KBO DFS: The Argument for Aaron Brooks

I don’t like Aaron Brooks of the Kia Tigers. I think he was a trash MLB pitcher who had no business sniffing the majors when he was in the Cubs organization. Now, I cynically hate that he had shots at The Show in recent years because it is killing our sample of usable Triple-A stats for Brooks.

That said, Brooks may be the best play on the slate as a sinkerballer with contrarian value behind three much chalkier pitchers.

Many American pitchers have (mostly off the record) attributed their successes in Korea to developing a sinker. Korean pitchers are just starting to work on it in recent years. It may be baffling the league of groundball hitters into soft contact or straight-up swinging over the top.

Josh Lindblom, the 2019 KBO MVP, was a 7.2 K/9 pitcher in Triple-A. He struck out 8.7 per nine in his last three seasons in Korea. He’s a sinkerballer.

David Buchanan was a 5.5 K/9 pitcher in Triple-A. He’s struck out 6.9 per nine through two outings in Korea. He’s a sinkerballer.

Odrisimer Despaigne was an 8.0 K/9 pitcher in Triple-A and has stuck out a whopping 11.5 per nine in his first two outings in Korea. He threw his sinker a massive 29.6% of the time in his 363.0 MLB innings.

Aaron Brooks was a 6.8 K/9 pitcher in Triple-A and is now thrown 7.1 K/9 through his first two starts. In 170.2 IP in MLB, he threw his sinker 24.9% of the time:

In Triple-A Brooks had an abysmal 4.87 RA/9 and 1.349 WHIP in 519 IP. He’s terrible. But he has a sinker.

11.5 is a circus strikeout rate for Despaigne, but he could be Lindblom levels of good. Brooks could be an awesome regression candidate for us to chase under the radar through his fabulous 1.42-RA/9 start in The O. Despaigne not only has the bigger Ks, but the better matchup, making him a really chalky play, whereas Brooks has the worst possible matchup.

Despaigne faces the Samsung Lions, who are slightly below the 7.03 K/game league average at 7.30, whereas Brooks faces the Doosan Bears who lead The O in average, OBP, SLG, OPS, HRs, and R/game. No one’s gonna play Brooks at $3 more than Despaigne n FanDuel.

On top of that, Doosan is only striking out 4.89 times per game, which makes Brooks look like a terrible play, everyone will say, as they make their lineups tonight.

And Brooks is a terrible play, judging from the data. The problem is that baseball is still baseball and Doosan’s numbers are unsustainable. Brooks is the type of pitcher to have a strong little career in Korea. The Saturday 1 a.m. EST slate would be a great place to start.

Brooks is only a slight dog (-105 to Doosan’s -135 on Bovada as of 6:00 p.m. CST) and goes up against a terrible Raúl Alcántara, lining up Brooks for a better shot at a win than just about any other spot versus Doosan that we can conceive. And they have to start losing sometimes because baseball. And, again, no one is gonna touch this matchup.

Andy Means wrote in this morning’s “Pitching Primer” article at RG: “The Bears are obviously one of the best offenses in the league, so it probably makes sense to go with some other options if you are only making one lineup.

“That isn’t to say you should completely disregard Brooks on this slate though. We talked about the risk yesterday in this matchup for Hyun-jong Yang, and he still was able to strike out seven Doosan Bears in six innings (giving up 2 ER and 6 H along the way). Brooks can still put up a great fantasy performance for the price, it is just more likely to happen with some of these other options.”

At this point, Doosan, NC, and KT are so chalky on the hitting end of the game that I want to throw GPP darts at the best in the game against them, and we can bank on Brooks being one of the best in the game when this season is said and done

If Brooks is too scary to you, Ben Lively is in a better strikeout spot versus a lesser-powered offense in KT. With 8.9 K/9 through his first 69.0 IP in The O, KT’s 6.89 K/game could play huge tonight on top of KT inflated nightly ownership. KT won’t be the chalk due to Lively, but they’ll still be highly owned. There isn’t a lack of leverage here. All of this said, I’m talking about multi-lineup exposure here. In a single lineup or even three, I’m sticking to Despaigne and Eric Jokisch. Playing ten, I want one or two of Brooks.

About the Author

  • Alex Sonty (AlexSonty)

  • Alex Sonty is a part-time political science professor at the City Colleges of Chicago and a professional DFS player. He’s been playing fantasy sports since Mark Brunell and Jimmy Smith paved the way to a rookie championship in 1996. He started playing DFS in 2014 and currently specializes in MLB and NFL cash games, dipping his toes into GPP play. He’s been writing for the Chicago Tribune, SB Nation, and Rotogrinders blog networks since 2010. He holds a J.D./M.A. and L.L.M. from DePaul University.


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