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!
***I am going to do it a little differently today – I am going to list my top three pitchers, my top three stacks, and my top three one-off players. I am not going to go position-by-position today as I am trying something different. Let me know what you think!
Top Three Pitchers
Pitcher (No order):
Yong Chan Lee
Boom-or-bust: Yoon Dong Heo
Notes: Tonight doesn’t offer us a ton of options at pitcher, but what else is new in the KBO, right?! Hyun Jong Yang is a really good pitcher despite the elevated HR/9 rate, but his FIP of 4.86 is almost a run and a half higher than his ERA which coincides with a low .254 BABIP which could signal he is a getting a tad lucky. I don’t mind him if you have the salary and want to spend up, but KT doesn’t strike out much which may limit his upside so I think I will hang around the Saupold and Kelly range. Saupold and Kelly don’t strike guys out either, but they also come at bigger discounts than Yang and in better matchups. I do expect Kelly and Saupold to get touched up, but I can stomach it a little better for the lower price. What I like about these two is that they limit their baserunners and they don’t allow homers. Kelly has a remarkable 4.14 groundball to flyball ratio and while Saupold’s is much lower at 1.2, Saupold’s minuscule WHIP of .96 makes a homer allowed here and there a little easier to swallow if no one is on base. Kelly’s ERA is ugly, coming in at 5.79, but the FIP of 2.89 and the BABIP of 3.60 speaks to a guy who is due for some batted ball luck. That is to be expected with groundball pitchers as grounders and liners are more likely to go for hits than flyballs, but I will take the grounders all day. It also helps that Hanwha is one of the worst offenses in the league, sporting the thirs lowest average and second lowest slugging percentage. Speaking of slugging percentages, SK checks in with the lowest in the league even despite having Romak and Choi on the roster and that is really the only reason I listed Lee. It is more about the matchup than it is Lee as Lee has a disastrous 1.9 WHIP and 2.37 HR/9 allowed, but SK strikes out a ton and has no power so really all we are hoping for by throwing Lee is that he can go 5 or 6, give up a few and grab the win. An intriguing option is Yoon Dong Heo of the Samsung Lions. Samsung has been scuffling to start the year and their young first pick of the most recent draft could put some spark into them. By all accounts, he has decent stuff, but how that translates to the KBO remains to be seen. What I like about him is that he is a lefty and facing Lotte. Why is that relevant? I pulled the splits on Lotte’s 6 best hitters this season to lefties and they are UGLY. Dae Lee is hitting .154, Son .286, Jeon .214, Min .143, An .231, and Machado .100. None of them have hit a round-tripper against a southpaw this season either. I am hoping the lack of tape on Heo coupled with this team’s struggles to lefties allow Heo to go 5 or 6 and grab a win in his first start. A bonus is that he is priced in the mid-5’s so if he completely busts, it doesn’t sting as much as if he were $8k+. This guy is a risk so I won’t have a ton of exposure, but I definitely will have some shares.
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.
NC Dinos (Yang/Min Woo Park/Sung Bum Na/Altherr/Kang) – The Dinos will probably be the highest owned stack on the slate but rightfully so as they get complete gas can Dae Hyun Jung. Jung hasn’t pitched in the KBO since 2017 and in his years here, I don’t think he recorded an ERA under 4.00. In that 2017 season, he allowed a 7.06 ERA with a 1.72 WHIP and allowed 13 homers in 66 innings. A homerun rate that high doesn’t bode well against one of the top offenses in the league and I don’t think this guy magically figured things out in his time away from South Korea. The usual suspects will be popular in this stack and unlike other sites out there, I am not going to list every single guy on the team, but try and narrow it down for you and that is hopefully how we will get our edge over the competition. The first guy I am going to plug is Sung Bum Na. Some may be scared of the lefty-on-lefty matchup, but Na has actually smashed lefties to the tune of a .391 average and 2 homers thus far. As much as I love Yang at thetop in the catcher spot (and he is viable as well with his .364 average against lefties), it will be hard to pass up Jin Kang at that same position for a whopping $2k cheaper and just as high upside. Kang is hitting southpaws at a .385 clip with 3 homers so if he isn’t starting tonight, I have seen it all. Min Woo Park has a .380 average against lefties so far so he is also in play and if you want to round out the four-man stack, Aaron Altherr completes is nicely as he is demolishing lefties with a .412 average and two homers against them. Some may fade Aaron on DK because of his price and his inconsistency, but these are the matchups we play him in – mediocre lefties. Since some like to play a five man stack and we can only use one of Yang or Kang, our fifth can be Suk Min Park although he doesn’t hit lefties very well so I wouldn’t force him, though with Kang, we should have the loot. If Jung gets pulled early, Park smashes righties so he will have value in that regard. No is very cheap, but I will be avoiding him and his .000 average to lefties (0 for 14) and I will be avoiding Myung Lee as he doesn’t hit lefties very well.
Doosan (Fernandez/Jae Hwan Kim/Jae Ho Kim/Jae Oh/Hur) – I am not going to get into too much detail on Doosan because we all know they’re in play every night, but especially tonight against the lowly Wyverns. If you saw my sheet that I put out on Twitter earlier with the pitcher stats, you will see that Chan Lee had pretty great numbers, but it should be noted that those are also over a total of three innings. We can’t really go by that data, but what we do know is that SK seems to want to try and right their pitching staff and one of the things they seem to be doing is trying to convert Lee into a starter. Since he’s only tossed three innings, I don’t think he is entirely stretched out which means Doosan can hop on a below average staff (that’s putting it nicely as SK is second worst only to these Doosan Bears in team ERA). I don’t personally buy into Lee’s numbers on my sheet as they are simply unsustainable so if the Bears can erase him early, it could be all systems go after that. I definitely understand if a full Doosan stack scares you as Lee is largely unknown so I am okay with a fade and maybe just roll the cheap guys like Hur and/or Oh for value and go elsewhere for a stack and hope Lee can miraculously shut them down. After all, fading Doosan usually gives you one of the biggest ownership edges in KBO DFS. Does it work out most of the time? Well…probably not, but on the chance they get shut down, and Lee very much is an unknown, not having them could vault you to the top.
Kiwoom (Jung Hoo Lee/Ha Seong Kim/Dong Won Park/Byung Ho Park) – This is another stack that I expect to be pretty popular and rightfully so. The Dinos are rolling Young Gyu Kim and while the 3.94 ERA looks acceptable from afar, the 7.24 FIP tells another story. Kim doesn’t strike guys out at a high clip which is one of the issues that has plagued these Heroes so far. Kim is allowing a .323 average to opposing righties compared to .250 against lefties so the righties of Kiwoom are definitely who we want to plug in. ByungHo has been slumping against southpaws this season to a .222 average but we know how good he is usually and he probably can’t be left off a team stack. After him, Dong Won Park is one of the few viable offensive catchers in KBO and he comes in with a .286 average and 2 homers against lefties. Hoo Lee is a lefty himself but one that hits fellow lefties pretty well as seen by his .500 average against them this season. Ji Young Lee also hits lefties well and if he is in the lineup gives you another value option to add to your pool. Ha Seong Kim hasn’t been hitting lefties well so far this season, but he has traditionally so we will round off the stack with him.
Boom-or-bust stack: Samsung Lions (Hak Ju Lee/Sang Su Kim/Dong Yub Kim/Won Seok Lee/Gye Beom Park) – This one is a true all-or-nothing stack and probably shouldn’t be reserved for your primary lineup, but could be a nice little large field play. Lotte is rolling Adrian Sampson tonight who is expected to be on a pitch count somewhere around 50 as this is his first start of the season. As we saw previously with guys making their first starts of the season, particularly foreign pitchers, it is a tad shaky to start before things have settled down. The first overseas start coupled with the pitch count makes Samsung a little intriguing. If this were any other team besides the Lions, I would be all over this matchup, but unfortunately Samsung has been one of the worst offenses and they’re missing arguably their best hitter in Koo. With that said, this is a team that just put up over 12 runs in two of their last three games so we know they have it in them! Dong Yub Kim has gotten off to a slow start in 2020, but previous to the juiced-ball era, he hit 27 homers in 2018 and 22 in 2017. With rumors that the juiced ball is back, could he possibly hit those numbers again? It remains to be seen, but if I am playing Samsung tonight in a lineup, he will be in it. Sang Su Kim doesn’t have a ton of power but he sets the table and is always a candidate to swipe a bag or two if he gets on base. Won Seok Lee is another that has started the year slumping, but had 19, 20, and 18 homers in the years before last season’s juiced ball so the power potential is there. Gye Beom Park is coming off a 3-hit, 3-run performance last night in the 11-1 routing of Lotte. That Lotte pen is taxed after last night and has to deal with a Sampson pitch count AND sports the league’s third worst ERA so the stars could be aligning for another Lions explosion at almost no expected ownership.
Top Three One-off Plays
– Rojas (KT) – I mentioned Yang as a potential play on the bump for Kia but he does have some areas of concern like a high FIP and a high HR/9. However, I wasn’t overly thrilled with KT’s numbers going into this one against lefties aside from Rojas’s. Rojas is sporting a whopping .474 average to them while adding two homers. I don’t think a lot will be on KT, especially Rojas at his price so he could be a nice little one-off that offers one of the highest ceilings on the slate.
– Tucker (Kia) – Speaking of ceilings, I don’t think there is one higher in the league than Tucker’s. We have seen already put up two 40+ point performances so we know what the possibilities are whenever we fire him up. Kia might actually be popular tonight as Jun So has been dreadful to this point, but I am not sure I am all-in on a Kia stack.The LOB% and BABIP also tell us that maybe So’s luck turns around soon, though with a K rate of 3.3 per 9, I will not hold my breath. As bad as So has been, he has limited the longball and induces grounders at a very high rate (2.77 GB/FB) which is something I usually try and avoid. That doesn’t mean we still can’t find some pieces within this Kia lineup to fill in around our other stacks and Tucker has been clocking righties and could again tonight with the below average So on the hill.
– Romak (SK) – Lee is on the mound for Doosan and to say he has struggled so far would be an understatement. However, for as much as he has had a tough time, the SK offense has had an even rougher go. Again, that doesn’t mean we can’t find some value in their squad as Doosan rolls out the worst staff in the league. Lee has been a homerun machine to this point (2.37 HR/9) and Romak is the Wyverns best power bat. Romak hits righties well and Lee has allowed righties to hit .380 off him with 2 HR’s to go with it.
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!