With a month in the books, the standings and story lines continue to evolve in the KBO. Kiwoom released its imported hitter, Taylor Motter and will search the newly released prospects from the MLB for a power hitter: 

One injury situation to monitor, KBO home run leader Roberto Ramos left Sunday’s game early after this collision at first base:


Ramos continues to launch bombs in the KBO with 10 through his first 23 contests spanning 80 at-bats. He’s slashing a robust .375/.451/.813, leads the league in on-base plus slugging percentage (1.264) while recording an 11 percent walk rate and 19.8 strikeout percentage. With his team (LG Twins) in second place, his bat will be needed in the week ahead by his teammates and DFS players alike. After a month in the books, here’s how the standings appear prior to game action on Tuesday:

Keeping track of the numbers, home runs continue to pervade the landscape with 213 total this year for an average of 1.82 per game compared to 0.70 per contest last year. More runs as a result of a power spike also affects the pitchers toting a 4.71 ERA so far in 2020 compared to a 4.17 ERA last season. Noting Ramos leads the league in home runs, here’s the leaders in six categories for hitters:

Not ignoring the pitchers, only three own a WHIP below one among qualified starters and it’s not an import pitcher leading the league in most categories:

Due to the increase in runs in the KBO it’s no surprise to see Dinos across the leaderboards since they’ve been atop the standings most of the first month this year. Now it’s time to delve into some of the top performances from the last week with an eye on the games which lie ahead. 

Hitter Highlights

Jin-sung Kang, NC Dinos

Somehow catcher eligible on Draft Kings for the last two weeks, the site adjusted him to first base and outfield for the upcoming slate on Tuesday. Kang’s pushed his way into the lineup hitting .474/.522/.825 through his first 20 games spanning 68 plate appearances. He’s scored 11 runs with five doubles, five home runs, 19 RBI and two stolen bases. His batting average on balls in play (.468) resides below his average and carrying a .351 isolated power, Kang’s an intriguing player to monitor going forward. Plus, he made waves with this play over the weekend:


As if James Grande and I did not have enough justification for our early allegiance to the Dinos in our KBO fandom, the home run lei only adds to the allure:


Playing with passion never bothered me and the bat flips which occur in games makes the KBO fun. Something much needed over the last few days in our country. 

Jeong Choi, SK Wyverns

Tabbed as the “Miguel Cabrera ” of the KBO, fantasy players were not hoping for the 2019 version of him in Choi. A slow start forced his batting average below the dreaded Mendoza line but even with his team suffering losses due to injury, Choi’s showed signs of life last week: 

  • Six games: seven runs, eight hits, three doubles, one home run, seven RBI, eight walks, two hit-by-pitch in 17 at-bats and 27 plate appearances. 

This translates to a .471/.667/.824 slash line for the week for Choi moving his average to .205 on the season but with a .232 BABIP and .745 OPS. Less than stellar. When looking at his past performance, Choi’s last three years (2017-2019) features a .285/.398/.580 line with a .978 OPS, .295 isolated power, 12.1 percent walk rate and 20.2 strikeout percentage. Plus, simple improvement against fastballs could fuel more power going forward for Choi. Here’s his zone profile through his first 23 contests of 2020:

He’s hitting center cut fastballs but once he heats up in the other zones like last year, the power should return. Here’s Choi’s same profile from 2019: 

Dong-won Park, Kiwoom Heroes

In our preseason KBO primer, catcher featured Eui-ji Yang of the NC Dinos but it’s been Park of Kiwoom producing the power at the position after the first month. Park’s appeared in 23 games scoring 15 runs with seven doubles, six home runs, 21 RBI and a .347/.390/.680 slash line. He’s 11th in the KBO in batting average, fourth in slugging, tied for eighth in total bases and tied for fourth in RBI. Park found some off field trouble in the past but looks to carry over his strong start for the Heroes going forward. 

Tyler Saladino , Samsung Lions

Assimilating to the KBO in one’s first season can be difficult as evidenced by Motter’s release in the introduction above. Saladino spoke about this as well:


Saladino scuffled early on but could be settling in for Samsung with a strong week: 

  • Six games, 25 at-bats, five runs, nine hits (.429), two doubles, two home runs, eight RBI

His production in the last six games represents huge gains for Saladino. He entered last week with only one home run and three RBI. Samsung needs more from their import hitter and it appears he’s on the uptick as the team moves into June. 

Starting Pitcher Spotlight

Chang-mo Koo, NC Dinos

One only needs to scan the leaderboard above for pitchers to see how dominant Koo’s been for the Dinos. He’s made five starts, all quality outings, going 4-0 with a minuscule 0.51 ERA and 0.60 WHIP through his first 35 innings. Koo leads the KBO in strikeouts (38) along with both ratio statistics. Here’s a sample of his arsenal:


But there’s more to Koo than the slider in his swing percentage zone profiles: 

His ability to work in all zones enhances his strikeout upside. Of more importance, hitters struggle to barrel his pitches making him almost a must start in DFS no matter his price point. 

Eric Jokish, Kiwoom

If not for Koo, more attention would fall upon Jokisch as one of the three qualified pitchers with a WHIP below one in a hitter friendly environment in the KBO. Jokisch owns a 0.90 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 4-0 record with a 27:5 K:BB over 30 innings spanning five starts. Here’s how he tunnels his sinker and breaking ball:


And, look at this swing against a breaking ball in such a defensive mode:


A failed starter in the majors, Jokisch looks to hone his arsenal in the KBO and won 13 games last season for Kiwoom. Monitor his progress going forward but he’s upped his strikeout percentage by five this year (23.9 percent compared to 18.9 in 2019) fueling his strikeout minus walk rate to grow to 19.5 percent in 2020. Pretty, pretty good. 

Adrian Sampson , Lotte Giants

There’s no way to account for the loss of one’s father. Sampson spent time with his Dad prior to his passing earlier in the month and returned to Lotte after a two week quarantine making his first start this season last week. If interested, Sampson’s story can be read here:


Within the piece Jee-ho Yoo, Sampson hopes to add 20 pitches per outing going forward. He logged 59 pitches in his debut lasting 3.1 innings giving up two runs. This tempers his upside due to an inflated price point in DFS, but his next outing could provide more insight on how he will fare for the Giants this year. Stay tuned. 

Putting a bow on the weekly review, kudos to an 18 year old southpaw winning his KBO debut: 


Yun-dong Heo resides on major league scouts radar and worked five innings in his debut in the KBO for Samsung. An impressive feat to say the least. Happy Birthday to Hui-kwan Yu of the Doosan Bears: 


Built like David Wells but with a personality akin to Bartolo Colón , Yu features a curveball which sometimes does not register on the radar gun due to being so slow. How can one not root for a beer league looking pitcher playing professionally? 

With Monday off, here’s the match-ups when games resume on Tuesday morning: 

  • Lotte Giants (11-12) at Kia Tigers (12-12)

  • Doosan Bears (14-9) at KT Wiz (10-13)

  • SK Wyverns (7-16) at NC Dinos (18-5)

  • Samsung Lions (10-14) at LG Twins (16-7)

  • Kiwoom Heroes (12-12) at Hanwha Eagles (7-17)

Kia faces an intriguing series with Lotte while both teams try to gain in the standings. Here’s a look at how rookie manager Matt Williams tries to make inroads in the KBO: 


Last, but not least, bullpens continue to log many innings with starters being knocked out of games due to the spike in home runs. Targeting a weak pitcher makes sense, but runs often occur later in contests meaning one should trust the process of targeting strong hitters: 


Be sure to stay with Fantasy Alarm across all fantasy formats to remain ahead of the competition and here’s to a new week of actual baseball in the KBO. Be well and be safe Fantasy Alarm family. 


Statistical Credits