JP's KBO June 8 - 9 Writeup
June 4th – 5th
KBO NOTES – DAY 17
OVERALL RECORD: +80.05 (97-62-4)
Record on 4U MAX Plays: 3-0 (+12U)
Record on 3U Plays: 15-2-1 (+35.8U)
Record on 2.5U Plays: 3-6 (-8.37U)
Record on 2U Plays: 43-18-2 (+40.8U)
Record on 1U Plays: 29-25-1 (-0.90U)
Record on .5U Plays (nearly all +200 or greater): 4-9 (-.25U)
G1: Lotte Giants (-170) VS Hanwha Eagles (+140) O/U 9
SP: Adrian Sampson (4/10)
2019 ERA: 5.89 (MLB)
2020 Stats: 9.39 ERA, 2.09 WHIP, 7.2 IP, 12 H, 6 K, 4 BB
With two short starts under his belt – one against Samsung, one against Kia – we still really don’t have a specific idea as to what kind of pitcher Sampson will be in the KBO. That being said, I will work off the knowledge of watching him pitch last year in the Major Leagues, combined with the difficulty of traveling across the world and jumping in immediately, combined with the fact that his FIP (4.37) is five points better than his ERA, COMBINED with his matchup against a Hanwha team in internal and external turmoil, and use all of that to ultimately bring us to the realization that despite Sampson’s two sub-par starts, he’s got a terrific chance to dominate tonight. Word is that he’ll have a full workload, which should hopefully allow him to establish a nice groove on the mound and turn in 5-6 good innings before letting the top relievers (well-rested after a day off) carry it the rest of the way. It might be a different story if Sampson were pitching against a different team in the KBO, but Hanwha could potentially be starting 4+ KBO minor leaguers tonight, so I’m ready to roll with the former American Major Leaguer.
HITTING: 7th in average, T-8th in runs, 9th in OPS
SP: Warwick Saupold
2019 ERA: 3.51
2020 Stats: 3.07 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 41 IP, 42 H, 20 K, 10 BB
Saupold is a guy who’s never going to put together the prettiest statlines, but seems like he consistently finds a way to just get the job done. Looking through his last four outings, he’s allowed no less than 7 baserunners in any of them, but given up 4 or fewer runs and last 6 or more innings in each start. He’s the definition of an innings-eater, and against a Lotte team bereft of any sort of power (see above, 9th in OPS and 8th in runs), he’ll have a really productive matchup. We saw this earlier in the season, as he put up 7 strong innings of 2-run ball, despite allowing 8 hits and a walk. Sometimes, the kind of guys who rely on contact to get outs will possess a FIP much higher than their ERA, meaning it’s likely they’ve lucked into balls hit right at defenders (from time to time I’ll throw around the phrase ‘BABIP pitchers’ to discuss this). It signifies regression and is one of the red flags I use to deduce guys who have outpitched their potential. That is not what Saupold is, as his FIPs from the last two years (3.81 in 2020, 3.47 in 2019) and BABIPs (.300 and .295) are right in line with someone who can pitch very competitively in the KBO. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a 7-inning performance tonight, as long as this Hanwha team that’s clearly in flux can play any sort of defense behind him. In regards to the transitional Eagles, I’m less worried about defense than other aspects like hitting and pitching depth. In a game like tonight, Hanwha will prioritize keeping the scoring low. I would honestly be very surprised to see this game top 6 or 7, so UN9 is a great pick.
HITTING: 10th in average, runs, and OPS. By a mile. They’re horrible.
1: UN 9 (-115) 3U
2: 1H UN 5 (-115) 1U
G2: NC Dinos (-180) VS Doosan Bears (+145) O/U 12.5
SP: Sung-young Choi (2.5/10)
2019 ERA: 3.94
2020 Stats: 5.14 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 7 IP, 10 H, 2 K, 2 BB
Whether due to injury or poor projected performance, Choi has only made two appearances this season and has looked meh in one, and awful in the other. The first one came out of the pen against a decent-hitting Kiwoom team, where he threw 3.1 IP to the tune of 4 hits and 1 ER, which will unspectacular, isn’t terrible. In the other, he was shellacked by SK, giving up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 4 runs over 3.2 IP, and also hit a batter for good measure. Between the two outings, Choi has thrown up a FIP of 8.44, which is – to say the least – horrendous. Now, he faces an elite-hitting Bears team that is coming off a tough series against the top arms in the Kia rotation. Despite only topping 4 runs once in that series, I’m prone to believing that the Bears haven’t forgotten how to hit, and a matchup against once of the worst arms in the KBO may be just what the doctor ordered. Choi doesn’t strike out many hitters, and has had command issues as well, an unfortunate combination against the KBO’s 2nd-highest scoring offense. The NC bullpen will be rested, so that’s something to consider, but I think Doosan will manage to put up at least 4-5 runs, which sets us up nicely for the over, considering the matchup I’m about to discuss.
HITTING: 1st in average, runs, and OPS
SP: Je-yeong Jo
2019 ERA: N/A (was in high school)
2020 Stats: 5.40 ERA, 15 IP, 15 H, 10 BB, 10 K (in the KBO Futures League)
I honestly don’t even know what to say about this guy. He’s a part-time, below-average starter in the FUTURES LEAGUE and is now facing the best offensive team in the MAJOR LEAGUES tonight on a SHORT-NOTICE SPOT START 10 DAYS AFTER HIS LAST START. It’s not like he’s a top prospect either!! He was a fourth-round draft pick who signed for a small bonus, meaning he wasn’t one of the elite arms in the high school class. Predictably, he’s struggled in the Futures League, and a deep dive into KBO websites (combined with a handy translator tool) allowed me to take a look into a few of his starts, albeit without any advanced data. From the looks of it, the 19-year-old relies heavily on contact to translate to outs, as he features a below-average 6.00 K/9 ratio and has given up as many hits as innings-pitched, telling me he’s not a guy who will successfully work around a lot of contact. If I had to guess, his FIP would be even higher than his ERA, as he currently sits at an atrocious 6.00 BB/9, walking at least a batter in nearly every appearance this season, including those out of the bullpen. Although XBH are not a listed stat, he’s given up 2 home runs in 15 innings, which I’m guessing is followed by other hard-hit balls as well. Jo may be a good pitcher one day, but there’s just nothing to say here. He faces the best-hitting team in the league that has absolutely embarrassed pitching recently, and his start is out of injury need, rather than proven merit. His three starts came against some of the lower-hitting teams in the Futures League, so I’m just not sure there’s any way he’s ready for the competition tonight. Of course, you’ll occasionally see rookies make their debut and shock the world, but it would be irresponsible of me to look at lore, rather than the facts of the situation. There’s just nothing I can possibly find that tells me Jo is someone I want on the mound tonight, meaning everything points towards NC taking advantage of another bad pitcher and putting up a show. Furthermore, Doosan has one of the worst bullpens in the league, so if NC jumps on Jo early and builds a lead, they’ll see some of the worst pitching the KBO has to offer the rest of the way. If Doosan uses their higher-end relievers, it means they’re keeping pace offensively, which means the over is likely going to hit hard and early. Let’s hope to see some fireworks tonight.
HITTING: 3rd in average and OPS, 2nd in runs
1: NC TT OV 6.5 (-125) 4U MAX
2: OV 12.5 (-115) 3U
3: 1st Inning OV 1.5 (+125) .5U
4: NC 1st Inning ML (+185) .5U