Vegas Odds and probables courtesy of Pinnacle:
Won-tae Choi, Kiwoom Heroes, $25 FD/8,900 DK – According to FanGraphs’ KBO projections, Choi is expected to finish this season amongst the league leaders in ERA after finishing 2019 with a sub-3.25 FIP. At just 23-years old, Choi has struck out at least six batters per nine in all four of his previous KBO seasons and he allowed a career-best 0.29 homers per nine innings in 27 starts last season. Choi will take on a Samsung Lions squad that ranked seventh in runs per game heading into last night and scored just two runs once again in that contest. Furthermore, they have struck out more than any other team in the league. Clearly, Samsung is expected to be amongst the worst teams in the KBO, with FanGraphs projecting them to finish eighth in the standings. The matchup is ripe, and Choi is priced cheaper than Young Ha Lee (DOO) in a tougher matchup, so go ahead and target him at SP1.
Mike Wright, NC Dinos, $27 FD/8,500 DK – Although Ricardo Pinto (SK) blew away the competition in his KBO debut, Mike Wright (NC) is my preferred target in the mid-range of pitchers on this slate. Pinto faces a Lotte Giants team that quietly has scored four-plus runs in every game and seven-plus runs in all but one game this season. Meanwhile, Wright will toe the mound versus a 1-5 KT Wiz squad. To be fair, the Wiz offense has started to get going as of late, having scored 6-plus runs in their last three games, including a whopping 28 runs during that span. However, Wright is clearly one of the top strikeout threats in the league (8.1 projected K/9 by FanGraphs), and the Wiz finished fourth in strikeouts last year. Both Wright and Pinto find themselves in relatively difficult matchups but are pitchers with slate-winning upside. Deciding which to play is a difficult proposition but Wright has flashed his strikeout ability at the MLB level (20.4-percent K rate across two teams in 2019) so I feel a bit more content about his skill level.
Chan Gyu Lim, LG Twins, $20 FD/7,200 DK – Due to weather conditions, Chan Gyu Lim (LG) has yet to pitch in the 2020 season, but he is a pitcher that has registered multiple 110-plus K seasons as a starter. Last year, he rotated back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen and struck out 72 batters in 88.2 IP. In other words, last year marked the third straight season in which Lim had struck out at least 18.4-percent of the opposing hitters he faced. Unlike the other pitchers discussed in this article, Lim is not exactly oozing with upside, having posted a FIP of 5.00-plus in back-to-back years. As of yesterday morning, the Wyverns were averaging the fewest runs per game of any team in the KBO, and had posted a league-worst .293 OBP. Lim could be catching them at the right time and, oh by the way, the Wyverns have struck out the second most times to this point as well. If Lim can at least rack up the strikeouts, he should at least possess a relatively safe floor at an affordable price point (he is the cheapest SP on the entire FD slate).
Honorable Mentions/MME Plays: Young Ha Lee (Doosan Bears), Ricardo Pinto (SK Wyverns)
Regardless of what level David Buchanan (SAM) has pitched at, dating back to 2010, he has struggled to miss bats. He had spent the last three years in the Japanese League prior to joining the KBO and his ERA rose every single year during his stay there. Additionally, he struck out no more than 5.2 batters per nine innings in any of his seasons in the Japanese League to go along with WHIPs of at least 1.50 every season. Basically, Buchanan is not a good pitcher no matter which league he is pitching in, and his inability to miss bats should lead to hits coming in droves against him in an average-driven league. Since he does not miss bats, he should allow at least 0.9 homers per nine innings for the third straight season as well, which bodes well for the likes of ByungHo Park (KIW) and Ha-Seong Kim (KIW).
Once again, a Bears game has opened with an over/under exceeded 10.0 runs (10.5 tonight) with the Bears listed as a heavy favorite. The Giants have been on fire in their own right so there is certainly some appeal to the overall game stack in a game with the highest total of the evening. Thus far, the Bears are one of just four teams averaging over 6.0-runs per game and opposing starter Jun-won Seo (LOT) is just 19-years old. Seo has just one full season under his belt in which he only struck out 13.5-percent of the hitters he faced, walked 8.6-percent and posted a FIP of nearly 5.00 (4.98). Facing one of the top offenses in the league, the youngster is in trouble tonight, but Doosan is the clear chalk. Joo Hwan Choi (DOO) has hit towards the middle of the lineup a few times this season and is still only priced at $2,200 on DK if trying to differentiate with the stack (and potentially target bats further down the line). Jose Miguel Fernandez (DOO) and Jae Il Oh (DOO) play the same positions as Choi and undoubtedly will garner significantly higher ownership.
The top single-entry stack of the night is the LG Twins who may get overlooked due to their matchup versus Ricardo Pinto (SK). Pinto was throwing in the mid-90s in his KBO debut and only allowed six baserunners in 6.1 innings of work. When all said and done, Pinto approached 20 DK fantasy points in his debut, which could sway the masses to thinking he may be a dominant pitcher. Every time Pinto was called up above Double-A, during his time as a prospect with multiple teams, he was absolutely smoked (FIP of at least 4.99 in each stint). Pinto also only finished with a 3:3 K/BB ratio in his first KBO start so there still was some cause for concern. Roberto Ramos (LG) hit 30 homers for the Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies Triple-A affiliate) with a .309/.400/.580 slash line and he continues to get overlooked in terms of price and ownership. His price has fallen to below $3,000 on DK which is just absurd for a player who should push the league lead in homers. Hyun Soo Kim (LG) is a former MLB player in his own right and these two should be the first two bats in any Twins stack lineup.
Favorite Individual Hitters: Sung Bum Na (NC), Ha-Seong Kim (KIW), Jose Miguel Fernandez (DOO), Roberto Ramos (LG)