The Triple T: Tim’s Top Three
Hey everyone, with the lack of major professional sports due to coronavirus, it doesn’t leave a lot for us to play.
::KBO Baseball has entered the chat::
Yes, that’s right…Korean professional baseball has arrived on the scene and we will have to make do with it until our beloved MLB returns. DISCLAIMER: I am the farthest thing from a KBO expert and I am not going to pretend to be one, but I love baseball and analyzing statistics and just plain writing and putting something out for you guys so I figured I would try to throw something informal together for you so that we can have fun with this together! This article will absolutely NOT be as in-depth as my usual Triple T due to the lack of advanced metrics available, but will hopefully help to steer you in the right direction. For those unfamiliar with my article, I will be listing my three favorite MLB players at each position – I tried to list a guy in each pricing tier if possible as it does no one any good to list all of the most expensive, popular plays at each spot. Please note that these are NOT the only plays I like, but I can’t list everyone and truly try to narrow down the KBO field as much as possible.
Use these KBO plays along with your own research! Remember, this is a GPP-style article so I take some more chances than others. The format for this article is not set in stone so if there is something you want to see or would like me to consider changing, please let me know. After all, this site is for YOU. Let’s dive in!
Is MLB here yet?!
* Please make sure these guys are in the lineup! KBO lineups don’t get released until about 30-60 minutes before lock, so make sure you set your alarm to double-check lineups and weather!
The Top Three
Notes: Outside of Lim and Choi, I don’t feel confident in a ton of the other options. Mike Wright is priced pretty high and while it looks like he has been good on the surface, as I say below in my stack lists, his FIP two runs higher than his ERA, BABIP of .250 and LOB rate of 98% suggest that he could be due for some regression from his first two starts. His K rate is pretty impressive, but facing a Doosan Bears team that leads the league in offense, I will just look elsewhere. Lim should be pretty popular but I am just going to eat that chalk at his tag. He looked impressive against SK and now gets the lowly Samsung Lions who have the fourth most K’s in the league and the second lowest slugging percentage at .343. Buchanan has faced two of the best offenses in the league in Kiwoom and NC and has held his own to the tune of a 3.46 ERA and a .77 WHIP. I am a little concerned by his .189 BABIP and .93 groundball to flyball ratio but I think he limits the damage against a middle of the road LG team. If you want a true boom-or-bust fourth option, take a look at Cuevas. He was awful in his first start against Lotte, but we may be able to just chalk that one up to lack of preseason work because he looked great against one of the league’s top offenses, the Dinos. His 2019 WHIP of 1.17 followed up by a WHIP of 1.09 to start this season is encouraging and he gets to face Hanwha who are bottom of the league in slugging percentage. He makes for a nice GPP option if you need a fourth.
Top Three KBO Plays by Position
Eui Ji Yang (NC)
Dong Wong Park (Kiw)
Baek (Kia, if in. If not in, insert Se Park from Doo in this spot)
*You also have the option to completely punt with a close-to-minimum catcher but you should wait until lineups are confirmed to plug one in.
Baek Ho Kang (KT)
Byung Ho Park (Kiw)
Jae Oh (Doosan)
Min Woo Park (NC)
Chi Hong An (Lotte)
Suk Min Park (NC)
Jae Gyun Hwang (KT)
Jin Hyuk No (NC)
Ha Seong Kim (Kiw)
Woo Jun Sim (KT)
Outfield (6 for good measure):
Jae Hwan Kim (Doosan)
Jun Jeon (Lotte)
Jung Ho Lee (Kiw)
Sung Bum Na (NC)
Ah Seop Son (Lotte)
*Value across positions if needed to fit big bats, can be used as one-offs: Keon Chang Seo (Kiw)/Joo Hwan Choi (Doo)/Jae Ho Kim (Doo)/Jeong Dae Bae (Kt)
Top KBO Team Stacks (both sites, no order)
- I am going to list my preferred player stack, but these aren’t the only guys I would use as there may be some others that offer us salary relief.
Doosan (Fernandez/Jae Oh/Jae Hwan Kim/Joo Hwan Choi) – Mike Wright has looked good on the surface through his first couple starts, but there may be some underlying issues that we can exploit tonight. He has a stellar 2.45 ERA and is averaging a hearty K rate of one per inning while sporting a paltry 1.09 WHIP. Sounds like a guy we’d actually want to roll out in our pitcher spot, right? Not so fast. His FIP of over 2 runs higher than his ERA, his BABIP allowed of .250 and an unsustainable LOB rate of 98% suggest that he is getting a little lucky here to start his KBO career. His groundball-to-flyball ratio of .69 is the worst on the slate and the result of that is a HR allowed rate of 1.6 per nine innings which is also good for last on the slate. This is not a good recipe for success against a Bears team that is second in the KBO in homers with 17 and have a fair share of flyball hitters than can exploit the longball tendencies of Wright. Hwan Kim, Oh, and Choi all have ISOs over .319 and have the highest flyball rates on the team (56%, 45%, 50%) so I would start with them. Every tout site in the world was afraid of being wrong the last couple of slates so they continued to list Doosan as a top stack even though they weren’t in a good spot, so I’m sure they’ll continue to list them tonight which is kind of bummer, but hopefully after a couple nights of listing them and having them bust, they will lay off and we can get them a little lower owned than they’d normally be. Hey, wishful thinking, right?!
Kiw (Jung Hoo Lee/Byung Ho Park/Ha Seong Kim/Ji Young Lee) – This team was one of the top offenses last year but this year they have really struggled to get going. The main reason is two of their best hitters, Ha Seong Kim and Byung Ho Park, have really struggled this season, sporting ISOs under .163. These guys are much better than their 2020 numbers indicate and I refuse to believe the loss of Sands has made that huge of an impact. If those two turn it around, they could do some serious damage and tonight could be the night against Pinto and his 1.53 WHIP and 5.6 BB rate. Kiwoom walks among the most in the league so that 5.6 BB/9 could really come back to haunt Pinto. One area where Kiwoom is struggling is in making contact, striking out the second most in the KBO. That should be mitigated tonight facing Pinto who has miniscule 3.2 K/9 in his first two starts which happened to come against LG and Hanwha, two bad offenses.
NC Dinos (Yang/Min Woo Park/Sung Bum Na/Suk Min Park) – This is one that I am truly torn on. Young Ha Lee isn’t a complete gas can but he comes into this game sporting a 1.63 WHIP and 4.76 FIP. That just isn’t going to cut it against the league’s second best offense. My concern is that he does limit the longball, holding opponents to a .28 HR/9 and not allowing a single home through two starts this season. Those are exceptional numbers and they shouldn’t be ignored which is why I am listing them third. The bright spot here is that Lee’s control issues should get him in trouble with NC who walks among the most in the league and he will give way to a Doosan pitching staff/pen that is the absolute worst in the league.
*Boom-or-Bust Stack: Lotte (Jeon/Machado/Byun Min/Hoon Jung/Dae Ho Lee) – If you feel uneasy playing the Dinos against Lee, you can go Lotte against Min Woo Lee. Lee is another guy with control issues, sporting a WHIP of 1.6 both last season and this season. Like Young Ha Lee, Min Woo Lee also limits the longball damage, only allowing .5 HR/9 last season and none so far in 2020. What might make Lotte a little better stack than NC is that Min Woo Lee’s groundball to flyball ratio is a little lower than the other Lee which may give an opening for Lotte to take advantage as they have some high flyball hitters and they should come in much lower owned if I had to guess.
As always, remember to make sure these players are indeed in the lineup, that weather is okay, and keep an eye on vegas odds. Don’t forget that baseball is by far the highest variance sport but by truly digging in to the numbers and turning over every stone, we can mitigate that variance. Please follow Top Flight Fantasy Sports on Twitter and Facebook if you haven’t already and good luck!