While MLB appears to still be at least a month or two away from restarting, we don’t have to wait any longer for some professional baseball and – most importantly – baseball DFS. The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) is underway and DraftKings is welcoming the KBO into the fold with contests each and every night. On Thursday, the action gets underway at 5:30 a.m. ET.
What do we know about the league? Who should we be putting into lineups? Let’s figure out all this together, position-by-position.
Set your lineups here: KBO $100K Bat Flip [$25K to 1st] (Korean Baseball)
Curious about when major leagues and events will return? Check out our DraftKings Sports Calendar for the latest updates.
What to know about the KBO
StudChang Mo Koo, NCD vs. KTW, $9,200 – It’s not the easiest matchup in the world and Koo’s price point has skyrocketed since a 31.1 DKFP performance last week, but it’s still hard to ignore someone with this much strikeout upside. Among the 40 pitchers in 2019 who threw at least 100 innings, the left-hander’s 25.4% strikeout rate was the highest mark in the entire KBO. There’s enough quality pitching on this slate where I’d probably keep my ownership exposure down around 40%, yet there’s no way I’m going into Thursday without at least a piece of Koo.
ValueTyler Wilson, LG vs. SK, $7,200 – This feels like a buying window after Wilson was destroyed for seven earned runs last week. Really, that underwhelming start was almost a perfect storm. Wilson had been unable to properly ramp up into the season due to quarantine restrictions and, on top of that, he was facing NC Dinos – arguably the league’s best offensive attack. Still, if there’s anything positive to take from that outing, it’s that Wilson threw 96 pitches. He’s capable of working deep into a game and a 2.92 ERA from 2019 proves he has the capacity to be one of Korea’s better arms. I’ll take my chances with the RHP against an SK Wyverns squad that’s only produced seven runs in their past three contests.
Other Options: Min Jae Jang ($7,500), Drew Gagnon ($6,500)
StudDong Won Park, KIW vs. SAM, $4,400 – Aside from Eui Ji Yang ($4,900), Park possesses the most enticing collection of traits for a catcher on this slate. A year after posting a 126 wRC+, the 30-year-old has come out of the gates strong in 2020, going 6-for-19 (.316) with a .393 wOBA through his first 21 plate appearances. He’s also primarily hit out of the five-spot for the Heroes, which makes him one of few backstops with high-leverage lineup positioning. Add in a southpaw for the RHB to face and you’ve got a really nice spot for Park to thrive.
ValueKang Nam Yoo, LG vs. SK, $3,300 – The Twins could be a sneaky stack this evening. Well, if there’s a way for a team that’s scored 33 runs in its past three games to be sneaky. This theory mostly centers around SK’s starter Jong Hoon Park ($8,400). Despite Park’s hefty price tag, I’m not sure he’s actually all that strong a pitcher; at least that’s what a 4.56 FIP and microscopic 6.4% K-BB rate from 2019 would suggest. So, with that being the case, Yoo becomes an intriguing name. The veteran is definitely not short on power, as Yoo’s .193 ISO since the beginning of 2017 is positionally elite.
StudJae Il Oh, DOO at LOT, $4,200 – Oh’s salary is rightfully up over $4K again, but the veteran remains one of the better dollar-for-dollar plays on this slate. Last season, Oh was one of 10 qualified players to post an ISO above .200 in the KBO. This season, he’s managed a massive 1.056 slugging percentage in his first 18 at-bats against right-handed pitching. In short, he’s a great hitter and Se Woong Park ($6,200) is far from the most daunting opponent.
ValueRoberto Ramos, LG vs. SK, $3,000 – I’m really not sure what’s left to be said about Ramos. He simply should not be this inexpensive. It doesn’t make any sense. Even putting aside his own 232 wRC+ through 31 plate appearances, we just have a long history of import players dominating the KBO. Heck, among qualified imports in 2019, only Jared Hoying ($4,500) didn’t finish the season as a top-15 player by wOBA and he still managed a respectable .361 figure. Until Ramos’ price goes up, he’s viable on every slate.
StudJose Fernandez, DOO at LOT, $5,900 – Fernandez is currently leading the KBO in both wOBA (.568) and wRC+ (244), so there’s not really anything negative to say about the guy. In fact, there are only traits that happen to be slightly more positive. For example, Fernandez prefers to hit against right-handed pitchers. Last season, all 15 of the import’s home runs came within the split and, in 2020, Fernandez has posted an .842 slugging percentage in his 19 at-bats versus RHPs. Considering the aforementioned Park owns the league’s worst ERA (6.77) of the 96 pitchers to throw 100 innings since the start of 2018, Fernandez should shine on this slate once again.
ValueJin Hyuk No, NCD vs. KTW, $3,000 – To be blunt, I don’t especially love Je Seong Bae’s ($6,800) chances of surviving this start against the Dinos. Conversely, I love No’s affordable salary in such a scenario. The infielder has been nothing short of fantastic in his first 30 plate appearances of 2020, as No possesses the 10th-highest wRC+ in the whole league (183). As you would expect, he’s also been particularly great when getting the opportunity to face a right-handed pitcher, as No has produced a .909 slugging percentage within the split.
StudSuk Min Park, NCD vs. KTW, $4,300 – It’s 24 plate appearances, but Park has been phenomenal so far this season. The veteran has a 1.00 K/BB ratio and he’s paired that figure with a 200 wRC+ and a .500 ISO that currently sits second in the league among qualified players. With Bae’s history of inconsistent control – he walked 3.83 opponents per nine in 2019 – I’m anticipating a lot of traffic on the bases for the Dinos this evening. Park should be one of the many who take advantage of that environment.
ValueMin Sung Kim, LG vs. SK, $3,600 – Kim’s never been the most powerful hitter in the KBO, yet he does have a couple of factors working in his favor on Thursday. First and foremost, he’s hitting in the middle of the hottest batting order in all of Korea. Second, he comes into this slate riding a five-game hitting streak and with an above-average .819 OPS. If you’re going to stack a few Twins, Kim is a super affordable asset in such a build.
StudDixon Machado, LOT vs. DOO, $4,700 – Not be repetitive, but Machado – like Ramos – is just an import player you can consider using every single slate. The shortstop is slashing .346/.433/.769 through his first 31 plate appearances and he currently sits second in the KBO in RBI (12). Heck, Machado the lone person with shortstop eligibility averaging more than 10.0 DKFP per game. He’s viable. It’s that simple.
ValueJae Ho Kim, DOO at LOT, $2,000 – To be honest, I was a little shocked that Kim was only owned in 18.4% of lineups in DraftKings’ $125K Bat Flip on Wednesday. He’s just so inexcusably cheap that I figured more people would be in on the 35-year-old, especially considering the lack of tantalizing pay-up options at the position. Well, now’s he’s $100 less expensive than he was before and I’m going back to the well. Kim’s salary allows for so much flexibility and it’s not like he’s performed poorly, either. Through 32 plate appearances, Kim’s posted a .401 wOBA and a minuscule 3.1% strikeout rate.
StudJae Hwan Kim, DOO at LOT, $4,900 – By no means will this be a variance play, however, Kim’s .464 ISO is more than enough for me to not worry about lineup differentiation. The 31-year-old has been on fire as of late, crushing a home run in three-straight games and averaging 26.7 DKFP across that same span of time. Again, no one is getting caught off guard by this strategy, but Park is easily the weakest starting pitcher on this slate and stacking Doosan is the obvious way to go.
ValueSung Bum Na, NCD vs. KTW, $3,600 – Honestly, you could just go back to yesterday’s article and read what I said about Na there, because it remains relevant. Actually, I probably don’t heap on enough praise, considering Na went deep for his third home run of the season last night. The veteran had a league-leading 199 wRC+ prior to an injury in 2019 and he’s picked up right where he left off. He’s also somehow $200 cheaper than he was on Wednesday. I don’t know how this all works, but fading him would be a mistake.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.