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: This slate feels pretty cut-and-dry in terms of pitching, but then again, in the KBO, no one is safe. Rucinski is facing Hanwha and should be popular and there is nothing wrong with him at all, he is just the most expensive of the bunch and I feel like we can get similar production from cheaper guys. Brooks has been lights-out for Kia through his first three starts, two of which came against top offenses Kiwoom and Doosan. Tonight’s matchup is much easier against the SK Wyverns who have struck out the second most times and have the second lowest slugging percentage in the league. That bodes well for his strikeout rate of 8.5 per 9 innings and when he isn’t making guys whiff, he is inducing grounders at an exceptional rate. His 3.56 groundball to flyball ratio is about as good as you could ask of anyone at any level of professional baseball. With that groundball rate naturally will come a high BABIP allowed (.404), but it doesn’t hurt much with a 0% walk rate and no homers allowed to this point. As good as Brooks has been, Alcantara has been just as good. He comes into this one with a K rate of 8 per 9 and a minuscule walk rate of 1 per 9 innings. He gets the Samsung Lions who sport the league’s lowest slugging percentage and Doosan are heavy favorites here.
Top Three KBO Plays by Position
Eui Ji Yang (NC)
Dong Wong Park (Kiw)
Se Park (Doo)
*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.
Notes: Yang has struggled to get going this season but he is hitting .324 against righties this season with his one homer coming against one.
Jae Hwan Kim (Doo)
Byung Ho Park (Kiw)
Notes: How do you fade Ramos right now?
Min Woo Park (NC)
Keon Chang Seo (Kiwoom)
Jae Hwang (KT – if in)
Suk Min Park (NC)
Jin Hyuk No (NC)
Notes: No is hitting .421 against righties this season with both his homers coming against them.
Ha Seong Kim (Kiw – if in)
Woo Jun Sim (KT)
Jae Ho Kim (Doo)
Notes: The value is too great here with Doosan’s Kim. His ISO of .077 leaves a ton to be desired but a 145 wRC+ is hard to ignore for the small price.
Outfield (6 for good measure):
Hyun Soo Kim (LG)
Jung Hoo Lee (Kiw)
Sung Bum Na (NC)
Young Ho Jo (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.
Kiw (Jung Hoo Lee/Byung Ho Park/Ha Seong Kim/Keon Seo) – Even though the Heroes have been a really good team this season, you can tell they are really missing Jerry Sands’ protection in the middle of the order. Park and Kim have been the main underachievers here and I think Kim has just been the victim of some bad luck. The games I’ve seen him on television or streams he seems to be making good contact with the ball and a low .261 BABIP may be evidence of that. If some of these turn into hits, it will go a long way for this offense. Tonight this Kiwoom team gets a “bullpen game” from Lotte and this pitching staff hasn’t been good at all to this point, carrying the 5th worst ERA in the league into this game against this dangerous, albeit underperforming, Kiwoom team.
Doosan (Fernandez/Hwan Kim/ho Kim/Woo Park) – I think most sites will recommend Kiwoom and Doosan tonight so we aren’t offering anything groundbreaking here, but it would be irresponsible not to list them. What I will say, though, is that maybe Fernandez is the guy to fade here. I know that’s a scary proposition, but Doosan has some real nice values on their squad where I think we can use them as a ‘filler’ secondary stack rather than building lineups around them. I love the spot they are in, but Fernandez comes at a hefty tag and while the .203 ISO justifies it, I think we can get a higher ceiling for a better price. After all, Fernandez has broken 19 points just twice all season. If you are “all-in” on Doosan or running multiple Doosan stacks various ways then playing Fernandez is probably for you, but if you are looking for a way to differentiate from all the other Doosan stacks, leaving him off is a way to it. Again, it’s a risk, but we need to find any way to separate from the field in this small KBO player pool.
NC Dinos (Yang/Min Woo Park/Sung Bum Na/Suk Min Park) – Speaking of differentiation, NC I think will be a contrarian play tonight despite having one of the league’s best offenses. It was really tough for me not to go KT in this spot because I love them too but I think the loss of Kang and possibly Hwang (keep an eye on the lineup) really hurts that offense. Aside from Rojas, there aren’t many impressive power bats in that lineup as Kang accounted for more than a third of the team’s homeruns. That doesn’t mean I won’t have some KT exposure because I will, it will just be through a mini stack or one-offs. Back to NC…they get Min Woo Kim (not to be confused with Min Kim) who on the surface looks great with a 1.99 ERA and .72 WHIP to start the season, but there may be more to the story. Kim’s FIP is approaching 5.00, almost 3 whole runs above his ERA and he sports an unsustainable .075 BABIP and 100% LOB rate. If those numbers come back down to earth, that 1.99 ERA is going to explode real fast. Kim was just a so-so pitcher last season and he is certainly not a 1.99 ERA-type guy. His exorbitant flyball rate is playing with fire with this NC team. Again, with this limited player pool in KBO, one of the only edges we have is ownership and I don’t think this NC team will be very owned, making the league leaders in HR’s an intriguing tourney option. If you want to play it safe, then Doosan and Kiwoom are probably your teams, but if you want to put your nuts on the table and try and win that big prize, taking a flier on NC is more than viable. Aaron Altherr is hitting .194 against right-handed pitching this year with a whopping 16 Ks in 31 ABs against northpaws. NC lefties may be in a decent spot but against Kim’s 9.4 K/9 rate and miniscule .068 avg and 29% K rate specifically to RHB , we may want to leave Altherr out of our stack entirely.
*Boom-or-Bust Stack: LG (Ramos/Chae/Soo Kim) – I am wondering if this whole stack will be chalk or if it will just be Ramos. Either way, they are in a great spot against the other Min Kim who has been a dumpster fire to start this season. He has an ERA of 9.00 and a HR rate of 1.8 per 9 innings but his groundball rate of 2.25, LOB rate of 52% and BABIP of .353 says that maybe he is due for some positive regression at some point. If you don’t want to go all in on the stack, I would at least get Ramos in there as it is a plus matchup and he should be one of the highest owned guys on the slate and it is dangerous fading that cheap, high-ceiling chalk no matter what sport we are playing.
*Contrarian Batter play: I know Preston Tucker burned a lot of people last night (myself included) which may leave him low owned tonight. Kia gets Tae Hoon Kim who has been great on the surface to start the season, sporting a 1.38 ERA and 1.28 WHIP while not yet allowing a homer. So, why Tucker? Kim has been a gas can his entire career. This year, his FIP is 2.5 runs higher than his ERA, he’s barely striking anyone out, he has the highest walk rate on the slate (4.15) and his “success” to start the year rests on an absolutely unsustainable .129 BABIP and 80% LOB rate. His flyball rate is also not something to write home about with a 1.17 groundball to flyball ratio. Tucker is a lefty while Kim is also a lefty and while that may turn some off, Tucker is hitting a remarkable .421 versus southpaws this season and 3 of his 5 homers have come against them. I’m not a huge fan of Kia otherwise but on a slate where we will need differentiation, a one-off of the hottest hitter in the league at possibly suppressed ownership could be the ticket. I know his salary is tight so one of the possible scenarios is playing him over the good but typically light-hitting Fernandez in a Doosan stack
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!
*Images courtesy of KoreaTimes and NewsPress