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

Dan Straily is off to a hot start in the KBO. Will he keep things going against the Kia Tigers?

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 Wednesday is at 5:30 am 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 MyKBO Stats and Baseball Reference, and FanGraphs has created player pages for KBO players, too.

We don't have 2019 KBO stats for foreign players making the jump to this league, but foreigners generally perform well overall. Last season, foreign pitchers performed nearly 22% above league average, and hitters performed about 16% better, per MyKBO Stats.

Below is an overview of tonight's starting pitchers sorted by FanDuel salary. Pitchers who were in the KBO last season have their 2019 numbers listed. Those who did not play in the KBO last year have their 2020 stats shown (rows are italicized). Opposing team stats are also from 2020. And yes, we even have multi-year park factors from the Korean website, Statiz.

Note that on FanDuel these hurlers are listed by their team names (ex: "SK Starting P"), so those are also included.

Pitcher Salary L/R Opp. FIP ERA WHIP K% BB% Opp. R/G Opp. K% Park
Chang-mo Koo (NC) $28 L @DOO 3.77 3.20 1.18 25.4% 9.1% 7.45 14.1% 959
Tyler Wilson (LG) $26 R @SAM 3.25 2.92 1.16 18.0% 5.8% 4.50 19.2% 1093
Je-Seong Bae (KT) $25 R HAN 3.92 3.76 1.43 16.1% 9.9% 3.17 18.9% 973
Chris Flexen (Doosan) $24 R NC 3.48 3.75 1.25 24.5% 4.1% 6.27 18.4% 959
Chae-heung Choi (Samsung) $24 L LG 3.96 4.81 1.53 18.6% 7.5% 6.00 18.6% 1093
Drew Gagnon (Kia) $23 R LOT 3.07 6.10 1.45 30.4% 6.5% 6.00 16.4% 1003
Dan Straily (Lotte) $23 R @KIA 3.24 2.12 1.12 28.4% 9.0% 4.50 18.9% 1003
Jong-hoon Park (SK) $22 R @KIW 4.56 3.88 1.50 15.6% 9.2% 4.67 19.3% 979
Min-jae Jang (Hanwha) $21 R @KT 3.99 5.43 1.48 19.6% 5.1% 6.91 14.9% 973
Seung-ho Lee (Kiwoom) $20 L SK 4.36 4.48 1.51 15.4% 9.6% 3.09 21.0% 979

Let's check out which pitchers and stacks stand out on tonight's slate


We have quite the pitching slate on our hands, with four different pitchers showing elite strikeout upside.

Excluding the KBO newbies for a second, Chang-mo Koo (NC Starting P; $28) owns strong 2019 numbers across the board, sporting the best strikeout rate by a country mile (25.4%) and the second-best FIP, ERA, and WHIP. However, not only is he the night's most expensive arm, but he has the unenviable task of facing the dangerous Doosan Bears, who are crushing it to start the year and were one of the top offenses in 2019.

That being said, what Koo has going for him is that he's a southpaw, and most of the Bears' top sluggers bat left-handed. It's possible he could still find success tonight and between the high price and opponent, he ought to see lower ownership. Koo has also been unstoppable out of the gate this year, with a 36.7% strikeout rate over 14.0 scoreless innings.

But if the matchup scares you, the trio of 2020 KBO debutants in Chris Flexen (Doosan Starting P; $24), Drew Gagnon (Kia Starting P; $23) and Dan Straily (Lotte Starting P; $23) all have flashy strikeout numbers, too. Of this group, Straily in particular pops in a matchup against the Kia Tigers, who have scored the fourth-fewest runs per game thus far and were one of the worst offenses in 2019. Straily is also the only starter with three starts already under his belt, giving us some added confidence in his early season marks.

Flexen and Gagnon are in tougher spots against quality opponents in the NC Dinos and Lotte Giants, respectively, but they are still worthy of tournament consideration. Gagnon could be a sneaky pick considering the wide discrepancy between his ERA and FIP and an unlucky .393 BABIP. It's also worth noting that the Giants were a poor hitting team last year, so they could be playing over their heads a bit.


The number of high-quality arms narrows our focus on the other side of the equation, but the KT Wiz are one such team that could come through as a stack tonight.

The Wiz haven't been messing around to start 2020, trailing only the Bears in runs per game, OPS, and strikeout rate. Min-jae Jang had a solid 3.99 FIP, 19.6% strikeout rate, and 5.1% walk rate in 2019, but those peripherals didn't match his actual results, coming away with a slate-worst 5.43 ERA. Maybe some poor luck factored into this (.362 BABIP), but Jang has never really put it all together in a given season, as the 30-year-old owns a lackluster career 5.58 ERA and 1.65 WHIP. Ultimately, this doesn't look like the guy to slow KT down.

Mel Rojas Jr. ($15) and Baek-Ho Kang ($14) are the big guns in this lineup, and Jae-Gyun Hwang ($9) has nice power and speed at his price tag, compiling 20 bombs and 10 swiped bags in 2019. Yon-Ho Jo ($6) isn't anything special at the plate, but he's stepped in as a cheap number-three hitter the past two nights with Han-Joo Yoo out with a multi-week injury. Assuming he slots there again, Jo, Woo-Jun Sim ($11), and Min-Hyeok Kim ($9) give you plenty of inexpensive options near the top of the order.

The Kiwoom Heroes led the league in runs last season, and it's probably only a matter of time until they're at or near the top again. Jong-hoon Park has struck out 11 batters over his first 10 innings, but we should probably take that with a grain of salt -- last year's 15.6% strikeout rate is one of the slate's worst. Park's 4.56 FIP is at the bottom of this group and is in line with his 4.61 career ERA.

The Heroes boast Byung-Ho Park ($12), Jung-Ho Lee ($14) and Ha-Seong Kim ($12) for a formidable trio, and Keon-Chang Seo ($11) benefits as the leadoff man ahead of them. Dong-Wan Park ($8) posted a .375 wOBA and .148 ISO in 2019 and has already slugged three home runs this year.

Finally, the SK Wyverns have one of the slate's best matchups against left-hander Seung-ho Lee, but can they take advantage? Lee had middling numbers in 2019, and he hasn't inspired much confidence in the early going, allowing 6 runs over 9.2 innings with 5 strikeouts and 4 walks.

The Wyverns were a middle-of-the-road offense last year, so they shouldn't be this bad, and they've shown some signs of life the past few games. They could be worth a whirl at likely lower ownership, with Jeong Choi ($14), Jamie Romak ($12), and Dong-Min Han ($13) leading the way, although keep in mind that Han is in a lefty-lefty spot. Eui-Yoon Jeong ($7) is a good value, putting up a .361 wOBA and .166 ISO last year.