With one week in the books, the Lotte Giants remain the only unbeaten team in the Korean Baseball Organisation. Today I will look forward to this week and share my best picks and parlays for the KBO for May 12.
SI’s KBO Picks May 12
Doosan Bears (Raul Alcantara, 0-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. Lotte Giants (Jang Won-sam, 0-0, 0.00 ERA)
As mentioned in the intro, the Giants have begun the season 5-0 and enter week two as the only undefeated team in the KBO. This is quite a surprise for many, considering the Giants were the worst team in the league last year.
The Bears, on the other hand, came out of the gate a little slow, ending the first week with a 3-2 record. Their starter tonight will be Raul Alcantara, who was saddled with a loss in his season debut despite throwing six innings, surrendering three runs off six hits and a home run. He only managed to fan three batters while walking two. The former A’s prospect spent last year on the KT Wiz and finished the year with a 4.01 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, splitting his 22 starts to go 11-11 on the season.
Alcantara needs to limit the damage tonight and keep the Bears in this game. Doosan could easily be 5-0 themselves considering they lead the league in BA at .309, runs scored with 32 and six long balls. Their pitching has been the real letdown and essentially cost the reigning champs three losses so far.
Lotte will counter with Jan Won-sam, making his 2020 debut. A veteran of the league, sam pitched for Samsung for the last nine seasons before making a move to Lotte. Once a stud in the league, sam has been a massive liability for the previous 4 years, and the Giants are hoping a change of scenery can resurrect his career. It will be a tough task after sam has started just 11 games over the last two years, going for 14.2 innings and allowing almost two home runs per nine.
My call here is based on Won-sam’s ineffectiveness and my lack of faith in the 36-year-olds ability to turn it around. Sure, the Giants are unbeaten, but they have been playing way over their heads. They were the worst team in the KBO last year and haven’t gotten THAT much better. The Bears, in comparison, are not playing up to their potential as the current reigning champions. Doosan has the better arm on the mound by far, a better team, and came into this week with a plus matchup. I like them to hand Lotte their first loss of 2020.
Samsung Lions (Ben Lively, 0-0, 6.00 ERA) vs. Kiwoom Heroes (Eric Jokisch, 0-0, 1.80 ERA)
For our second KBO pick for May 12 it’s the battle of imported pitchers, this will be one of the best duels of the week.
The Lions enter with a rough 2-4 record after a week of play while the Heroes are 5-1 and might be the best team in the KBO right now. On the flip side, Samsung looks like an early candidate for 10th place after hitting just .199 in their first six games.
The Lions hope that Ben Lively can rebound after giving up four runs and six hits against the Dinos in his debut. He did have six strikeouts, which is a plus. But Lively will have to do a lot more to keep the ball in the park after giving up a pair of HR as well. He averaged a strikeout per inning and did not have issues keeping the ball in the park last year, so I’m going to assume the previous week was an anomaly. The Dinos are also the best power-hitting team in the KBO, so Lively gets a pass
Lively won’t have a cakewalk in this game either, Kiwoom has six long balls in so many games and does have the bats to put them back in the win column. They have not been hitting for average, batting just .255 as a team, but their 35 runs in six games can’t be ignored.
Eric Jokisch will hope to keep his early-season success going. His debut game saw the former Cubs pitcher go five innings last week, allowing one run on five hits while striking out four.
Jockish was one of the most consistent players in the KBO last year, and his first start suggests he has lost none of the magic from 2019.
Samsung has a pretty sad lineup of hitters, which will not help them beat one of the best pitchers from last year. We might even see a shutout on Tuesday.
This also makes Jokisch an excellent pickup for DFS players, which DraftKings has right now for the KBO and a ton of other leagues.
So, those are our KBO picks for May 12. Good luck with your bets and I will be back later in the week for more updates on the KBO and much more here at Sportsintel.com