Vegas Odds and probables courtesy of Pinnacle:
Hyeon -jong Yang, KIA Tigers, $21 FD/$9,500 DK – Yang started the season off on the wrong foot, allowing four earned runs and lasting just three innings (73 pitches). This is simply just a blip on the radar for an otherwise talented pitcher. The matchup against Kiwoom, a team that ZiPS is projecting to finish first in the league, is as difficult as it gets for a pitcher. This time around, Yang gets a much softer matchup against a Samsung Lions’ team that projects to be a bottom three team in the KBO this season. Most importantly, he has arguably the best track record of any pitcher in this slate. Over the last three seasons, he’s posted a 7.4, 7.4 and 7.9 K/9. That’s consistent with his 7.6 K/9 career number, which extends to over 14 seasons. Yang has also generated a 3.76 career ERA and is coming off his best run prevention season in which he posted a 2.29 ERA. We think that number isn’t going to hold moving forward but Yang’s ZiPS projection is a league leading 2.98 ERA and he’s among the top five in projected K/9 (7.9). All things considered, Yang should be considered the top pitcher on the board today. DK has priced him accurately but FanDuel ($21) has him priced as the eight most expensive pitcher, which makes him criminally under priced on that site.
Jake Brigham, Kiwoom Heroes, $23 FD/$8,500 DK – While Yang should be considered the top play in this slate, Brigham is a very clear second in our eyes. You’ll notice that Brigham pitched just 3.1 innings in his first start. You can disregard that start – he wasn’t able to finish it out due to a fire delay. Brigham has pitched four seasons at the KBO. During that time, he’s averaged a 3.69 ERA and 7.2 K/9. This season, ZiPS is projecting a 3.23 ERA (third best) and 7.6 K/9 (seventh best). The cherry on top is a matchup against a Hanwha Eagles team that’s projected to finish last in the KBO this season after finishing 9/10 last season. We’re expecting Brigham and the Kiwoom Heroes to be the second biggest favorites on the board this evening. Brigham’s DK price tag seems a bit discounted and we view him as the best value on the board at the position.
Young Gyu Kim, NC Dinos, $25 FD/$4,000 DK – Kim is priced as the second most expensive pitcher on FanDuel but on DraftKings he’s been priced as the cheapest on the board and it’s not close. The next highest priced pitcher is Jung Hyun Baek ($6,500 DK), who deserves a look in GPPs as well. Kim is just 20 years old and his performance at the KBO has been rather inconsistent. We have performances ranging from 6 IP, 5 ER and 1 K to a complete game shutout with 8Ks, which was his last outing to end his 2019 campaign. Kim was given a decent leash as a starter last season but he didn’t pan out. He was then converted to a reliever and then given another shot as a starter. This season, he’ll be given another chance to start for a NC Dinos team that’s off to a 4-0 start and project to have the fourth best record in the league. Ultimately, Kim is severely under priced on DK for a starting workload regardless of his inconsistencies.
Honorable mention: Dan Straily, Lotte Giants, $22 FD/$6,700 DK – Straily wasn’t a good pitcher at the MLB level but expectations have to be on the rise as he moves over to the KBO. While ZiPS is still expecting Straily to be a bit shaky on the ERA department, he projects to be one of the league leaders in K/9 with a projection of 7.6. He also provides a bit of safety from a workload perspective. If his first start (97 pitches, 5.2 IP) is any indication, Straily will be given every chance to toe the rubber and eat innings, particularly given the ugly bullpens at the KBO. We view Straily as a fine source of salary relief.
The Doosan Bears are involved in a game with a total of 10 runs and they’ve opened as -205 favorites. They’ll end up with a team total north of 6 runs, which is one of the highest totals we’ve seen at the KBO thus far. Jae Hwan Kim (DOO) (hit 37, 35 and 44 home runs back when the juiced ball was around), Jae Il Oh (DOO), Jose Fernandez (DOO) and Kun Woo Park (DOO) (leadoff hitter who has generated double digit home runs and stolen double digit stolen bases three time at the KBO) are in a great spot for production. Min Kim will be the opposing pitcher and he has an ERA approaching 5 (4.98) through two seasons. It’s a great matchup for an offense that projects to score the third most runs (726) at the KBO this season.
Opposing pitcher Warwick Saupold is coming off a complete game shutout. He projects to have a 3.90 ERA and a 7.2 K/9 this season. He’s not a bad pitcher. So why are we recommending picking on him? Well, for starters, the Kiwoom Heroes are the best offense in the league. They project to lead the league in runs (733) this season and have the best power hitter, ByungHo Park (KIW), in the league. The other aspect of this is we believe DFSers will flock to Saupold after his impressive opening salvo but we don’t view him as a dominant starter even at the KBO. Ultimately, Saupold generates soft contact but he doesn’t miss a lot of bats and that gets pitchers in trouble from time to time even in a league that has dejuiced their baseballs. As a result, you get the best offense in the league at what will likely be a low ownership number. We recommend taking advantage of this in tournaments.
Dan Straily projects to miss bats at an above average level at the KBO. He also projects to have an ERA above 4 and his inability to keep the ball on the ground should make him an easy target for home runs against. Power hitters Jamie Romak (SK) and Jeong Choi (SK) specifically are in a great spot for power production but we can’t dismiss the potential value of Jin-Gi Jeong (SK) IF he leads off once again. Jeong isn’t known for his power stroke but he’s led off in two consecutive games and he’s just $3,000 on DraftKings.