No one in the industry has devoted a solid write up dedicated to KBO bullpens… until now. Louis Cangiano has a bonus in-depth breakdown article for your reading pleasure!
While most KBO breakdowns revolve around starting pitching or heavy hitters for a given slate, this article is devoted to the most overlooked part of KBO daily fantasy…Bullpens. People tend to avoid bullpen research because in the end, you don’t know who’s coming out of the pen, and for that matter, you don’t know if the bullpen will even be needed. And I get it, but for me, the more knowledge the better. So, without further adieu, let’s start with the worst bullpen in the KBO – The Doosan Bears.
I will include a picture of Doosan’s RP list below, but let’s talk about them briefly before I do. It seems as if we have five viable relief pitchers to back up Doosan’s already shaky starting five, who currently own a 5.00 ERA. These RP are: Kwon Hyuk, Park Jong Ji, Lee Hyun Seung, Ham Duk Jo, Park Chi Gook and Hong Gun He. This is Doosan’s bullpen.
Let’s check out some noticeable stats. Park Jong Ji is their most impressive relief pitcher, as he owns a 2.53 ERA over 10.2 innings pitched. Keep in mind KBO bullpens are different in certain ways from MLB bullpens, as you’ll probably see more starts from RP in the KBO than you would in the MLB. But regardless. Other than Park Jong Ji, many of Doosan’s relief staff have some pretty horrible numbers. Hyuk and Hong Gun He own 9.00 and 4.25 ERA’s respectively, while He has allowed major home run numbers on top of the already high batting averages he’s allowed. Other bullpen players like Lee Seung and Park Chi Gook have had serious problems walking batters.
So, it seems Doosan’s manager is constantly fucked when it comes to the later innings. What does this mean for DFS purposes? A bad bullpen is what takes a blowout to a massive blowout, and stacking massive blowouts is what takes down GPP tournaments (especially if your stacks are low owned)… Damn you SK Wyverns! One call that’s going to sting for a while!
The Tigers own a team 4.25 ERA, but that includes their starters and we’re concerned with bullpen personnel only for this write-up. So, KIA’s bullpen consists of Byun Si Won, Ko Young Chang, Jeon Hyun and lastly Park Jun Pyo. Once again, remember, you might occasionally see some of these RP starting; that’s just how KBO is. I still consider them a part of the bullpen despite an occasional start.
KIA is second best in the league in quality starts with 20 so their bullpen might not get the use or opportunity they deserve, but in my opinion, KIA has a bullpen capable of holding down innings 6 thru 9 against almost any team in the league. Opportunity might come few and far between, but when they arise, look for RP Park Jun Pyo and Jeon Sang Hyun to shut things down with their 1.37 and 1.23 ERA’s over 41 and ⅔ total innings between the two relievers. Unless you have reason to believe your stack will work over RP Park Jun Pyo and Jeon Sung Hyun – expect clean 6,7,8 innings out of KIA on most occasions.
**When looking at these Pitcher stats below each team, innings pitched (IP) is a good way to filter just the bullpen guys. Any pitcher with 25+ IP at this point I’d consider a starter or long reliever**
B + / A –
Ah, the worst batting team in the KBO (along with The Hanwha Eagles) what to do with you? Okay, well here are some horrible notes about their bullpen.
Jae Hoon Ha and Young Il Jung each own a 7.50+ ERA on the season, both with horrible records. SK has a very limited bullpen despite these two relievers only totaling 21 innings between the two of them. The third RP is Jo Young Woo. Woo has pitched 15 innings, allowing a 5.43 ERA off nine earned runs. SK’s bullpen skill base is poor, and its depth is even poorer. SK, as a team, owns a 4.79 ERA, and their offense is slacking beyond belief. When a team isn’t scoring and their starters aren’t getting the job done, the bullpen is getting the shit end of the stick. This bullpen is overworked and under-skilled, not to mention the HR/9, as well as BB/9 stats, are shockingly high.
The Lotte Giants actually have a solid amount of talent in their bullpen. Players like Park Jin Hyun and Lee In-Bok carry a 2.12 and 2.40 ERA respectively. Their strikeout numbers are high, and their innings pitched are well managed. They also have other RP depth in Kim Won Joong, who has a 2-0 record with a 1.17 ERA.
Statistically, Lotte has one of the best bullpens in the KBO, not to mention the pitching staff as a whole owns a 4.45 ERA, meaning the bullpen is used often but not too much to where they are overworked. Don’t expect to get too many blowout games against Lotte, as even if the SP goes down, Joong, Hyun and Bok should be able to carry the slack!
We all know Hanwha can’t hit the ball, but the question is can their bullpen throw it! Hanwha has a few main RP, including Jung Woo Ram, who owns a 4.61 ERA over 13.1 IP, and Ahn Young Myung, who has a 7.65 ERA over just 10 ⅔ innings.
Hanwha started this season with a great pitching staff, but now, they are currently ranked dead last with a 5.93 team ERA. Hanwha has also allowed the most home runs in the KBO (54) as a whole. Get this, not one Hanwha reliever has lower than a 4.70 ERA – These pitchers are lacking skill and are overworked.
It’s no coincidence why Hanwha is on a historic losing steak. After today’s research I truly believe, Hanwha will continue to be the most targetable team, both offensively and defensively. Hanwha’s Jung Woo Ram is the most likely to shut down some of the later innings with five saves on the year, but you can’t pitch him every night! Hanwha is lacking skill; let’s start taking advantage of it…as if we already haven’t been.
So, Kiwoom is currently the third-best hitting team in the KBO. Do they even need a bullpen? I feel like they’re always up by 10. With that said, let’s see some of their RP and how they’ve been faring so far this season.
Kiwoom has RP Jo Sang Woo (0.68 ERA over 12 IP) and Tae Kim SP/RP (2.94 ERA over 24 IP). Kiwoom actually has some solid bullpen skill. I just don’t think they’ve had to display it fully just yet. Look for Kiwoom’s pitching staff to step up as the season goes on. They are well-rested and clearly talented enough to hold down teams like NC Dinos and the Doosan Bears. Specific stats that caught my eye were based around Sang Woo Cho. He is clearly one of their most talented pitchers and has played in 11 games (zero starts), he has seven saves but has only totaled 13.1 innings. I get that he’s in the closer role, but maybe it’s time to send him out in the 8th as well, considering you’re often up by 5+ going into the later innings. Give him more reps, he’s got the goods!
The Samsung Lions have the most underrated bullpen in the KBO. All four main members include: Choi Gwang, Woo Kyu Min, Oh Seung Hwan, Heo Yoon-Dong. ERA’s are impressive, hovering around 3.85 – 4.10 (In solid sample sizes against good teams!), and Samsung also has a shutdown reliever in Choi Ji Gwang, who owns a 0.89 ERA over 20 and ⅓ innings pitched.
Samsung has some major skill in the bullpen. Maybe, if they can score a run or two, we can see them above .500 sooner rather than later. This bullpen I have ranked 3rd in the KBO and surprisingly carry a B+ rating all things considered.
The Dinos score so much; do they even need a bullpen? No, probably not. They also have three of the best pitchers in the league: Chang-mo Koo, Drew Rucinski and Mike Wright. So, realistically, the bullpen gets used less than any other team in the KBO. And they’re lucky; that’s true. Because not only do I see big numbers for NC’s bullpen, but I also see small sample sizes, meaning the RP aren’t getting ample work.
This should affect NC down the road in either a negative or positive way. You don’t want your staff tired, but you also want them to get their work in by crunch time. NC’s pitching staff scares me because their success is predicated on the success of three starters (Koo, Rucinski and Wright). NC has the offense, but if Rucinski, Yoo and/or Wright go down, this underworked bullpen will have some major struggles. Until larger sample sizes are present, I am ranking NC Dinos bullpen as a B-. I need to see more without the aid of Koo or Rucinski going eight innings.
The KT Wiz pitching staff is a collection of massive ERAs, except for one bright spot in Ju Kwon, who has a 2.25 ERA over 24 ½ innings pitched. Other than him, it’s a shit show.
Three of KT’s relievers have an ERA over 6.50 with a reasonably high sample size. KT’s starters aren’t stellar, so KT’s pen has gotten their fair share of work. Which is actually something I like to see. Practice makes perfect, and poor starting pitching means practice for your bullpen!
With that said, these allowed OBP and ERA numbers are too high. KT Wiz gets a C- ranking for KBO bullpens, and I have them ranked second-worst in the KBO going forward.
LG has some solid skill at the relief position. Pitchers like Jung Moo Young and Min Ho Lee are shutdown pitchers perfect for shutting down the 6th, 7th and 8th. LG tends to score a lot and has one of the largest winning differentials (in terms of points) in the KBO.
LG has multiple options at closer but also has a solid supporting cast, including Kim Dae Hyun who owns a high ERA but is definitely capable of getting the job done if called upon. LG has the skill to shut down teams in the later innings; it’s just that they never need to do so. They’re always up by massive amounts.
I hope this helps give a little perspective on KBO bullpens and follow me on Twitter @JaguarDFS if you enjoyed my thoughts!
Did you miss my KBO DFS Strategy Tips on DFS Priorities? Now you didn’t!