With the MLB regular season still a couple of weeks away, 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 has welcomed the KBO into the fold with contests for big prizes. On Tuesday 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.
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Dan Straily, LOT vs. LG, $10,100 - I think we all know enough about Straily at this point to understand why he’s viable on each and even slate he appears. Still, if you’re unfamiliar, the import comes into Tuesday in possession of the KBO’s second-highest strikeout rate (26.5%) and its third-lowest WHIP (1.03). Straily has also dominated right-on-right matchups so far in 2020, limiting opposing RHBs to a paltry .462 OPS in 149 plate appearances. It does give me some pause that the Twins’ best hitters are all left-handed — Roberto Ramos ($4,800), Hyun Soo Kim ($4,500) and Ji Hwan Oh ($3,500) — but it’s not like LHBs have done that much damage, either.
Odrisamer Despaigne, KTW vs. HAN, $8,100 - There’s nothing that really stands out about Despaigne’s 2020 campaign. In fact, across a league-leading 79 2⁄3 innings, the RHP’s 4.29 ERA is identical to his 4.29 FIP. Despaigne’s 18.3% strikeout rate is league-average. Despaigne’s .311 BABIP is league-average. Despaigne’s 70.5% strand rate is league-average. Really, the value the import brings to the table is in the volume. Despaigne’s ability to be a workhorse is how he generates fantasy points and, against Hanwha, there’s really no better strategy than simply showing up and throwing 100-plus pitches. Allow the squad with the KBO-worst .339 slugging percentage to vault you into viability.
Dong Won Park, KIW vs. NCD, $5,100 - It would appear that Park is slowly breaking out of his prolonged slump. In the backstop’s past three games, Park’s racked up four hits with a home run, bringing his season-long ISO to an impressive .247 mark. Considering Jae Hak Lee ($8,300) has pitched to an ugly 5.00 FIP in 2020, I’d anticipate the Heroes’ offensive attack will thrive on Tuesday and I wouldn’t be shocked if Park is in the middle of the action. The DraftKings Sportsbook agrees, as Kiwoom possesses this slate’s highest team total (5.5).
Sung Woo Jang, KTW vs. HAN, $3,200 - Jang is in a fabulous spot on Tuesday. First and foremost, the catcher is seeing the ball well as of late, with Jang slashing .357/.424/.536 across his past 10 games. On top of his own personal success, Jang should be the beneficiary of Warwick Saupold’s ($7,800) struggles. The RHP has been crushed by right-handed opponents in 2020, conceding a .351 average and a .863 OPS within the split.
ByungHo Park, KIW vs. NCD, $4,500 - You’d be hard-pressed to find a hitter in the KBO currently in a better groove than Park. Not only is the former Minnesota Twins first baseman sporting an eye-popping 1.249 OPS across his most recent 34 at-bats, but going back to June 20, Park’s hit nine home runs for the Heroes. That’s a bad omen for the aforementioned Lee, who’s surrendered three long balls in his past two outings.
Dae Ho Lee, LOT vs. LG, $3,600 - When Casey Kelly ($9,100) has had his issues this season, it’s primarily been at the hands of RHBs. To wit, right-handed opponents have hit five of the seven home runs that the import has allowed so far in 2020. This is good news for Lee, who continues to be a little too inexpensive for my taste. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll keep playing the man who sits eighth in KBO history in long balls on the cheap, I just don’t understand why I still have the opportunity.
Min Woo Park, NCD at KIW, $5,100 - Park has been tearing the cover off of the baseball as of late, as the Dinos’ leadoff hitter has managed to slash .382/.410/.618 across his past 34 at-bats. The most impressive aspect of that span? Park’s accomplished all that without striking out even once. Jake Brigham ($8,700) was one of the best pitchers in the KBO in 2019, but he hasn’t pitched in two months and he had allowed opposing LHBs to compile an .859 OPS back in May. This is a nice spot for Park.
Kyung Soo Park, KTW vs. HAN, $3,200 - Much like his teammate Jang, Park has been hitting quite well the past two weeks, with a .947 OPS and 10 RBI spread across his past 10 games. Honestly, it’s sort of difficult to figure out why Park was ever this inexpensive to begin with, even prior to the hot streak. I mean, the 36-year-old has hit 99 home runs and owns a .374 wOBA dating back to the beginning of 2015. Pretty good for a middle infielder, right?
Jae Gyun Hwang, KTW vs. HAN, $5,900 - Believe me when I say that I’d rather spend up for Mel Rojas Jr. ($6,100) than Hwang, but, if you can fit both salaries into your build, why wouldn’t you keep trying to exploit Saupold? Hwang, in particular, has been on fire in recent days, hitting .404 with a 1.014 OPS across his past 47 at-bats. There are obviously no guarantees in life and DFS, but I’d be shocked if Hwang can’t do some damage against a RHP that’s surrendered 75 hits over his past 47 2⁄3 innings of work.
Dong Hee Han, LOT vs. LG, $2,400 - When accounting for recent production, there might not be a more enticing dollar-for-dollar play on Tuesday’s KBO slate. Han, who has primarily hit fifth for the Giants, is slashing .344/.405/.844 with five home runs and 13 RBI so far in July. Those are some outstanding statistics from the 21-year-old, as he appears to be in the midst of his breakout campaign after a pair of underwhelming seasons in 2018 and 2019. In any event, he’s cheap and has a high ceiling. That’s all you need.
Jeong Choi, SK at DOO, $5,200 - Few pitchers in Korea have struggled as much as Young Ha Lee ($6,400) has in 2020 and things have only gotten worse for the RHP in recent outings. Lee’s ERA is an inflated 7.76 across his past five starts, the result of allowing 46 hits in the span of 26 2/3 innings. This is all good news for the powerful Choi, who is once again healthy and who has posted a 1.051 OPS over his past 32 at-bats.
Jin Hyuk No, NCD at KIW, $4,000 - Here’s another left-handed bat that you can throw at the returning Brigham. No’s production has certainly tapered off since a red-hot month of May, yet the 30-year-old still has seven home runs and a .185 ISO to his name through 178 plate appearances. Add in a middle-of-the-order lineup spot and No’s a pretty decent value at $4K on Tuesday.
Mel Rojas Jr., KTW vs. HAN, $6,100 - You can almost pick any segment of time over the past month and I can promise you that Rojas will have incredible numbers within that span. For our purposes, let’s focus on the switch-hitter’s past 10 games. In that stretch, Rojas is slashing .415/.478/.780 with three doubles and four home runs. Still, what else would you expect from the guy that leads the KBO in ISO (.338), wOBA (.486) and wRC+ (191)?
Ji Hoon Choi, SK at DOO, $2,700 - The 22-year-old rookie has been batting leadoff for the Wyverns the past few weeks and, though his .049 ISO is underwhelming, Choi is batting .299 for the season. More importantly, he’s a LHB who gets the privilege of facing Lee on Tuesday. Doosan’s RHP has allowed opposing lefties to compile a massive .929 OPS in 134 plate appearances so far in 2020.
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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.