Friday felt like a tough card in the KBO to me, but a lot of the line moves that we saw at open got to the window, with the early move on SK and the move on the over in that game both coming through. The LG/Kia under was popular as well and that one hit, so it was a winner for the masses, but not for us to continue my pretty disheartening stretch in the KBO.
Maybe Saturday will bring some better fortunes. Maybe it won’t, but at least the write-ups are here so that you can decide for yourself if you want to join me or fade me. I wouldn’t blame you for the latter and would question your sanity for the former. It would certainly be nice to string a few good days together here.
With my self-deprecation out of the way, here are a few notes from Friday before we look ahead to Saturday:
– Only one game had a first inning run yesterday. It sure seems like you can tell what kind of day it’s going to be by the first inning. A lot of these days seem to be either over-heavy or under-heavy. Maybe it’s just me.
– Despite a 4-1 mark to the under, 10 homers were hit on Friday. That brings us to 201 HR in 107 games. I missed it on Thursday, but there were nine home runs.
– Doosan and SK completed a trade. SK got some catching depth in Lee Heung-ryeon and outfielder Kim Kyung-ho. Doosan got pitcher Lee Seung-jin and catcher Kwon Ki-young. Lee had a 12.96 ERA in 8.1 innings for SK’s Futures League team, so he fits right in with the Doosan staff. Kim had a .278/.278/.444 slash in 36 PA for Doosan’s Futures League team. Not much consequence here.
– NC lost yesterday to fall to 17-4. They had the highest winning percentage ever through 20 games at 17-3.
– Per Jeeho Yoo on Twitter, So Hyeong-jun (KT) and Heo Yoon-dong (Samsung) were the #1 and #2 starters for their high school team. I bet they were pretty good.
Odds from BetOnline Sportsbook again. Again, shop around for the best prices for what you want to bet.
Here are the write-ups and suggested fades for May 30:
LG Twins (-150) vs. Kia Tigers (+120); Total: 9.5
It appears as though my inability to get a read on the Kia Tigers is still a thing. They were shut down by Cha Woo-chan yesterday and the over fell two runs short, despite a nice lift from the Kia bullpen. This game will feature Lim Chan-gyu for the Twins and Lee Min-woo for Kia.
Lim is making his fourth start of the season. He’s allowed nine runs on 18 hits in 18 innings with a solid 21/2 K/BB ratio. The 27-year-old right-hander has a career 5.07 ERA and 1.56 WHIP, so it would be surprising if he was to keep this up. Lim had a 4.97 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP last year in 88.2 innings with 13 starts and 17 relief outings. He was a full-time starter in 2018 and 2017 with good strikeout numbers, but questionable command.
Lim actually had 125 K in 146.2 innings in 2018, but allowed 23 home runs and 32 doubles, both career highs. It is entirely possible that Lim is a late bloomer. I’ve talked about that 23-24 window as a good spot for a pitcher, but Lim missed two years in 2014 and 2015. Those were his age 21 and 22 seasons, so it makes sense that it would take him a little more seasoning and development time. He’ll turn 28 in November.
Lee Min-woo is in his fourth KBO season, but he only has 135.1 innings of work to his name. He’s allowed 10 earned runs on 20 hits in 23.2 innings with a 15/9 K/BB ratio. Lee has gotten better in each of his four starts, including seven solid innings against SK last time out. Lee is 27, but hasn’t really stuck full-time at this level to this point. He hasn’t worked more than 61.1 innings in a season.
Lee pitched 52 innings in the Futures League last season with a 4.05 ERA. He struck out 34 and walked 12. In his KBO work, he posted a 5.43 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP in six starts and 26 relief efforts. He pitched sporadically in the Futures League in 2018 and did not pitch well with a 7.56 ERA in 33.1 innings.
So, it looks like Lee Min-woo is unlikely to sustain his current pace. Lim has a chance of doing that with more of a track record and the quality strikeout numbers for this league. He’s second for LG in pitcher WAR to this point and has a 4.50 ERA with a 2.30 FIP. Lee has also faced Kiwoom, Hanwha, Lotte, and SK. LG is a step up. Lim pitched at Samsung and also faced KT.
Pick: LG Twins (-150)
Lotte Giants (+160) vs. Doosan Bears (-200); Total: 10.5
Lotte’s offensive woes continued on Friday when they were shut down by Raul Alcantara and the Doosan bullpen. We’ll see if they continue today against Lee Young-ha. Lee is actually a guy I had on my watch list coming into the season. The 22-year-old had a 3.64 ERA with a 1.28 WHIP last season. This year has been a disaster to this point. He’s walked 16 and only struck out 15 in his 20.1 innings of work. Lee has allowed 13 earned runs on 24 hits and 17 runs total.
The walks are undoubtedly his fault, as he has walked six in a game twice. He’s allowed five doubles, but no home runs in his four starts. He only allowed five home runs in 163.1 innings last season. Lee should be better than this. His BB/9 is more than double last year’s mark with a 7.1 BB/9 compared to a 3.4 BB/9 last year. Maybe Lotte is what he needs to get on track. It’s seemed to help a lot of pitchers to this point.
Lotte will send out 19-year-old Seo Jun-won for his fifth start of 2020 and his 21st KBO start overall. He threw 6.2 shutout innings against Kiwoom last time out in a tremendous bounce back effort after allowing seven runs on 11 hits to Kia on May 19. He allowed five runs on five hits in his start prior to that. So Seo has thrown two good starts and two bad starts to this point. What will he do against Doosan? Well, we’ll have to see.
The five runs on five hits over five innings was against Doosan. He issued four of his six walks in that start. Last season, Seo had a 5.47 ERA with a 1.60 WHIP in 97 innings. Will the youngster be able to make adjustments against such a potent lineup?
I think Doosan is the right side here, but I’m curious what is wrong with Lee Young-ha. Lotte hasn’t walked a lot, but drew six against him in the first start. I understand why Doosan is getting pumped in the market and that probably is the right side. I’m just not eager to lay it with him until he gets something fixed. This line went from -165 to -200 while writing thanks to some influential money.
KT Wiz Suwon (+130) vs. Kiwoom Heroes (-160); Total: 9.5
Watch list guy Choi Won-tae gets the start for Kiwoom in this one against the KT Wiz. KT will respond with foreign pitcher William Cuevas, who is off to a slow start in his second KBO season. I guess it’s hard to call Choi a watch list guy since he’s already established himself as one of the better domestic pitchers in this league.
Choi has a 3.86 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP in his 21 innings this season. He posted a 3.38 ERA with a 1.28 WHIP over 157.1 innings in 2019 and a 3.95 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP in 2018 over 134.1 innings. Even in 2017, Choi had a 4.46 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP in his age-20 season. The 23-year-old has probably already reached breakout stage. He’s solid got strikeout numbers, excellent walk numbers, and from the looks of it has a strong command profile as well.
Cuevas has deserved a better fate. The 29-year-old right-hander has a 5.55 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP in his 24.1 innings. He’s got a solid 21/6 K/BB ratio and has only allowed two home runs in his starts. He’s just had no luck with the walks and hits that he has allowed because they’ve all been grouped together. He’s also got a three-run homer to his name and those are definitely killers. But, he should be doing better with a 5.55 ERA and a 4.40 FIP.
Kiwoom’s offense is still missing in action for the most part. The KT offense has been really good this season, but I do like Choi Won-tae a lot. The KT offense is still missing a couple of key middle of the order pieces as well. The bullpens are certainly scary and I did consider the 1st 5, but Cuevas giving up a few crooked numbers this season is a little bit more concerning for the derivative than the full game. He’s put up tons of zeroes, but has just had that occasional inning. So, I’ll try to spread this one out a little more.
Pick: Under 9.5 (-105)
NC Dinos (-205) vs. Samsung Lions (+165); Total: 9.5
It’s going to feel like a Triple-A game when Mike Wright and David Buchanan get together at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu. Two foreign pitchers that have had to cross paths at some point meet up here in this one. Wright has allowed seven runs on 15 hits in 22 innings with a 20/10 K/BB ratio. He walked five against Doosan in his third start to amass half of his free passes.
Wright already faced Samsung once on the road and gave up two of his three home runs. Otherwise, he’s been pretty solid. Hanwha scored four runs on just two hits in Wright’s last start. One of them was a three-run homer in the sixth, so that was pretty much that. Otherwise, Wright has been really good, which is no surprise. KBO hitters don’t see 6-foot-6 very often and he’s shown plus command for the level.
Who knows what the hell we’re going to get from David Buchanan here. Buchanan allowed five runs on six hits in his first start. He threw seven shutout with eight strikeouts the next time. He allowed 10 runs on 10 hits in five innings the next time. He threw seven shutout innings in his most recent start against Doosan. He allowed nine hits, but none of the runners scored.
So who knows what we’ll get here. He’s allowed 27 hits in 25 innings with 16 strikeouts and six walks. The obvious thought would be to expect him to be pretty good since he is a foreign-born starter and those guys have done quite well. On the other hand, he’s been rocked twice, both at home in what is the worst pitcher’s park in the KBO.
Wright has a much higher chance of being good than Buchanan in my estimation. NC still has the better offense, the better defense, and the slightly better bullpen, yesterday’s collapse not withstanding. That was the first one-run loss of the season for NC. Maybe it was a sign of some regression to come.
NC is outpacing Samsung by 49 points in batting average, 47 points in OBP, and 100 points in SLG and they don’t have the luxury of playing in Lions Park.
I’m a square. That’s fine. I also know NC is overpriced a little bit here. I’m just not a believer in Buchanan. I wasn’t when he came into the league and he gave up nine hits but just happened to pitch around last time out. I’m fading Buchanan and taking the run line to cut down the juice.
Pick: NC Dinos -1.5 run line (-145)
Hanwha Eagles (+115) vs. SK Wyverns (-145); Total: 9.5
Hanwha and SK scored some runs on Friday to fly over the total. Let’s see what happens on Saturday with Jang Shi-hwan on the hill for the Eagles and domestic starter Ricardo Pinto for the Wyverns. Jang is a positive regression candidate early in the year with a 7.20 ERA and a 4.63 FIP. He’s running a .460 BABIP over his 20 innings to this point.
Jang isn’t great by any means with a career 5.49 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP. He does have pretty good career strikeout numbers with 437 in 473.2 innings of work. SK has drawn the second-fewest walks in the league along with KT. Only Hanwha has drawn fewer walks. Jang had a 4.95 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP last season in his 125.1 innings of work, so we’re really not talking about anything spectacular, but if you look this season, he’s gotten unlucky with the walks and the batted balls.
Ricardo Pinto has a .364 BABIP against, so he’s run a little on the bad side in terms of batted ball luck. He’s also made his own problems with 11 strikeouts and 11 walks in 22.2 innings of work. He allowed 13 hits last time out against Kia, but managed to only allow one earned run. He had allowed 18 runs in his previous two starts, but eight of those runs were unearned.
Neither one of these guys has had much to celebrate in the luck department. Neither one of these offenses has been very good either. Collectively, they’ve scored 7.5 runs per game. They’ve given up 11 runs per game combined. Will they both experience a little bit of positive regression against bad lineups?
It’s plenty possible, but it’s not something I’m going to be interested in.