Vegas Odds and probables courtesy of Pinnacle:
Eric Jokisch, Kiwoom Heroes, $25 FD/$8,700 DK – Jokisch is the top play at the starting pitcher position today. Jokisch and the Heroes are slate highs -182 favorites in a matchup against the Samsung Lions. The Lions project to be a bottom four offense in the KBO this season. Jokisch’s ZiPS projections for this season are a 3.70 ERA and 7.5 K/9, which ranks eight and ninth respectively. We’re pursuing him across all formats.
Drew Rucinski, NC Dinos, $26 FD/$9,200 DK – While Rucinski didn’t enjoy much major league success (5.33 ERA in 54 IP), he crushed the KBO in his debut season, generating a 3.05 ERA/3.92 FIP in 177 IP in 2019. If the start to this season is any indication, there’s a chance that Rucinski’s Ks take a leap forward. Rucinski struck out 6 batters in 6 IP and his breaking ball looked very nasty early on. Even if his ceiling is striking out a batter per inning at the KBO, that’s more than good enough for DFSers especially when you consider that most pitchers in this league don’t have that sort of upside on a regular basis. Rucinski only posted a 6.04 K/9 last season so while we expect a leap in the K department, it’s unlikely that he averages a K per inning for the entire season. As for today, he has a matchup against a projected bottom four team (KT Wiz) that’s off to a 1-4 start to the season. Rucinski isn’t a must especially when you consider that he’s the most expensive pitcher on the board, but he’s viable in all formats.
Aaron Brooks, KIA Tigers, $21 FD/$7,500 DK – All things considered, we view Brooks as the top value pitcher on the board on today’s slate. Brooks looks set to dominate the KBO. He’s coming off a start against the Kiwoom Heroes, the top offense from last season and projects to be the best offense this season, and he dominated them. In 5.2 IP, Brooks generated 6Ks and allowed just one earned run. Brooks also generated 10 ground balls to just three fly balls. It’s a very small sample but keep in mind that Brooks pitched in MLB games in 2019 and pitched quite regularly (29 appearances, 18 starts). We realize that he wasn’t very good at the MLB level but he has three pitches (fastball, changeup and curveball) that should have a lot of success at the KBO. He’s a -164 favorite today. Pursue him aggressively on both sites.
Honorable Mentions: Nick Kingham (SK Wyverns), Odrisamer Despaigne (KT Wiz)
You shouldn’t be surprised to see the Bears be the top ranked stack once again. They own a team total of 6+ for the second straight game. Jose Miguel Fernadez (DOO) nearly set the league record for hits last season. Through 22 PAs this season, Fernandez has generated 13 hits and an absurd 282 wRC+. That’s an unrealistic level of performance moving forward but Fernandez has shown that he’s clearly one of the best pure hitters at the KBO. Jae Hwan Kim (DOO) is the best power hitter in a Doosan uniform, though last season his HR total (15) dipped significantly in a year that didn’t have the juiced baseball around. Still, it’s very likely that Kim leads this team in home runs. Jae Il Oh (DOO) and Kun Woo Park (DOO) are additional parts of this stack that are strong plays. Sam-won Jang is the opposing pitcher and he’s a lefty, which puts Fernandez, Kim and Oh on the wrong side of the split since they’re lefties as well. We’re not too worried about the L/L matchups because Jang isn’t any good and he’s a reliever. We’re expecting the bullpen to factor into this game early and often for the Lotte Giants.
If the L/L matchup for the stud plays in a Doosan uniform scares you or you believe they’ll be too popular, then simply pivot to the Tigers today. The Tigers certainly aren’t as potent of an offense as the Bears but their matchup against righty Min Woo Kim is arguably the best one in the entire slate. Kim allowed two home runs in his first start of the season and owns a 6.85 ERA throughout his five year career at the KBO. He’s pitched primarily as a starter, too. Preston Tucker (KIA) has slugged three home runs to open up the season and he will be one of the primary sources of power in the Tigers’ offense. Sun Bin Kim (KIA) is off to a scoring hot start as well and he’s just 3,600 on DK.
The Heroes have been a staple of our content to open up the season and they’ll be in play once again today. If Ben Lively’s first start is any indication, he’s going to miss bats at an above average level at the KBO but his inability to keep the ball on the ground is going to be an issue. Lively served up two home runs in his first start and generated 11 fly balls and 5 ground balls. One start is ultimately a blip on the radar for a pitcher but this is pretty consistent with Lively’s track record at the MLB level as he only posted a 36.6% GB rate throughout his career. Fire up power phenom ByuongHo Park (KIW) in this matchup. He Seong Kim (KIW) is off to a slow start but he’s going to turn it around sooner rather than later. After all, the 24 year old has been a consistent source of power and speed as he’s hit double digit home runs and stolen double digit bases in nearly every full season at the KBO.