KBO Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 5/7/20
South Korea's KBO League is bringing live baseball back in our lives, and that means the return of daily fantasy baseball with real cash prizes on FanDuel!
First pitch on Thursday is at 5:30am ET, and official lineups typically come out an hour before game time at the earliest.
Scoring is identical to what we see in MLB DFS, but FanDuel is condensing the number of starting spots to seven. You start one pitcher as usual, and then only need to roster two infielders, two outfielders, and two utility players to fill out the rest. Your total team salary is also $100 instead of $35,000.
Some websites that can help you get started include Baseball Reference, MyKBO Stats, and the Korean website Statiz. The latter site is a bit tricky to use, but with the help of Google Translate, you can uncover some advanced stats.
Early on, we won't have KBO stats for foreign players making the jump to this league, but foreigners generally perform well overall. In 2019, foreign pitchers performed nearly 22% above league average, and hitters performed about 16% better, per MyKBO Stats.
Below is an overview of Thursday's starting pitchers sorted by FanDuel salary. Last season's KBO stats are listed for each starter, along with their opponent's 2019 hitting stats. And yes, we even have multi-year home run park factors from the aforementioned Statiz.
Note that on FanDuel these hurlers are listed by their team names (ex: "SK Starting P"), so their team abbreviations are also included. Former MLB players Chris Flexen and David Buchanan will be making their KBO debuts. Note that Min-woo Lee mainly pitched out of the bullpen last season (6 starts over 32 appearances), and Chan-Heon Jung is a career relief pitcher (11 innings in 2019).
|Pitcher||Sal.||L/R||Opp.||FIP||ERA||WHIP||K%||BB%||Opp. R/G||Opp. K%||Park|
|Chris Flexen (DOO)||$27||R||@LG||--||--||--||--||--||4.45||17.4%||809|
|Jong-hoon Park (SK)||$26||R||HAN||4.60||3.88||1.50||15.5%||9.1%||4.22||19.9%||1209|
|Se-woong Park (LOT)||$25||R||@KT||3.74||4.20||1.48||16.7%||8.7%||4.51||17.5%||889|
|Chang-mo Koo (NC)||$24||L||@SAM||3.81||3.20||1.18||25.4%||9.1%||4.32||17.6%||1194|
|Won-tae Choi (KIW)||$24||R||@KIA||3.26||3.38||1.28||15.8%||5.4%||4.20||16.7%||964|
|David Buchanan (SAM)||$23||R||NC||--||--||--||--||--||4.68||15.6%||1194|
|Je-seong Bae (KT)||$23||R||LOT||3.96||3.76||1.43||16.1%||9.9%||4.01||19.8%||889|
|Shi-hwan Jang (HAN)||$23||R||@SK||4.32||4.95||1.64||19.1%||10.2%||4.55||17.4%||1209|
|Chan-heon Jung (LG)||$22||R||DOO||3.00||1.64||1.55||22.4%||12.2%||5.11||14.1%||809|
|Min-woo Lee (KIA)||$21||R||KIW||3.84||5.43||1.63||19.8%||9.2%||5.42||16.7%||964|
Let's check out which hurlers and stacks stand out on Thursday's slate
As stated on opening day, strikeouts aren't nearly as prevalent in the KBO, with a league average strikeout rate around 17% (MLB's league average was 23% in 2019). That means we typically won't see the same pitching ceilings we often get in MLB.
Chris Flexen (Doosan Starting P; $27) was downright terrible in limited action across the three seasons with the Mets, compiling an 8.07 ERA (6.37 SIERA) across 68.0 innings. Still, we saw MLB journeyman Odrisamer Despaigne rack up eight strikeouts on opening day, and even Dan Straily held his own in his debut, so we can't rule out a solid outing from Flexen. He plays for the defending champs (and favorites to win it all again this year) and will also benefit from a pitcher-friendly venue. The LG Twins are a neutral matchup based on last year's numbers.
Chang-mo Koo (NC Starting P; $24) pops because of his stellar 25.4% strikeout rate and overall strong stats, but he was awful in 2018 and 2017 (ERA over 5.00), making him a potentially risky pick. He'll also be pitching in one of the slate's most hitter-friendly spots. That being said, he's just 23 years old and could be figuring things out following last season's breakout campaign. Baseball America listed him as one of the KBO's top 10 prospects.
Won-tae Choi (Kiwoom Starting P; 24) doesn't have flashy punchout numbers, but his 2019 FIP is one of the best on the board, and he's still just 23 years old. The Kia Tigers scored the second-fewest runs last season, so this shouldn't be an overly tough matchup, either. If no one puts up big strikeout numbers tonight, Won-tae could find his way towards the top with a win and a quality start. Of tonight's pitchers, no one had more quality starts than him last year (18).
Chan-heon Jung is making the start for the LG Twins, and while his numbers in the chart look pretty good, keep in mind it came through just 11 innings out of the bullpen. According to Baseball Reference, the 30-year-old right-hander hasn't made a start since 2008 and has a 5.23 career ERA. Given his track record, it's hard to say how deep he'll pitch into this game, but this sure looks like a matchup where the Doosan Bears could put up some crooked numbers.
The Bears have a slew of scary lefty sticks in Jose Miguel Fernandez ($16), Jae-il Oh ($15), and Jae-Hwan Kim ($14), who all slugged 15 or more home runs in 2019. While it's worth noting that the KBO de-juiced the ball last season, Jae-Hwan is one season removed from a 44-homer campaign. Kun-Woo Park ($14) should be in his usual leadoff spot and put up 10 homers and 12 stolen bases last year.
Right-hander Shi-hwan Jang has the worst 2019 ERA and WHIP on the board, and while his 4.32 FIP wasn't quite as bad, that's still the slate's second-worst, too. Throw in a career 5.42 ERA at age 32, this seems like a good spot to stack the SK Wyverns.
Jeong Choi ($16) and Jamie Romak ($15) are the top sluggers we want here, with each knocking out 29 dingers apiece in 2019 and posting strong OPS marks of .918 and .878, respectively. Soo-Kwang Noh ($12) and Jong-Wook Ko ($12) have next to no pop but are lefty sticks who could bat first and second. Dong-Min Han ($11) is a lefty hitter with a bit more pop, hitting 12 bombs with the de-juiced ball but knocking out 41 the year prior. Suk-Min Yoon ($8) could be a solid value as someone who didn't play a good chunk of last season but has previously shown double-digit home run power.
Min-woo Lee was primarily a relief pitcher last year and hasn't been terribly effective in his first few KBO seasons, posting a career 5.72 ERA and 1.69 WHIP. His FIP suggests some poor luck in 2019, but this still looks like a matchup the Kiwoom Heroes might be able to exploit -- after all, the Heroes scored the most runs in the league last season.
Byung-Ho Park ($14) figures to be popular and particularly at this price tag. Ha-Seong Kim ($15) has consistently slugged 19 or more home runs in five straight seasons, while Jung-Hoo Lee ($13) has some speed (13 stolen bases in 2019) and will enjoy the platoon advantage. Keon-Chang Seo ($11) is another stolen base threat (17) and has hit leadoff each of the first two games.