KBO Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 6/17/20
A big topic of discussion in MLB DFS is whether you should spend up at pitcher. In general, you should because it gets you access to strikeouts, and strikeouts are necessary if you're going to post a tournament-winning score.
In the KBO, strikeout rates are lower. That means the gap between the truly elite pitchers and more middling arms is lower, but it also means we have fewer pitching options with elite ceilings. When the supply is lower, the demand goes up, resulting in increased salaries and increased popularity.
Today, at least one of those factors is not in place. Sure, Mike Wright is on the slate, and he'll run you a whopping $29, $3 more than any other starter.
But we've also got high-strikeout options at much more friendly salaries, and we should take advantage of this delicious opportunity.
Below is the rundown of the starters on the slate, sorted by the salary of their team's starting pitching slot on FanDuel. Opposing runs per game totals are via My KBO Stats, and the team strikeout rates can be found at Baseball Reference. The park-factor number is a multi-year run factor via STATIZ 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|
Just based on the data alone, you should be able to spot some outlets for spending down without sacrificing upside. Let's run through those options and break this puppy down.
One of our cheaper options checks every box possible: good individual performance, good matchup, and a favorable park. That guy is Chris Flexen (Doosan Starting P; $23), who is our top arm of the slate.
Flexen's first year in the KBO has gotten off to a rousing start as he holds a 2.92 ERA through six starts. He pairs that with a 19.9% strikeout rate and impressive peripherals, meaning the low ERA isn't necessarily a fluke.
He has a chance to further that success on Wednesday in a matchup with the Samsung Lions. They're in the bottom half of the league in both runs per game and strikeout rate, and the game is in the most pitcher-friendly park on the slate. Although Flexen is coming off an injury, he missed only one start and shouldn't have to deal with a reduced pitch count. His bargain salary helps mitigate any concerns around length, as well.
For just $1 more, we can also consider Chan-gyu Lim (LG Starting P; $24), whose peripherals are better than his results thus far. Although Lim has a 5.24 ERA, his 22.2% strikeout rate, and 5.9% walk rate both indicate his ERA is due for some progression going forward.
That progression could easily take place here as Lim gets to face the Hanwha Eagles, who are no longer in a never-ending winless streak but still project as the best matchup in the league. Hanwha is averaging 3.30 runs per game with a 19.4% strikeout rate, both of which are easily the KBO's worst. Lim grades out below Flexen but has the upside to be the highest-scoring pitcher of the night.
The flip side of having elite low-salary options is that it could allow Wright (NC Starting P; $29) to go overlooked. Considering Wright leads the slate in ERA and is second in strikeout rate, getting him at reduced popularity is pretty attractive.
Using Wright is merely an attempt to gain leverage over the field as he's objectively in a less enticing spot than both Flexen and Lim. The Kia Tigers rarely strike out, and the park here isn't as good as either of the others. But Wright's still an option for tournaments if you want to get him while others look elsewhere.
In using Flexen and Lim, we get lots of flexibility with our hitters. That's a plus with some high-powered offenses in favorable positions.
One of those offenses is the LG Twins against Chad Bell. Bell was solid last year with a 3.50 ERA and 17.9% strikeout rate, but he hasn't been able to find the plate in 2020. He has a 15.2% strikeout rate and 13.9% walk rate through four starts, and he has let up at least four earned runs in three straight as a result.
LG will still be without Roberto Ramos ($17) through at least tonight, taking one high-salaried stud out of the equation and lowering the expectations for the entire offense. But Hyun Soo Kim ($14) becomes viable, and Kim hit second and recorded a double in LG's most recent matchup against a lefty. You could also utilize the lower-salaried hitters here like Eun-Sung Chae ($11) and Chun-Woong Lee ($9) in order to splurge on studs in your second stack.
We can use that saved salary on the Doosan Bears, who are facing Dae-woo Kim. Kim is transitioning to the rotation, and it hasn't been all that fruitful thus far. In four starts, Kim has allowed almost as many home runs (three) as he has strikeouts (five). That could lead to problems against the team with the second-most runs per game in the league.
You may not be able to afford both Jose Miguel Fernandez ($17) and Jae-Hwan Kim ($17) (the other stud, Jae-Il Oh, is on the injured list), but you should be able to shovel in at least one of them. Getting both is easier if you plug in Joo-Hwan Choi ($11), whose salary hasn't budged despite his six homers, ranking third on the active roster behind Fernandez and Kim. Loading up on Doosan isn't always easy, so we should take advantage on a slate that allows us to do so.
The third stack is another high-scoring offense, this one in a park that is more than willing to let up some runs. That's the KT Wiz against Tae-hoon Kim.
Kim is another guy moving to the rotation from the bullpen, and as with Dae-woo Kim, the transition hasn't been smooth. Tae-hoon Kim has more walks than strikeouts in six starts, pushing his ERA up to 4.91. Kim had a 25.7% strikeout rate last year, but that was all in relief. Despite a smaller sample, we should put more stock in what he has done this year, and that tells us we can afford to stack KT.
If we were to rank out all the studs individually between Doosan and KT, Mel Rojas Jr. ($16) would likely be the highest priority of the bunch. Not only is he slashing .379/.419/.703 with 12 dingers, but Rojas picks up the platoon advantage with a lefty on the bump. As such, if you're looking for a one-off. Rojas is the best hitter available on the slate.
KT can give us lower-salaried options, as well. Jeong-Dae Bae ($10) is another righty who hits near the top of the order, and Han-Joon Yoo ($12) tends to hit directly in front of Rojas. Regardless of how much salary you have left on the table, KT is an offense you can comfortably target.