It’s going to be significantly more difficult to evaluate starting pitchers on day 2 of the KBO. For starters, we might have some guys starting today that will only pitch a couple of innings. Given that bullpens in this league aren’t great, we could end up seeing higher scoring affairs. Ultimately, these pitching decisions will likely take some time. At the time of this writing (2 PM in the afternoon) we’re unlikely to have all of the correct probables for this slate, which is something to keep in mind. Also, this slate locks at 5:30 AM ET. Have your coffee at hand at 4:30 AM as we should start to get official lineups then.
UPDATE: Vegas Odds have been released for this slate along with probables. According to Pinnacle:
Young-ha Lee, Doosan Bears, $26 FD/$8,500 DK – Here’s the good news with Young-ha Lee; he’s a starter and is coming off what’s clearly his best season to date from a results standpoint. In 2019, Lee compiled a 3.64 ERA and won 17 games. Lee is just 21 years old and is playing for a Doosan Bears team that has finished with the best record in the KBO in three of the last four seasons. The Bears will likely be favored to win this game, too, so he’ll have some win equity on his profile. The bad news is that Lee doesn’t miss bats, compiling a strikeouts per 9 of just 5.8 over the course of his first three seasons. That makes that 3.64 ERA from last season look pretty darn lucky, especially when you consider that his ERA was above 5 in his first two seasons. All things considered, Lee is still one of the better arms in this slate. UPDATE: Eric Jokisch (Kiwoom Heroes) is a confirmed probable starter for the Kiwoom Heroes. Jokisch generated a K/9 of 7 last season and a 3.13 ERA in 181 IP. He’s emerged as the top pitching play in this slate.
William Cuevas, KT Wiz, $23 FD/$7,300 DK – Cuevas is a former MLBer but he struggled to make an impact at that level. As a result, he spent a lot of time at the minor league level and in his best season at AAA he compiled a 3.39 ERA/4.14 FIP and 8.05 K/9. His fastball typically tops out at 90-91 MPH. That type of talent isn’t going to do much at the highest level of baseball but it can pan out in Korea Baseball. Additionally, Cuevas spent most of his AA/AAA years as a starter. We’re expecting him to start today and pitch over five innings, which is more than what you’re going to get out of bullpen guys that start games. On top of the expected starting assignment, Cuevas’ matchup against the Lotte Giants is perceived as one of the best ones. After all, the Giants hit for a .250 batting average and 90 home runs last season as a team. While the talent is somewhat questionable, Cuevas ends up being one of the better pitching values today when you consider the matchup and the expected workload.
Ricardo Pinto, SK Wyverns, $27 FD/$4,000 DK – Pinto is another former MLBer that didn’t quite pan out. He only pitched over 100 innings at the minor league level twice. Utilized mostly as a bullpen arm, it’s difficult to pinpoint Pinto’s workload expectation. The fact that he’s the probable starter for today is certainly a positive but pitching 2-3 innings and 5-6 is a significant difference. Given the mediocre bullpens at the KBO, our guess is that Pinto will be given every opportunity to pitch more than a handful of innings IF the results are positive. At the KBO, that just means good BABIP luck as most of the league is contact oriented and pitchers simply don’t miss bats. Another positive for Pinto is that he can touch 94-95 MPH with his fastball, which most hitters don’t get to see at this level of baseball. On a rather ugly day of pitchers, why not punt SP2 on DK and load up on offense?
The Doosan Bears have finished with the best record in the KBO in three of the last four seasons. They boast one of the better offenses in the league and they get a tasty matchup against over the hill Eun-beom Song. Here are Song’s ERA numbers over his last three seasons as a starter; 6.51, 6.42 and 7.04. He’s now 36 years old. You could argue that the Bears have the best matchup in the entire slate. We’re running it back with the likes of Jose Miguel Fernandez, Jae-hwan Kim and Jael-il Oh.
The Kiwoom Heroes get a matchup against Aaron Brooks, former MLBer who compiled an ERA over 6 in 170 IP throughout his career. Will Brooks be a better KBO pitcher? Almost assuredly given the level of competition. Still, the Kiwoom Heroes led the league in runs per game last season and have the best power hitter in the league, ByungHo Park. Park has hit 33, 43, 53, 52, and 37 home runs over his last five seasons at the KBO. He hits right in the middle of the lineup for Kiwoom and he’s a lefty, which gives him the platoon edge against Brooks, who’s a righty. Park started this season off right where he left off, hitting a home run and getting on base three times. A potent lineup against a questionable MLB talent, expect the Kiwoom Heroes to have one of the higher team totals in this slate.
The KT Wiz were in the playoff conversation last season but a record of 71-71 had them outside looking in. Their .277 batting average last season was solid and they have former rookie of the year Baek-ho Kang in their roster. Kang started off his season with a home run blast yesterday. The 20 year old is expected to improve. Ultimately, this team doesn’t boast a league leading offense but their matchup against Jun-won Seo is one of the better ones in this slate. Seo is very young (19 years old) and got rocked to the tune of a 5.47 ERA. Like most KBO pitchers, SEO doesn’t miss bats, compiling just a 5.8 K/9 in his rookie season.