but it could be argued he deserves to be number two…especially considering the matchup. In 2019, only one team scored fewer runs than the Kia Tigers and only two teams posted a lowe slugging percentage (SLG). While there is not much of a strikeout ceiling in this matchup, there is unlikely to be much resistance either.
Chang-mo Koo, NC Dinos, $24 FD/$5,700 DK – The price disrepency between the two sites is massive for Koo and is legitimately way too cheap on DK specifically. Koo’s 114 Ks ranked second the team (behind only Drew Rucinski (NC)) and his 9.6 K/9 ranked sixth best amongst all pitchers in the KBO. The K upside alone suggests he is worth every penny of his $5,700 salary and that is before factoring in him opening as a -164 favorite. Last year, he posted a 3.20 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP, so this appears to be an upper-echelon starter in the league priced like a scrub. Only three teams scored fewer runs than the Samsung Lions a season ago and only two teams struck out more times than they did. Combine the matchup with the skill set and this is a $9,000-plus pitcher priced below $6,000. Act accordingly.
For his career (453.2 IP), Shi Hwan Jang (HAN) has been rocked to the tune of a 5.42 ERA, 1.67 WHIP and 1.89 K/BB ratio. Over the past two seasons combined, he has allowed nearly a full homer per nine innings, which is a big number for a KBO league light on power overall. The Wyverns are the heaviest home favorite of the slate, and the third highest favorite overall, but it should be noted only the Kiwoom Heroes are listed as heavier favorites in games with a 9.5-run total. Through two games, the Wyverns have only scored five runs, but they ranked fourth in the KBO in runs scored in 2019. Furthermore, they ranked third in homers and first in steals, so their lineup is loaded with potential upside. Jeong Choi (SK) and Jamie Romak (SK) are the main power threats in the lineup while Jong-wook Ko (SK) and Kang-min Kim (SK) are some of the main speedsters.
Ex-Philadelphia Phillie David Buchanan (SAM) is new to the KBO but has spent the last three years in the Japanese League. During that tenure, Buchanan’s ERA has risen every year: 3.66 to 4.03 to 4.82 last season to go along with a 1.51 WHIP and measly 5.2 K/9. He seems to have refined his control a bit but has been getting hit just as hard overseas as he had been in the United States. His 1.83 K/BB ratio in 2019 was the worst of his Japanese League career and this is not a pitcher who ever threw particularly hard (90.8mph average fastball velocity as a Major Leaguer). These days, Buchanan appears to be pitching to contact, which is a dangerous proposition versus a Dinos squad that struck out the second fewest times last year and hit the most HRs…and that was before adding Aaron Altherr (NC). The Dinos are loaded at the top with Altherr and staples like Sung Bum Na (NC), who is a true MLB prospect, and Eul Ji Yang (NC) who all should be considered musts in stacks. Due to implied totals, the Wyverns and Heroes will likely be much higher owned, making this stack a solid one for target for single-entry if looking to be different.
The Bears rebounded in a big way last night by dropping five runs on starter Eun-beom Song (LG) and, tonight, they face another starter coming with brutal career numbers: Chan Heon Jeong (LG). Although he has been in the league for 11-years, he has made exactly zero career starts. In other words, there is a possibility he is an opener, and there also is a chance he will not in fact start this game. If he does, and is the true starter, this will be the second consecutive bullpen game for LG (although yesterday’s starter got smoked to the tune of nine hits and five runs in 2.1 innings so it was a bullpen game by accident). Jeong sports a career 5.23 ERA and 1.55 WHIP and he has allowed a career 0.9 homers per nine innings. Assuming he makes the start, he will lead off for a bullpen that is already taxed, so this is a nice setup for the Bears.
The alternative to Jeong, and the man who was listed as the original probable starter, is Chan-Gyu Lim (LG). Presumably if Jeong is a typo, or does not actually end up starting, then Lim will. At age 27, this will be Lim’s 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 the Bears struck out 81 fewer times than the next team 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). Regardless of starting pitcher, the players with the most power upside in the lineup include Jae-il Oh (DOO), Jose Miguel Ferandez (DOO), Jae-hwan Kim (DOO) and Kun-woo Park (DOO). Those four were the only ones to produce double-digit HRs on this squad a year ago and they led the team in fantasy points per game (with each averaging double-digit FD fantasy points per contest).