KBO DFS: The Arguments for Min Woo Kim and SK Bats
Generally, this space is a huge proponent of taking a stand. This is to shoot for all of the money versus monitoring losses.
Friday morning’s slate poses a weird spot where a pitcher and his opposing bats are simultaneously in great spots without being spectacular. But still good enough at their prices in their situations to contribute to breaking the slate.
Initially, this post was going to be all about Min Woo Kim. At only $7,100, he is the seventh-highest priced pitcher on the slate. But with that price comes some solid high-upside numbers since 2019:
Through 118.1 IP, he has 7.61 K/9. This season, the 24-year-old’ K rate is up to an elite 9.66, which would rank second in the KBO, if he qualified. And he has the second-best K matchup on the slate.
Kim faces SK, which ranks second-to-Hanwha with the highest K% versus RHPs at 18.7% this season. SK is missing one-half of the one-two punch in Jeong Choi, leaving only Jamie Romak as their sole power threat, already ranking only second-to-Hanwha in lowest ISO (.113) against RHPs.
The rest of the lineup can knock Kim around, as he can get knocked around. He carries a seventh-to-highest BB/9 (3.88) and ISO (1.14) since 2019. His HR/9 is way up to 1.61 this season, but his 18.75% HR/FB% is way over his 9.09% rate of 2019. The 9.09% is way too low and the 18.75% too high, so his resting rate, post-juiced ball era, is somewhere in the middle. And probably closer to 9.09%. So, there is room for regression, despite the .293 BABIP and 69.5% LOB rate.
That said, Kim was a neutral’ish flyball pitcher in the juiced ball era. Only last season did he see his GB:FB ratio shoot over 1.00 at 1.24, which the ratio is close to 1.00 this season. Nothing wrong with being a flyball pitcher, as the BABIP on flyballs is much lower than that on grounders. His hard-hit rate being around 18% is pretty good for him being a flyballer. Likely, Kim is just unlucky this year with home runs.
He has raised the velocity on his fastball from 87.7 mph to an above-average 89.8, so the Ks are here to stay, and that’s what matters most.
But we can’t just ignore the dingers and we can find a mini-stack with SK, even without Jeong Choi and Dong Min Han.
It all starts with Romak, who is slashing .284/.376/.507 with 30 HRs against RHPs since 2019. Kim has only thrown the first strike 53.6% of the time this year. Through, Romak is only slashing .274/.382/.492 in a down year, his slash line skyrockets to .325/.467/.602 after ball one. Romak is a hell of a one-off, no matter what route we go. but he can also anchor a stack.
Ji Hoo Choi has been impressive this season. Through 154 PAs, the rookie lefty outfielder has earned his leadoff spot, hitting .307 with a .362 OBP. There’s no long ball power here, but he does have five doubles, a triple, three steals. He has a .412 OBP after ball one. If anyone is scoring on a Romak RBI, it’s Ji Hoo. At only $2,800 on DK and $5 on FD, he’s as free as it gets.
And this is where waters get murky without Jeong Choi and Han. Suk Min Yoon is Jeong Choi’s temporary fill-in at 3B. He’s done nothing in 45 PAs this season, but he did homer yesterday and he’s hitting third, between Choi and Romak. He hit 58 HRs between 2016 and 2018. There is pop in this 34-year-old’s blood at $2,400.
Bringing up the rear in these playable pieces in Eui Yoon Jeong. Only one HR this season, but is another regression candidate on this underperforming squad. In 2019, the $2,700 33-year-old hit ten HRs and 16 doubles, slashing .278/.339/.436 against RHBs. Only slashing an abysmal .253/.311/.301 overall this season, he is hitting .339 with a .438 OBP after ball one. The power should come any day now. Kim is a good pitcher to serve up some chicken soup.
That’s all there is to stack, but it’s so cheap and Kim has so much blowup potential that, just as we can’t ignore Kim’s Ks, we can’t ignore the power there is to be hit against him.
Rain in three games might make none of this matter.