JP's KBO June 10 - 11 Writeup
MLB
JP's KBO June 10 - 11 Writeup

JP
06-10-2020

June 10th – 11th

KBO NOTES – DAY 19

OVERALL RECORD: +65.33U (102-71-5)

Record on 4U MAX Plays: 4-0 (+16U)

Record on 3U Plays: 16-5-1 (+26.8U)

Record on 2.5U Plays: 3-6 (-8.37U)

Record on 2U Plays: 43-21-3 (+33.5U)

Record on 1U Plays: 30-28-1 (-3.9U)

Record on .5U Plays (nearly all +200 or greater): 6-9 (+1.3U)

 

G1: KT Wiz (+125) VS Kia Tigers (-150) O/U 11

Wiz:

SP: Min-soo Kim (1/10)

            2019 ERA: 4.96

            2020 Stats: 12.19 ERA, 2.81 WHIP, 10.1 IP, 25 H, 8 K, 4 BB

Let’s make this clear – Kim is an emergency starting pitcher at best, and the fact that KT has no one else to turn to should make it very clear what the current state of affairs are. Kim was horrible out of the bullpen before getting a spot-start vs a brutal Lotte team, and predictably struggled to the tune of 3.1 IP / 5 H / 3 ER / 2 BB, getting pulled after 60 pitches. Kia isn’t the best offense the world has ever seen, but Kim literally hasn’t had an outing without a hit (in short relief or as a starter) since the first game of the season. Since that 7-pitch appearance, he’s averaged well over two hits/inning, and an XBH every 2 innings. Predictably, Kim’s FIP is a dreadful 6.98, meaning that even if he positively regresses, he’ll positively regress to a horrible pitcher. Kia exploded last night for 10 before a rain delay caused the game to end in the sixth inning, which may have saved KT some bullpen arms, but they really have any good arms in the bullpen. With that in mind, it’s crucial that they have arms that can last distance into games, which is the opposite of what Kim brings to the table. Most importantly, Kia showed me that while they may not be much against good pitching, they can take advantage of starters who struggle with command and limiting heavy contact, and the middle of their order is as threatening as practically any in the KBO. Their two best hitters are lefties with a platoon advantage over the right-handed Kim, so if the top of the order can scrap their way on, don’t be surprised to see Preston Tucker and Hyung-woo Choi each collect some RBIs tonight.

KT HITTING: 3rd in average, 4th in runs and OPS

Tigers:

SP: Min-woo Lee

            2019 ERA: 5.43 (as a reliever)

            2020 Stats: 3.86 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 37.1 IP, 29 H, 26 K, 12 BB

Lee has made some tremendous steps forward this season, and while I’m a little skeptical that he’s as elite an arm as the 3.86 ERA / 3.24 FIP would suggest, he’s as consistent a pitcher you’ll see in the KBO in terms of limiting hard contact (0 home runs) and walks. The three best teams he’s pitched against this season are LG, Doosan, and Kiwoom. He dominated LG, got hit hard by Doosan (likely in part due to bad luck on BABIP), and slightly struggled against Kiwoom, but that was all the way back in his season debut. KT is an offense more similar to Kiwoom and LG than Doosan, and Lee is in better shape now than his debut, so I like him to put up a good outing here tonight. Again, the great thing is that he won’t have to shut out KT. Lee is a guy who is going to give us at least 5-6 innings of good pitching, and if a few balls bounce his way and he continues to limit XBH, he could feasibly give up 2 or fewer runs. KT has really struggled against good pitching – mostly feasting on slow-throwing righties with command issues – and Lee has done a terrific job of limiting damage even if he occasionally walks a batter or two. I love Kia in this spot tonight, and think they’re in a position to score 6+ while giving up 4 or fewer, giving us some nice leeway for a win.

KIA HITTING: 5th in average, 6th in runs and OPS

Game Plays:

1: Kia ML (-150) 2U

2: Kia -1.5 (+105) 1U

3: Kia TT OV 5.5 (-130) 1U

4: KT TT UN 4.5 (-115) 1U

5: Kia 1st Inning ML (+210) .5U

 

 

G2: Lotte Giants (-210) VS Hanwha Eagles (+155) O/U 11

Giants:

SP: Jun-won Seo

            2019 ERA: 5.47

            2020 Stats: 4.28 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 33.2 IP, 37 H, 14 K, 8 BB

Honestly, I think Seo is getting a WAY worse rep than he deserves, and he fits exactly the mold I look for in underrated candidates to absolutely dominate. Look at who he’s pitched against this year, in order: Kiwoom, KT, Doosan, Kia, Kiwoom, Doosan, KT. Not a SINGLE team in that group is outside the top five in hitting, including six starts against teams in the top three in hitting!! With that in mind, maybe his 4.28 ERA isn’t lighting the world on fire, but to me, Seo is a diamond in the rough. He’s a 19-year-old top-top prospect from the draft two years ago, so Lotte knows he has the stuff to compete. He has terrific command and limits XBH, so he won’t be hurt by either of those, and has a matchup against a Hanwha team in obvious uncontrolled freefall. Let me tell you about a guy grateful for this matchup, and he won’t let it go to waste. Even if Seo allows a hit or two, Hanwha doesn’t have the power to capitalize, and he won’t give away free passes. I could easily see him putting up 6-7 terrific innings and turning it over to a halfway-decent bullpen to get the job done. This is a great example (and test-case) of balancing the analytics with the eye-test. Yes, he has a FIP lower than his ERA. Yes, he allows more than a hit per inning and his BABIP suggests that he is a candidate for regression. Can these things be true while simultaneously understanding that his matchup is dreamy, especially compared to the dominant hitting teams he’s faced this year? I would argue yes. If you feel inclined to lean with the analytics, be my guest, but Seo was a first-round pick for a reason, and he has managed to hang tight with the big boys this year. He’s fully earned this matchup.

LOTTE HITTING: 7th in average and OPS, 8th in runs

Eagles:

SP: Min-jae Jang

            2019 ERA: 5.43

            2020 Stats: 7.58 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, 19 IP, 32 H, 13 K, 3 BB

Jang is a decent command pitcher, but that’s where the positive reflection ends. He’s gotten absolutely battered this year, allowing 32 hits in just 19 IP, and 11 of them have been XBH, including 3 HR. He hardly strikes out anyone, and other than a 5-strikeout outing vs Kia, he has average less than 3 per start. He’s given up 20 hits and 12 ER over his last 7 IP – coming against LG and KT – and with his team in absolute shambles, it’s not like he’s going to come in particularly motivated with the prospect of losing his job. Honestly, if Hanwha had any other pitching to turn to, they already would have. This is a matchup that Lotte should jump on early and often, taking advantage of Jang’s lackluster stuff and inability to keep the ball from being hit hard. Jang plays particularly well to Lotte’s style – they’re a team that doesn’t hit a ton of bombs (T-8th in KBO), but they can still score against bad pitching, especially near the top of the order. Lotte should only need to get to around 4 runs to secure a win, and if they get more than that – which I think they will – I love their prospects of covering -1.5. Jang occasionally puts together a decent start, but this is mostly based on BABIP luck, and even if he does, the Hanwha bullpen is abysmal. Seo should lock Hanwha below 1-3, so Lotte just needs to put a couple runs on the board early and coast it out for the victory.

HANWHA HITTING: 10th in average, runs, and OPS

Game Plays:

1: Lotte -1.5 (-125) 3U

2: Hanwha TT UN 4 (-115) 2U

3: Lotte 1st Inning ML (+200) .5U

 

 

LG Twins (vs SK Wyverns):

SP: Min-ho Lee

            2019 ERA: N/A

            2020 Stats: 1.10 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 9 H, 9 K, 6 BB

It was hard to know what to make of the 18-year-old at first, but Lee has really come out strong this year as a new starter for the Twins, combining for 12.1 IP / 2 ER / 9 K in his two starts. He has struggled with command, walking six over those twelve innings, but looked good in a 3-inning relief appearance against Doosan where he walked none over 3 IP. It looks like LG is now committing to put him on a more consistent spot in the starting rotation, which makes sense given his success in the role. They extended him up to 100 pitches last week, which is really encouraging since last night’s game ran into extra innings, so both squads will be down a relief pitcher or two. Lee was a top prospect in high school, and breaks the mold of typical KBO arms who work in the 80s. He was up in the mid 90s as just a 17-year-old, and was LG’s first pick in the draft, so he has the kind of stuff that can dominate, as long as the command comes with it. He’s got another relatively favorable matchup with SK tonight, a team that has struggled significantly against good pitching and doesn’t possess much power. There obviously isn’t much data on Lee in such a short sample size, but I’m really encouraged by his demeanor and pitchability in a league without many power arms.

Game Plays:

1: SK TT UN 4 (-115) 1U


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