KBO Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Saturday 5/9/20
On day five of the new KBO season, we've finally reached our tipping point. We're deep enough in the rotations where we're either rostering guys who were relievers last year or who struggled as starters.
What could go wrong?
There's going to have to be some guesswork and extrapolation on our part as we try to determine which guys can carry their skills from the 'pen into a new role. We could very well guess wrong, and it's a risk we've got to acknowledge before we plug in lineups. But at least everybody else is guessing, too.
Here's the list of starters for today's slate, sorted by the salaries of their starting pitching slots on FanDuel. Any pitchers with their names italicized made at least half of their appearances as a reliever, meaning we'll need to take their numbers with a baseball-sized grain of salt. The park factor numbers come from STATIZ with a higher number favoring hitters.
|Pitcher||Salary||L/R||Opp.||ERA||WHIP||K%||BB%||HR%||Opp. R/G||Opp. K%||Park|
|Yong-chan Lee (Doosan)||$27||Right||KT||4.07||1.44||15.7%||6.9%||2.3%||4.51||17.5%||959|
|Tae-hoon Kim (SK)||$25||Left||Lotte||3.88||1.26||25.7%||8.8%||1.4%||4.01||19.8%||1022|
|Hyun-hee Han (Kiwoom)||$24||Right||Hanwha||3.41||1.21||19.5%||8.00%||0.4%||4.22||19.9%||979|
|Young-gyu Kim (NC)||$24||Left||LG||5.29||1.70||15.0%||10.1%||2.3%||4.45||17.4%||1012|
|Tae-in Won (Samsung)||$23||Right||Kia||4.82||1.41||13.8%||7.9%||2.4%||4.2||16.7%||1093|
|Min Kim (KT)||$22||Right||Doosan||4.96||1.59||13.5%||9.6%||2.4%||5.11||14.1%||959|
|Chan-gyu Lim (LG)||$22||Right||NC||4.97||1.47||18.4%||11.7%||2.6%||4.68||15.6%||1012|
|Ki-young Im (Kia)||$21||Right||Samsung||5.73||1.77||16.4%||8.40%||3.1%||4.32||17.6%||1093|
|Won-sam Jang (Lotte)||$21||Left||SK||7.98||1.57||10.3%||4.4%||4.4%||4.55||17.4%||1022|
|Ee-whan Kim (Hanwha)||$20||Right||Kiwoom||4.26||1.66||8.8%||12.3%||1.2%||5.42||16.7%||979|
That's a whole lotta italics. Let's dig into this and try to sort out our best options.
There's only one pitcher on that list who had respectable numbers in a large sample as a starter last year. Unfortunately, he's also the most expensive one on the slate. For safety, Yong-chan Lee (Doosan Starting P; $27) is the way to go.
Lee didn't have amazing ratios or anything, and that's tough to swallow when you're dishing out such a high salary. However, among the players who made at least 10 starts last year, Lee had the best ERA by 0.75 runs, and it came with the second-best strikeout rate and the lowest walk rate. We know what he can do as a starter, and relative to the slate, it's not too bad.
If that's not enough to sell you, there are other factors working in Lee's favor. He's pitching at home in what grades out as the most pitcher-friendly park on the slate, and the opposing KT Wiz had the fourth-highest strikeout rate in the league last year. It's painful to pay this much for a non-ace, but Lee's worth it.
Among the players transitioning into the rotation, Tae-hoon Kim (SK Starting P; $25) is the one who stands out most. He was superb in the bullpen last year, posting a 25.7% strikeout rate with a 3.88 ERA.
Kim never threw more than 31 pitches in an outing that season, but he worked in more of a long relief role back in 2018. There, across 94 innings, he still maintained a 23.6% strikeout rate. He'll have to tame an undefeated Lotte Giants team, but they were second in the league in strikeout rate a year ago. Kim's upside is enough to justify going here despite the risk.
The other converted reliever we may want to consider is Hyun-hee Han (Kiwoom Starting P; $24). Han struggled as a starter back in 2018 with a 13.8% strikeout rate and 4.79 ERA, but he improved last year with a 3.41 ERA and 19.5% strikeout rate out of the bullpen. We could get scared off by Han's 2018 stats, but with this being his age-27 season, it's reasonable to expect some progression.
Due to the stability in his profile, Lee is the top guy on our list. With that said, both Kim and Han had great numbers in relief, and they're in plus matchups for this slate. You can justify turning to any of those three for your pitching slot.
All three pitchers we discussed came with salaries of at least $24, so we need to do some bargain hunting in our stacks. The SK Wyverns immediately stand out as our saviors there.
SK is going up against Won-sam Jang. Jang threw just 14 2/3 innings last year and struggled immensely, marking the fifth straight year he has finished with an ERA higher than 5.00. They're also in a slightly above average park for hitters, so this one checks all the boxes.
It may be tough to get to Jeong Choi ($16) and Jamie Romak ($14) while spending up at pitcher, but the rest of the lineup is $12 or cheaper. The big one we want here is Eui-Yoon Jeong ($11).
Jeong hit fifth when SK faced a lefty on Wednesday, and he figures to be around there again this time. Jeong is a righty stick who finished third on the team last year in both dingers (13) and slugging percentage (.447). Suk-Min Yoon ($8) hit second in that game and also benefits from the platoon advantage, making SK an ideal place to turn when looking for salary relief.
Our second outlet for savings is the Samsung Lions against Ki-young Im. Im posted a 5.73 ERA last year, and it was up at 6.26 the year before that. This is also the best hitting environment on the slate, something the Lions should be able to exploit.
The Lions' leading returners in home runs -- Won-Seok Lee ($10) and Ja-Wook Koo ($12) -- are both reasonably salaried and figure to bat sixth and third, respectively, against a righty. Lee belted 19 homers over just 455 plate appearances, more pop than you can usually expect for a hitter at $10. You'd love to be able to get up to Tyler Saladino ($14) after he hit his first KBO round-tripper last night, but Lee and Koo are good consolations if you can't quite afford him.
If the cheaper hitters leave you with some leftover salary to pay up for one-offs, then the Kiwoom Heroes once again seem to be a desirable outlet.
Kiwoom is facing 19-year-old righty Ee-whan Kim, who had more walks (12.3%) than strikeouts (8.8%) across an 11-appearance sample last year. His raw numbers were fine with a 4.26 ERA, but over a sample like that, we want to put more faith in the plate-discipline ratios, and those paint a grim picture.
The three priorities on Kiwoom -- Ha-Seong Kim ($14), Byung-Ho Park ($14), and Jung-Hoo Lee ($13) -- are all at least within striking distance even if you pay up at pitcher. You may not be able to get a full stack here, but with the team strength of Kiwoom and the plus matchup, they're likely the first place we should turn if our SK and Samsung stacks don't quite fill out our lineups.