KBO DFS: The Argument for Kiwoom Heroes Stacks

The Thursday morning KBO slate is abysmal. This post was almost (ALMOST!) titled “The Argument for Fading the Thursday Morning KBO Slate,” but there are three-to-five reasonably competent builds. It is just really hard on both ends when the strikeouts and home runs are hard to find from the pitching. Especially in this league where pitch-to-contact finesse has run amok.

A build about which to get excited would be the Kiwoom Heroes stack because the opposing pitcher, Seung-won Moon, has a home run problem.

Moon is a 30-year-old right-handed pitcher in his fifth consecutive full season in The O. His numbers aren’t completely terrible. He isn’t a total gas can in that he has a 3.93 ERA since 2019, so big games against him haven’t been there as much as we would like. The problem with that logic is that his 4.75 FIP suggests the chickens should come home to roost, as he ranks 33rd among 35 eligible pitchers with an 0.84 gap between his FIP and ERA.

That FIP is high because Moon doesn’t strike a lot of guys out and gives up a ton of home runs. He only has 6.53 K/9 to go with a robusto 1.45 HR/9 since 2019. The first thing we want from an opposing pitcher with a home run problem is that guy to give up a lot of contact because the odds are then bigger for multi-HR games. But that’s all great for us stacking Kiwoom, who are sleeping giants right now.

Kiwoom was one of the biggest offenses in 2019. Through their first 12 games, they’re in the middle of the pack across the board, striking out at a very high rate. The quality and quantity of their talent say they should rise up any day now.

Byung-ho Park hit 173 HRs in the four seasons before 2016. He had his rough two-year shot in The States, went back to Korea for the 2018 season, and smashed 43 homers. He followed that up by leading the league again with 33 when the ball was de-juiced in 2019.

Since 2019, he’s seventh in The O with a .412 wOBA, but leads with 35 HR and a .266 ISO.

And facing a righty doesn’t matter for Park, who was interestingly enough a neutral splits hitter in Triple-A and MLB:

And was his best self against finesse pitching in MLB:

So, he should be fine to continue to mash.

Next up, one of my favorite KBO players, Ha-seong Kim, a .300 hitter with a near-.400 OBP (.386) and near-.500 SLG (.482), giving him just shy of a .400 wOBA (.394) and adding in nice 21 HRs. The cherry on this jack of all trades, master of nothing banana split is that he has 34 steals since 2019. This shortstop could find MLB. Maybe not, but he could.

The next guy I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in Keon-chang Seo. He already has four steals this year on top of being a .301 hitter since 2019. I want some of that, hitting leadoff before Kim and Park.

Kim, Park, and Seo are basically free on FanDuel, by the way, because Kiwoom has been so outperformed by about four or five offenses this year. And FanDuel pricing has a lot of recency bias, I presume.

As for ancillary pieces to the stack, we can do Jung-Hoo Lee and his .397 wOBA since 2019 or Dong-won Park and his three early HRs this season. Park doesn’t have a lot of power, but he’s a patient hitter to get his .377 wOBA. Lee is a high-contact free-swinger without much power, but that high contact collects him a .341 average.

What I just gave you was a 1-2-3-4-6 stack.

Dave Potts didn’t like Kiwoom enough to have them in his Stacks article here at Rotogrinders, which always intrigues me. The math checks out to play them and Potts has to play a role in ownership. RG also has the two pitchers from this game the top-two projected scorers on the slate, which should have a domino effect on Kiwoom’s ownership.

Looking around other sites, it seems they are liked but not heavily touted. I would project their ownership in the 13-18% range because they’re effing cheap, which isn’t great on a nasty slate where ownership should be split. Ownership gets concentrated on these slates, so they could be the second-highest owned or the fifth.

We shouldn’t worry too much about ownership when it’s concentrated. These Koreans slates just aren’t really big enough to find a spot to go far off the board in these circumstances and the bottoms of these batting orders are horrendous.

Tonight sucks, so you’re welcome.

MARGINAL NOTES

— Speaking of under the radar, I have no idea why the LG Twins are getting underplayed. Tae-in Won, the opposing pitcher, is hot garbage. Through 22 starts in The O, he has a 5.27 RA/9 and a 4.94 FIP with only 5.41 K/9 and 3.29 BB/9. As for the big one we’re looking for, he’s giving up 1.04 HR/9, which isn’t huge, but if you believe the re-juiced ball theory, we can lick our chops. Remember that we like high-contact, high-walk pitchers because they get in trouble more often. Without that K in the back pocket, trouble if all the more difficult. They should go lower owned than Kiwoom.

FWIW, KT is the stack that surpasses 20%. But that’s all opinion, no data. Their spot is juicy. Facing a 19-year-old with a single-digit K rate, they should feast. They may need to find ten runs on this slate to be worthy of the ownership. They totally can. Just sayin’.

— Kiwoom plays in a dome. Not crazy that these two pitchers are the highest projected. I’d just rather take advantage of the perception of a bad pitcher than go elsewhere.

— If you wanna gamble, NC Dinos should be under 5% against a lefty. A very good finesse lefty, but a lefty with 3.49 K/9 since 2019, nonetheless. The typical names—Yang, Altherr, and Na—are all righties and still cheap on FanDuel.

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