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 for big prizes. On Thursday morning, 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 $35K Check Swing [$10K to 1st] (Korean Baseball)
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What to know about the KBO
Chang Mo Koo, NCD at KIA, $9,400 – This is an insane pitching slate. Among the 39 qualified starters in the KBO, the men with the four highest strikeout rates are all taking the mound on Thursday. So, what does that mean? Well, theoretically, it suggests that you might not have to spend up at the position for a player that’s sure to be the chalk; yet, at the same time, Koo is just in a class of his own. There’s a case to be made that the man leading the league in FIP (2.35) and strikeout rate (30.1%) should be priced at least $11K and the fact that he isn’t is an invitation to keeping buying. I mean, Koo’s exceeded 27.0 DKFP in six of his seven outings. That’s a level of floor you don’t find elsewhere in Korea. However, do make sure to keep an eye on the weather.
Dan Straily, LOT at KIW, $7,600 – It’s almost disrespectful that Straily remains priced below $8K. Granted, I’ll continue to take advantage of the savings, but this is a pitcher who’s allowed just two earned runs across his past 25.2 innings of work. On top of that, Straily’s 26.2% strikeout rate is the third-best mark in the entire league. Sure, the win expectancy isn’t great when throwing for the Giants; however, with Dong Won Park (knee) ruled out till Friday and ByungHo Park (wrist) recently placed on the IL, the Heroes are not at full strength.
Sung Woo Jang, KTW at SK, $3,600 – Between the possibility of rain and numerous injuries at the position, there’s not a lot of places to spend up at catcher. Still, Jang is more than a desperation asset. The backstop comes into Thursday slashing .275/.314/.431 with his 25 RBI sitting second to only Mel Rojas Jr. ($5,500) on KT’s roster. He’s a perfectly viable option at this mid-tier price tag.
Ji Young Lee, KIW vs. LOT, $2,300 – If you’ve decided to pivot off of the aforementioned Straily, there’s really no reason to not use Lee. With Park having been ruled out till at least Friday, Lee will once again get the start behind the plate for Kiwoom. So far this season, the 34-year-old is hitting .316 in his 87 plate appearances – the second-highest average at the position among player with at least 50 PA. Not bad for someone sitting just above the minimum.
Ja Wook Koo, SAM at DOO, $4,900 – Koo has been red-hot since his return from an IL stint, with four multi-hit games in the eight starts he’s made in that span. Heck, Koo’s managed to rack up six extra-base hits and six RBI, too. You’d prefer that the 27-year-old wasn’t facing a left-handed pitcher on Thursday; however, with the southpaw in question being the super contact-oriented Hui Kwan Yu ($7,700), it’s not the biggest concern.
Joo Hwan Choi, DOO at SAM, $2,400 – Choi hit his seventh home run of the season on Wednesday, bringing his ISO up to a very respectable .237 figure that ranks second on the Bears. Despite this – and his low strikeout totals – the veteran continues to be designated as the least expensive asset in Doosan’s everyday lineup. I don’t understand why it keeps happening, but i’ll continue to exploit it, even with the left-handed Yoon Dong Heo ($5,800) pitching for the Lions.
Sang Su Kim, SAM at DOO, $4,800 – Kim has little to no power to speak of, but he does do two things exceedingly well: get on base and score runs. So far this season, across 151 plate appearances, Samsung’s leadoff hitter has mustered an impressive .427 OBP to go along with 23 runs. Also working in Kim’s advantage is the presence of Yu. The RHB is batting .400 in his 15 at-bats against southpaws in 2020, with half of Kim’s six hits being doubles.
Hoon Jung, LOT at KIW, $3,900 – Jung returned from a month-long injury absence on Wednesday and the Giants didn’t waste any time throwing him into the fire. The 32-year-old actually hit leadoff for Lotte, picking up a pair of hits and scoring a run in an eventual 4-3 loss to Kiwoom. Well, the RHB will be in another good spot on Thursday, as he faces the left-handed Seung Ho Lee ($7,500), a southpaw that’s pitched to a 6.09 ERA so far in 2020. Yikes.
Tyler Saladino, SAM at DOO, $4,600 – I’ll say this: You’re not going to stack the Lions and leave Saladino on the sidelines. The import leads Samsung in almost every major offensive category, including ISO (.243), wOBA (.414) and wRC+ (146). Heck, since May 29, he’s basically just been one of the KBO’s best overall hitters. With Yu and his 5.34 FIP taking the mound for the Bears, this should be a prime opportunity for Saladino to thrive.
Min Soo Kim, LOT at KIW, $2,400 – With Chi Hong An (hamstring) and Yoon Seok Oh (hamstring) on the IL, the Giants have had to shuffle their infield in recent days. One of the results of that scenario? The re-call of Kim from the Futures League. The 22-year-old has hit sixth in both of his starts this week, even collecting two hits and a stolen base back on Tuesday. There isn’t much of a track record here, but Kim’s in a great matchup at a low price.
Jeong Choi, SK vs. KTW, $5,000 – Choi has been tearing the cover off the baseball in recent days with three home runs in his past three starts. Maybe this seems like it’s coming out of nowhere after the 33-year-old began the season so poorly, yet you have to understand Choi’s hit the fourth-most home runs in the history of the league (341). I get the feeling he’s not going to be this cheap much longer and with Odrisamer Despaigne ($8,600) having surrendered 18 earned runs in his past 15 innings, Thursday is a nice matchup for the veteran hitter.
Ji Hwan Oh, LG at HAN, $3,100 – Oh’s racked up seven hits in his past three games, and though the expected return of Roberto Ramos ($5,300) might push him slightly down the batting order, he looks to remain viable on Thursday. Shi Hwan Jang ($6,800) has struggled all year long for the Eagles, pitching to a putrid 2.24 WHIP over his first 27.2 innings of the season. Considering Oh’s always a threat to steal, this could be a perfect matchup.
Jun Woo Jeon, LOT at KIW, $4,500 – Jeon is currently in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak, a span of time that’s seen the veteran register three home runs and four multi-hit performances. Batting in the heart of the Giants’ order, Jeon should be able to keep the good times rolling against the aforementioned Lee, who’s conceded 1.32 home runs per nine in 2020.
Eun Sung Chae, LG at HAN, $3,300 – I don’t really have much left to say about Chae. He’s just generally going to be a solid value option slate after slate. Chae’s slashing .314/.364/.482 with a .374 wOBA across 151 plate appearances in 2020. You don’t need to see anything aside from those numbers to know he’s too inexpensive. In fact, with Twins’ leadoff hitter Chun Woong Lee ($3,400) also affordable, stacking the top of LG’s lineup is pretty easy.
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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.