While the re-opening of America and sports is on the up-and-coming, although with no real timetable for return beyond suggestion, the Korean Baseball Organization (via ESPN) is capitalizing on the ability to play games without fans as their 2020 season began a mere week ago. And depending on your time zone and current sleep schedule, catching live action could be the breath of fresh air you need to stay sane (Hell, I know I did).
And what good would all this newfound non-virtual action be without some DraftKings lineups to cross your fingers for?! If you’re able to set some oddball alarms in order to secure confirmed starters for your rosters (which release one hour before slate locks HERE), then there is a massive edge to be had against a field that’s in part setting-and-forgetting their lineups solely based on starting probability assumptions.
With some familiar names of MLB relevancy from just a season ago, setting KBO DFS lineups brings back a euphoric sense of degen normalcy; and team-stacking all the more correlative in regards to scoring. Despite the notoriety of bat flipping for showmanship, the KBO features less of the long ball by comparison to MLB, translating to a near necessity of five-man player stacks based on how runs are engineered more through singles and doubles.
With a very palatable number of teams to indulge in on a nightly basis (every slate featuring all ten teams), five-game slate regularity makes for standard preparation with little pivot necessary. Let’s touch on some introductory feelers for KBO DFS: from batters, pitchers, and considerable team stacks of interest.
(For slates between Friday, May 15th – Sunday, May 17th)
Preston Tucker (OF), Kia Tigers (vs. DOO)
Fourth time’s a charm? The once-hopeful prospect of each the Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds, and Atlanta Braves is pulling plenty of weight for the Kia Tigers as the second-highest RBI leader in the league after a week of play, batting in 11 runs off of 11 hits on 29 plate appearances (0.478 Batting Average).
Touting a solid .357 ISO, Preston Tucker brings plenty of power to the plate for the KIA Tigers, as he already has three home runs in just over a week of playing time. And rocking a 221 wRC+, which is currently fifth-highest in the KBO, is a very appealing added sake of the argument in rostering Tucker.
Also worth noting: this guy put up 45 DraftKings Fantasy Points last Sunday by means of two home runs in a game, along with six RBI. Most definitely a GPP candidate, and garnering little ownership recently.
Jose Miguel Fernandez (1B/2B), Doosan Bears (vs. KIA)
After his prominent eight-year career in the Cuban National Series since the age of 19 years old, Jose Miguel Fernandez has since played nearly two years in the MLB farm system with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before transitioning to his newfound home with the Doosan Bears in the KBO. And if his first eight games in action are any indicator, he’s certainly landed in the right league to shine.
Fernandez is absolutely mashing the hell out of the ball, to the tune of a .500 BA, .541 OBP, .294 ISO, .567 wOBA, 249 wRC+, and two home runs on 37 plate appearances. Granted it’s a small sample size, but he’s stayed hot to this point. Oh, and I forgot to mention his strikeout percentage barely reaches over 8% so far this season.
Although you will have to spend up significantly to roster him on a daily basis (he hasn’t been cheaper than $5,200 on DraftKings), his superb performance thus far warrants that merit. One might consider that, given the number of value players on each slate, his lofty price tag may drift the field ownership in other directions.
Jun-Woo Jeon (OF), Lotte Giants (vs. HAN)
In his twelve seasons in the KBO, all twelve were played with the Lotte Giants, with his best work coming in the two most recent. Despite the injection of juiced balls into the league in that latter time frame, Jun-Woo Jeon has proven every bit as consistent as he has loyal to his Giants.
Over the course of his KBO career, Jeon has posted a .295 BA, .360 OBP, .352 wOBA, and 138 home runs. In his 2020 season, he’s averaging 11.25 DraftKings Fantasy Points per game (in eight games played) and already has three home runs in just 38 plate appearances, along with a potent .324 ISO and .297 BA (near identical to his career average).
His price on DraftKings has jumped a bit for the first time in four games, and likely to reflect/catch-up on his dominant start in nearly every game played. I will be rostering plenty of him in Guaranteed Prize Pools, and if I played Cash Games, I’d gladly be getting to him as an anchor play as well.
Other Bats I Will Gladly Consider:
Byung-Ho Park (1B), KIW
Mel Rojas Jr. (OF), KTW
Jae-Hwan Kim (1B/OF), DOO
Roberto Ramos (1B), LG
Byeong-Wuk Lim (2B/OF), KIW
Chi-Hong An (2B), LOT
Dong-Yeop Kim (OF), SAM
Joo-Hwan Choi (1B/2B), DOO
Sung-Bum Na (OF), NCD
Jae-II Oh (1B), DOO
Dan Straily, Lotte Giants (vs. HAN)
While I’m not always the first advocate of riding the chalk by any means, Friday may be a necessary play in both Cash Games and GPPs (oh, I’ll be hedging too). Priced modestly at $7,000 on DraftKings is an understatement, with a 26.55 DKFP average in two starts.
Straily was notoriously targeted against more famously in MLB Daily Fantasy, and this was a strategy immediately deployed by the masses on the first day of action when he made his KBO debut. Much to their dismay, he shut down KT Wiz stacks everywhere and doubled-down in his last performance with a whopping 12 strikeouts and a total of 39.95 DKFP, which is quite remarkable.
Not just for this slate, but for the sake of going forward, I’d advise keeping Dan Straily close to your DFS rosters so long as the pricing and performance keeps afloat. In his two starts this season, Straily is averaging a 1.42 ERA, 2.93 FIP, 0.71 WHIP, and 26.1% K-BB ratio (which is a damn good start).
Chang-Mo Koo, NC Dinos (vs. SK)
The NC Dinos are off to a terrific start, with a KBO-leading 7-1 record, and sitting at a massive 50 runs total (4th in KBO). While their offense is clearly dominating ball games, the pitching has also been stellar on behalf of the young Chang-Mo Koo.
The 23-year old is off to a fantastic 2-0 start, and boasting a massive 18 strikeouts in 14.0 innings pitched. And more notably to mention, he’s pulling a 0.00 ERA and a 0.64 WHIP, which is likely his best two-game start to a season entering the fifth year of his career.
Now smoking red hot, it appears he’s been on the uptick since his 2019 season, where he drastically turned his seasonal numbers around from a 1.57 WHIP in 2017 to 1.17 at the end of 2019. If he continues the 2020 pace, I will gladly spend up for numbers like this regardless of where I have to compensate on my roster.
(While he did just start on Thursday morning and may not see time until the start of next week, he’s very much worth mentioning in case the next article written comes after his next start)
Warwick Saupold, Hanwha Eagles (vs. LOT)
While he may not be a strikeout dispenser, Warwick Saupold has managed to get the job done on both the field as well as in Daily Fantasy, particularly from his proven ability to go the distance in games. And at the same time several of the bigger names who ventured over from the Majors did so most recently, Warwick has been acclimated for a full season in 2019 (31 games), and the numbers show signs of significant improvement at an early 2020 glance.
Starting off the season with a spectacular complete game and 31.45 DraftKings Fantasy Point performance against the SK Wyverns, Saupold is slinging the baseball with a 1.20 ERA, 1.20 BB/9, and an outstanding 0.60 WHIP in two games pitched (15.0 IP).
He’s skyrocketed in price since his monumental debut (over $9,000), but I would say as long as he’s going deeper into games then he’s worth the investment (since you won’t be getting as many fantasy points by way of strikeouts with Saupold).
Other Pitchers I Will Gladly Consider:
Eric Jokisch, KIW
David Buchanan, SAM
Aaron Brooks, KIA
Odrisamer Despaigne, KTW
Drew Gagnon, KIA
Woo-Chan Cha, LG
Drew Rucinski, NCD
Hyun Jong Yang, KIA
Min Woo Kim, HAN