KBO Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 5/6/20

William Cuevas had a successful debut season in the KBO and now gets a plus matchup Wednesday morning. Who else should we target in KBO DFS on FanDuel?

Opening day in the KBO had it all. There were bubble boy first pitches, fire delays, and some quality baseball. Let's run it back.

Because it's no longer the opener, start times have been pushed back to 5:30 am Eastern. This means starting lineups will not be published until 4:30 am, and they could come out as late as 5 am. Rejoice, farmers on the East Coast, but this is worth noting as you weigh how many lineups you want to toss into the fire.

Most of our process for daily fantasy baseball revolves around starting pitchers, so let's kick things off there. Here are the scheduled starters for tonight's slate, including the FanDuel salary for their team's starter slot. Each pitcher who pitched in the KBO last year has their stats from that season listed, and opposing numbers are also from the 2019 season. The park factors are multi-year marks from STATIZ with a higher number meaning the park is more friendly to hitters.

Pitcher Home/Away Team Opp. Salary Handedness ERA K% BB% HR% Opp. R/G Opp. K% Park Factor
Joon-seop Im Away Hanwha SK $20 Left 4.20 11.3% 12.2% 0.4% 4.55 17.4% 1209
Ricardo Pinto Home SK Hanwha $27 Right -- -- -- -- 4.22 19.9% 1209
Jun-won Seo Away Lotte KT $25 Right 5.47 13.5% 8.6% 2.3% 4.51 17.5% 889
William Cuevas Home KT Lotte $23 Right 3.62 17.8% 8.3% 2.4% 4.01 19.8% 889
Mike Wright Away NC Samsung $24 Right -- -- -- -- 4.32 17.6% 1194
Ben Lively Home Samsung NC $23 Right 3.95 24.6% 5.5% 1.7% 4.68 15.6% 1194
Young-ha Lee Away Doosan LG $26 Right 3.64 13.0% 8.8% 0.7% 4.45 17.4% 809
Eun-beom Song Home LG Doosan $22 Right 5.25 12.8% 8.2% 2.1% 5.11 14.1% 809
Eric Jokisch Away Kiwoom Kia $24 Left 3.13 18.9% 5.2% 1.2% 4.2 16.7% 964
Aaron Brooks Home Kia Kiwoom $21 Right -- -- -- -- 5.42 16.7% 964

It's the KBO debut for Ricardo Pinto, Mike Wright, and Aaron Brooks, which does put a limit on the data at our disposal. But let's dive in here and see how we should tackle the season's second slate.


Even with 30% of the starters being a bit of a guessing game, we do still have some clear standouts. The person with the best combination of talent and matchup seems to be William Cuevas ($23), and the KT Wiz's starter is on the bottom half of the salary pool.

KT is facing the Lotte Giants, who did notch a 7-2 win on opening day. However, they averaged the fewest runs per game last year while striking out at the second-highest rate. This game will also be played at Suwon KT Wiz Park, which tends to favor pitchers.

Our sample on Cuevas is large as he made 30 starts in the KBO last year, and he fared well with a 3.62 ERA and 17.8% strikeout rate. Putting him in such a juicy matchup makes him one of the safer options available.

The opposing strikeout rate isn't as tantalizing for Eric Jokisch ($24) as the Kiwoom Heroes face the Kia Tigers, but we can still view the matchup as a plus because the Tigers were ninth in the league with just 4.20 runs per game last year. Jokisch proved in 2019 that he's good enough to exploit that.

Across 30 starts in the KBO, Jokisch posted a slate-best 3.13 ERA and 5.2% walk rate, and he was second on the slate in strikeout rate at 18.9%. The reasons we may want to rank him a bit lower than Cuevas are that Jokisch is (nominally) on the road, and the Tigers had a lower strikeout rate at 16.7%. Either way, Cuevas and Jokisch both seem to present a respectable blend of floor and upside without forcing you to break the bank.

Ben Lively ($23) does not check the "safe" column as his Samsung Lions face the NC Dinos, who had the second-lowest strikeout rate in the league last year. Lively himself, though, is capable of generating upside.

Lively made just nine starts in the KBO last year, but he was electric when out there with a 24.6% strikeout rate and 5.5% walk rate. Among the starters on the slate who were in the KBO last year, Lively's strikeout rate is 5.7 percentage points higher than Jokisch's in second. That helps alleviate some of the concerns around the low-strikeout matchup. There's plenty of risk around Lively due to the matchup and his limited sample in the KBO, but he's an interesting route if you're just shooting for ceiling.


From a stacking perspective, our biggest convergence of offense and questionable pitching is with the defending-champion Doosan Bears as they face Eun-beom Song and the LG Twins.

The Twins got the Bears' title-defense quest started on a rough foot last night by snagging an 8-2 win, but they've got some shakiness within the rotation. Song spent all of last year as a reliever, but even in the shorter bursts, he posted a 5.25 ERA while allowing dingers to 2.1% of the batters he faced. Now, he stretches things out and gets to face a team that had a league-low 14.1% strikeout rate while ranking second in the league in runs per game.

If you plug in either Cuevas or Jokisch as your starter, your average remaining salary per hitter is $13. That's tough given most of the highly desirable Doosan hitters are above that range. All of Jose Miguel Fernandez ($16), Jae-Il Oh ($15), Jae-Hwan Kim ($14), and Kun-Woo Park ($14) had solid seasons last year (Oh and Kim, especially, flashed some pop), but we'll also have to be willing to scrounge for some savings.

We'll definitely need our second stack to be cheaper, but within Doosan, Kyoung-Min Hur ($12) at least gives us a bit of relief. Hur hit second in the opener and can generate upside with his legs, swiping 20 and 11 bases the past two years, respectively. Using Hur along with a lower-cost secondary stack can ideally help you splurge for players like Oh and Kim within this offense.

A seemingly ideal pairing with Doosan could be the KT Wiz offense. They're not quite as costly, and they come with a tempting matchup against Jun-won Seo.

Seo is entering his age-19 season, so it's entirely possible he could take a big step forward. As a rookie, though, he struggled with a 5.47 ERA across 16 starts and 33 total appearances, and his 2.3% home-run rate was second-highest on the slate.

Here, we don't have to splurge to get that sweet, sweet pop. All three of Baek-Ho Kang ($14), Han-Joon Yoo ($13), and Jae-Gyun Hwang ($12) had a slugging percentage of at least .443 last year and come with salaries in line with our established average at hitter. Their leadoff hitter from the opener, Woo-Jun Sim ($9), lacks power but did swipe 24 bags last year, giving him a path to upside. Using some sort of combination of those hitters should allow you to either pay up for Doosan's top bats or plug in KT's slugger, Mel Rojas ($16).

If you're looking to take advantage of park factors, the SK Wyverns could be a final outlet to explore against Joon-seop Im.

Im was largely a reliever last year, but he struggled with control out of the bullpen. His walk rate (12.2%) was higher than his strikeout rate (11.3%), and both those marks are the worst on this slate. He seems to have kept the ball on the ground with just a 0.4% home-run rate, but we'll have to see if that's enough to keep opposing bats fully at bay.

SK is a good place to turn if you've got salary to burn as Jeong Choi ($16) and Jamie Romak ($15) flashed big-time dinger potential last year, though Choi will lose the platoon advantage with Im being a lefty. If you happen to be up when lineups are released, keep an eye on Eui-Yoon Jeong ($10). Jeong didn't start last night but did pinch hit and could be in the lineup now that SK is facing a lefty. Jeong was third on the team in homers last year with 13 across just 418 plate appearances and could be a high-upside value option if he sneaks into the starting lineup.