KBO Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 5/8/20
With this being the fourth slate of the KBO season, you'd think we'd be scraping the bottom of the barrel from a starting pitching perspective. Teams are past the front end of their rotations and may be shifting to shakier arms to close things out.
That's not really the case, though. Friday's slate (which locks at 5:30 am Eastern on FanDuel) features a number of palatable returners and at least one intriguing pitcher making his KBO debut. Here's the list of starters, sorted by the salary of their starting-pitching slot on FanDuel. The park factor data is courtesy of STATIZ with a larger number favoring hitters.
|Pitcher||Salary||L/R||Opp.||ERA||WHIP||K%||BB%||HR%||Opp. R/G||Opp. K%||Park|
|Seung-won Moon (SK)||$28||R||Lotte||3.88||1.13||16.9%||5.6%||3.9%||4.01||19.8%||1006|
|Hui-kwan Yu (Doosan)||$26||L||KT||3.25||1.28||9.2%||6.1%||1.2%||4.51||17.5%||959|
|Hyeong-jun So (KT)||$25||R||Doosan||--||--||--||--||--||5.11||14.1%||959|
|Seung-ho Lee (Kiwoom)||$24||L||Hanwha||4.48||1.51||15.4%||9.6%||1.9%||4.22||19.9%||979|
|Jae-hak Lee (NC)||$24||R||LG||3.75||1.36||16.3%||7.7%||1.1%||4.45||17.4%||1012|
|Chae-heung Choi (Samsung)||$23||L||Kia||4.81||1.53||18.6%||7.5%||2.1%||4.2||16.7%||1093|
|Tyler Wilson (LG)||$22||R||NC||2.92||1.16||18.0%||5.8%||0.9%||4.68||15.6%||1012|
|Drew Gagnon (Kia)||$21||R||Samsung||--||--||--||--||--||4.32||17.6%||1093|
|Kyung-eun Noh (Lotte)||$21||R||SK||4.08||1.19||16.3%||5.5%||3.3%||4.55||17.4%||1006|
|Min-jae Jang (Hanwha)||$20||R||Kiwoom||5.43||1.48||19.6%||5.1%||2.7%||5.42||16.7%||979|
As you may be able to see in the chart, there's some spicy value available here. Let's dive in and see how we should tackle this offering.
With starting pitchers not announced when slates are posted, we can sometimes get situations where a team's starter will be underpriced simply because they're not on the best team. That seems to be the case with Tyler Wilson (LG Starting P; $22) as he toes the rubber for his 2020 debut.
Wilson's starting his third season in the KBO, and his first two have been successes. His aggregate ERA is 2.99 with a 1.15 WHIP, and he has been able to get a respectable number of strikeouts. The former Baltimore Orioles starter leads all returners on the slate in ERA and home-run rate allowed while sitting second in WHIP and third in strikeout rate.
The only negative around Wilson is the matchup. The NC Dinos had the second-lowest strikeout rate in the KBO last year at 15.6%, and they're undefeated to start 2020. With Wilson's salary at just $22, though, he is worth a look.
Drew Gagnon (Kia Starting P; $21) is making his KBO debut, and he's doing so in the most hitter-friendly park on the slate. There's definite risk here. That risk may still be worth it.
When Gagnon was in the minors with the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets, he flashed some strikeout potential. Across 27 starts in Triple-A with the Mets in 2018, Gagnon had a 25.8% strikeout rate and 6.7% walk rate. That never really followed him to the Majors, but he did have an 11.8% swinging-strike rate in a short sample as a reliever last year.
To help compensate for the park, we do get Gagnon in a favorable matchup with the Samsung Lions. They were fifth in runs scored per game last year and had the third-highest team strikeout rate. Gagnon -- like Wilson -- is cheap, and with the way the stacks shape up, we'll take that for sure.
If you want to deviate from those two, you'll likely have to pay the piper. Seung-won Moon (SK Starting P; $28) is in a plus matchup and third on our list, but he comes at the highest salary on the board.
The plus of Moon is that he's facing a Lotte Giants team that averaged just 4.01 runs per game last year while striking out 19.8% of the time. Moon had a 1.13 WHIP -- tops on the slate -- along with respectable strikeout (16.9%) and walk (5.6%) rates.
The negative is that Lotte has gotten off to a hot start, sweeping the KT Wiz to open things up while averaging 7.7 runs per game. When you combine that with Moon's lofty salary, it seems clear that Wilson and Gagnon are in a tier of their own at pitcher for the slate.
The reason we're incentivized to spend down at pitcher is that both the Kiwoom Heroes and Doosan Bears are in favorable spots for the slate, and we're going to need every penny we can pinch in order to afford them.
Kiwoom is facing Min-jae Jang, who is coming off a year in which his ERA was 5.43, highest on the slate among returners. The big bugaboo for Jang was dingers as he let up 14 across 526 batters faced, and Kiwoom has plenty of pop, leading the league with 5.42 runs per game last year.
Both Ha-Seong Kim ($15) and Byung-Ho Park ($14) are obvious inclusions in stacks. Jung-Hoo Lee ($13), though, should be a central focus, as well.
Lee is just 21 years old but is already in his fourth KBO season. His 10 triples last year helped him to a .456 slugging percentage, and he added upside with 13 stolen bases. He was listed as Baseball America's No. 2 prospect in the KBO (Kim was No. 1), and we shouldn't be shocked if he keeps showing progress this year.
Youth is a topic of conversation for Doosan, as well. They're facing Hyeong-jun So, who is making his KBO debut as an 18-year-old righty. So likely has talent, given that he's breaking in so early, but it's tough to expect such a young pitcher to succeed right away in an advanced league.
As with Kiwoom, we have obvious studs for stacking here in Jae-Il Oh ($15) and Jose Miguel Fernandez ($16). The lower-salaried delight on this team is Jae-Hwan Kim ($13).
Kim hit cleanup for Doosan against a righty last night and is coming off a year in which he hit 15 home runs. That was tied for second on the team behind Oh, showing that Kim would still grade out well from a power perspective even after the KBO changed its baseballs last year. Kim can be a focal point in stacks, and ideally, he'll still allow you to afford at least one of Oh or Fernandez.
Because we're splurging a bit with those two stacks, we should likely hunt for value in our third. That's where the Kia Tigers come into play.
They'll be facing Chae-heung Choi at Daegu Samsung Lions Park, which is, again, the most hitter-friendly environment on the slate. Choi had a 4.81 ERA and 1.53 WHIP last year while making 15 starts and 13 relief appearances. He'll now shift fully into the rotation, and it doesn't figure to improve the outlook of his numbers.
The big power bats on the Tigers are Hyung-Woo Choi ($14) and Preston Tucker ($13). Although both are lefties, they still hit fifth and third, respectively, when the Tigers faced a lefty on Wednesday (Choi homered in that game off a southpaw reliever), and they're in play if you want to stack this team. From a value perspective (the main allure of turning here), Chan-Ho Park ($8) (not that Chan Ho Park) deserves a look.
This Park is a speed demon who swiped 39 bags last year. He also hit leadoff in their game against a lefty and is not a complete drag with the stick. We shouldn't expect abundant extra-base hits out of Park, but the potential for steals still makes him worth our time, especially at such a low salary.