KBO Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 5/21/20
Thursday morning's KBO DFS slate is a celebration of youth. Prepare to feel washed.
Of the 10 starters, three are still teenagers, and two of them will be facing each other. They were all born in September of 2000 or later. Meanwhile, I buy low-sugar oatmeal because the full-octane stuff makes my tummy hurt.
On top of making us feel old, this puts a lot of guesswork on our plate as we'll have to make inferences about the performance of these players and how much they'll advance if they were in the KBO last year. We've gotta strap in, hunker down, and try to figure this puppy out.
Here's a look at the starters for Thursday's slate, sorted by the salary of their starting pitching slot on FanDuel. The individual pitcher stats are from 2019 if the player was in the KBO at the time. Hyeong-jun So (KT Starting P; $25) -- one of our youthful chuckers -- was not in the KBO last year, so his stats are from 2020 and are thus italicized. This is 18-year-old Min-ho Lee's (LG Starting P; $23) first start, and he wasn't in the KBO last year, so his numbers were omitted. Opponent numbers are also now from 2020 with the run totals being via MyKBOStats and the strikeout rates via Baseball Reference. The park factor numbers are via STATIZ and based on overall runs across multiple seasons with 1000 being neutral and a higher number favoring hitters.
|Pitcher||Salary||L/R||Opp.||ERA||WHIP||K%||BB%||HR%||Opp. R/G||Opp. K%||Park Factor|
|Se-woong Park (Lotte)||$27||R||@KIA||4.20||1.48||16.7%||8.7%||1.1%||4.93||18.9%||1003|
|Ee-whan Kim (Hanwha)||$26||R||@KT||4.26||1.66||8.8%||12.3%||1.2%||7.46||14.9%||973|
|Hyeong-jun So (KT)||$25||R||HAN||3.18||1.32||8.0%||2.0%||0.0%||3.57||18.9%||973|
|Jae-hak Lee (NC)||$24||R||@DOO||3.75||1.36||16.3%||7.7%||1.1%||6.77||14.1%||959|
|Seung-won Moon (SK)||$24||R||@KIW||3.88||1.13||16.9%||5.6%||3.9%||5.00||19.3%||979|
|Hyun-hee Han (Kiwoom)||$24||R||SK||3.41||1.21||19.5%||8.0%||0.4%||3.46||21.0%||979|
|Min-ho Lee (LG)||$23||R||@SAM||--||--||--||--||--||4.50||19.2%||1093|
|Tae-in Won (Samsung)||$22||R||LG||4.82||1.41||13.8%||7.9%||2.4%||5.92||18.6%||1093|
|Hui-kwan Yu (Doosan)||$22||L||NC||3.25||1.28||9.2%||6.1%||1.2%||5.77||18.4%||959|
|Ki-young Im (Kia)||$21||R||LOT||5.73||1.77||16.4%||8.4%||3.1%||5.23||16.4%||1003|
With these numbers in mind, which players should we target Thursday on FanDuel? Let's check it out.
Our first pitching recommendation does require some extrapolation, but it's not because of age. Instead, it's due to a new role. So far, though, Hyun-hee Han (Kiwoom Starting P; $24) seems to be transitioning well into the rotation, making him a top option on the slate.
Han spent all of 2019 in Kiwoom's bullpen and was lights out with a 3.41 ERA and 19.5% strikeout rate. Thus, it makes sense they would push him into a starting role to see if he could perform over larger bursts. Han's first two tests have been relatively smooth.
Across the two outings, Han has 11 strikeouts to just 3 walks in 11 innings. The strikeouts seem to have followed him into his new role, which is exactly what you want to see. He's at home to face the struggling SK Wyverns, who easily lead the league in strikeout rate at 21.0%, so Han is an ideal fit at pitcher.
If you decide you want to take on some extra risk with your pitcher slot, we can stick with that matchup between Kiwoom and SK. SK has just two wins this year, so buying in on Seung-won Moon (SK Starting P; $24) is a gamble, but he has a path to a ceiling.
Moon seems to struggle with hard contact. Across 26 appearances and 23 starts last year, he allowed a dinger 3.9% of the time, which is a crazy high number. But, when he wasn't letting up long balls, he had a 16.9% strikeout rate and 5.6% walk rate, helping him post a 3.88 ERA. Basically, he's high-variance, and that's not always a bad thing.
Moon has seven strikeouts in both of his starts this year, and Kiwoom has been willing to whiff with a 19.3% strikeout rate. Although Han is the preferred side of this game, Moon works if you want to live dangerously.
There is an opportunity to buy into the youngsters if you are so inclined. That would be via Hyeong-jun So (KT Starting P; $25) in his matchup with the Hanwha Eagles.
So's first two starts in the KBO have been impressive. He allowed just two earned runs in each, and one of those starts came against the Doosan Bears. The lone downside of So is that the strikeouts haven't been there yet, though it's too soon to say he can't get them. He's at home in a plus matchup, so it might not be a bad idea to get some speculative shares.
All three of the pitchers in the section above had salaries of at least $24, so we have to be frugal in our stacks. As such, let's start with the LG Twins.
LG is facing Tae-in Won, who struggled with strikeouts and homer suppression last year. His strikeout rate was 13.8%, and he allowed a round-tripper to 2.4% of the batters he faced across 26 appearances and 20 starts. That -- plus a hitter-friendly park -- bodes well for LG.
Within this stack, you may not be able to afford Roberto Ramos ($16), but everybody else should be in play. Especially alluring is the middle tier as Chun-Woong Lee ($12), Eun-Sung Chae ($12), and Min-Sung Kim ($10) all hit in the top five spots in the order the last time LG faced a right-handed starter. Lee, specifically, has swung a good stick to start the year and is likely to bat leadoff, making him a priority within the stack.
The Lotte Giants are a bit more expensive, so you may have to get creative in order to afford them. They're worth a look at least, though, against Ki-young Im, who had a 5.73 ERA and 3.1% homer rate against across 12 appearances and 8 starts last year.
The two fastest starters on Lotte -- Dixon Machado ($14) and Jun-Woo Jeon ($14) -- are spendy. Byung-Hun Min ($11) is also cracking things off the jump, though, and is affordable regardless of what you do at pitcher.
Most of Min's upside last year came via his legs as he swiped 13 bags. That's likely still in his bag of tricks, but he also has seven extra-base hits (two of which have left the yard) early this year. Chi-Hong An ($10) is another piece you can utilize in the heart of this order if you need help getting to Machado and Jeon.
If you find yourself with extra salary to burn, the first place to look would be the KT Wiz. They're facing Ee-whan Kim, who has pitched well to start the year with just two earned runs through two starts, but he finished last year with more walks than strikeouts and has an even number of the two in 2020. That should allow KT to get some ducks on the pond and jack up volume.
The reason the salary discussion is pertinent is that the KT crown jewel -- Baek-Ho Kang -- will run you $15, one of the more expensive hitters on the slate. He's worth it, though, with five homers already in his age-20 season, giving him 47 career KBO dingers before his 21st birthday. The youth movement isn't just at pitcher. Kang's a high-quality piece if you find yourself with $15 left to burn.