KBO DFS: Arguments Against Stacking the Four Best Korean Offenses
Imagine fading the NC Dinos, Doosan Bears, KT Wiz, and Kiwoom Heroes in the same slate. Tuesday morning might be that slate.
The numbers are pretty clear. The Big Four lead the KBO in runs, OBP, SLG, wOBA, OPS, wRC+, and cumulative WAR. They make up four of the top-five in batting average and home runs. With only ten teams in The O, it seems impossible to play even three or five lineups and exclude all four. But it can be done today. Not saying I fully recommend it, but it can be done. There’s an argument for it.
The Big Four can be faded because they all face decent real-life pitching. No meatballers. No gas cans. No pitchers we’d like to galaxybrain-start against them, but none of the pitchers jump off the page to be targeted.
NC Dinos vs. Jake Brigham
Brigham is pretty good. We haven’t seen a lot of him because he’s been out the last two months with an elbow injury. If we ignore the small four-start sample of this year where he has a 5.00 ERA and widen the scope to last season, you’ll see that this is one of the better pitchers in The O:
7.45 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, 0.36 HR/9, 12.3% K-BB%, 3.39 FIP
That’s 17th in K rate, 26th in walk rate (0.06 behind Chang Mo Koo), fifth in HR rate, 16th in K-BB%, and 11th in FIP.
I don’t even wanna play Eui Ji Yang in cash against this, let alone Sung Bum Na as a one-off, let alone stacking the Dinos at their inflated prices. We can do better with that money.
Doosan Bears vs. Geon Wook Lee
Geon Wook walks a lot of guys. A lot. After not playing in The O in 2018 and 2019, he’s pitched 46.2 innings this season, in which he’s walked a hilarious 4.85 hitters per inning. Doosan is slugging a whopping .507 this season after 1-0 counts. Sounds like a great reason to stack, right?
Well, the Ks are average, falling just short of 7.0 per nine. It’s the 1.29 WHIP (league average is 1.49) and 0.46 HR/9 that throw me off of the scent.
Geon Wook doesn’t have the Ks, so this isn’t exactly Nolan Ryan or Robbie Ray where we tolerate the walks for positive expectation overall. He is carrying a .256 BABIP, so the party should end and Doosan is a great candidate to do so. But do we pay those prices to slap the ball around the field? Can’t do it.
KT Wiz vs. Warwick Saupold
I mean, this dude… Hell no.
KT lives largely on the home run and speed. They’re second in The O in slugging (.458) and triples (11), but are tied for fifth in doubles (102), second with the most Ks (436). Saupold just doesn’t give up the long ball and doesn’t strike many out. He’s only allowed 0.40 HR/9 since 2019 and the control is solid AF, giving up only 2.25 BB/9. So, the low Ks (6.01 K/9) are pretty meaningless when the K-BB% is near 10% and the FIP is a supersolid 3.58.
That said, there is a lot of contact to be had and Saupold’s soft contact rate is only 15% this year. KT can knock him around. But is that what we pay $12k to roster Mel Rojas, Jr. and Baek Ho Kang for? To knock an RBI double?
Kiwoom Heroes vs. Jae Hak Lee
Kiwoom makes the best argument for a stack in this bunch. Jae Hak has been terrible this season after a below-average career. But his HR rate is about an average 0.96 per nine after a season where it was 0.42. And in 2018, the last season of the juiced ball era, it was 0.77. He also has a 14.0 SwSt% this season, second only to Dan Straily on the slate. So, again, not a gas can.
Stacking Kiwoom means hanging our hats on control issues he is having for the first time since 2016 and a K/9 under 6.32 for the first time in his whole career. He’s only 29, so he can’t have completely fallen off of a cliff. Jae Hak is just more a regression candidate than a bum, despite not being great.
The slate isn’t unplayable for all of this. Without stepping on Dave Potts’ cape, there are stacks to play. They just have less sex appeal or about the appeal of Danny DeVito in a speedo.
Probably the fifth-best offense in The O, Kia LHBs look awesome against David Buchanan, who’s given up nine homers this season (1.15 HR/9). Seven against LHBs, who are slugging .763 against him. Load up the Preston Tucker and Hyung Woo Choi, who are slugging .515 and .485, respectively versus RHPs since 2019. Min Sang Yoo is slugging .471 over that span and righty Ji Wan Na .194. But stick with the power, as Buchanan is only giving up a .316 OBP to LHBs and a .309 overall.
Lotte against Casey Kelly is more worth the risk. If we’re gonna roster guys to slap the ball around the field, we can get it from Lotte at a discount. There’s also gambling on Hanwha as an option against a low-K meatballer.