Korean Baseball League Primer: What You Need to Know for KBO DFS + KBO Betting

These days, DFS and betting sports are tough to come by, but it looks like the Korean Baseball League may in fact kick off their season on Tuesday at 12 a.m. EST. With that news, DraftKings and FanDuel have launched some fantastic KBO DFS contests for us to play. But what is KBO DFS, and how do we approach it compared to MLB? Josh Engleman dives in.

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The KBO League (formerly Korea Baseball Championship) was founded in 1982 with six teams. Since that time, the league has expanded to the following 10 teams:

  • Doosan Bears
  • Hanwha Eagles
  • Kia Tigers
  • Kiwoom Heroes
  • KT Wiz
  • LG Twins
  • Lotte Giants
  • NC Dinos
  • Samsung Lions
  • SK Wyverns

The Kia Tigers (formerly Haitai Tigers) are the most successful team in the league’s 38-season history, winning 11 of 38 titles. Their most recent championship happened in 2017. Amazingly, the Tigers have never finished as the runner-up. Every other team in the league has finished second at least once. Entering 2020, the Doosan Bears are the favorites to repeat as champions. They have played in the title game in each of the past five year, winning three.

Korean Baseball League Rules

From a rules perspective, the experience largely mirrors what we have come to expect from baseball. There are three specifics that need to be mentioned, though.

1) Every team has a designated hitter.

2) There is a 12-inning limit for regular season games and a 15-inning limit for playoff games. If a playoff game ends in a tie, it is replayed.

3) There is a limit of three foreign players per team. That number increased from two to three in 2014.

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Korean Baseball League Stats

Statistically, there are a few key differences to keep in mind. In 2019, pitchers in MLB averaged 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings. In comparison, the KBO averaged just 6.8. Walk rates were equal. Home run rates, however, were drastically different. Pitchers in MLB allowed 1.4 home runs per nine innings. KBO pitchers averaged just 0.7.

Former Major Leaguers to roster in your KBO DFS lineups

There are quite a few former major league players you may recognize heading into the 2020 season. Former Red Sox/Padres two-way prospect Casey Kelly is a pitcher for the LG Twins. Journeyman Dan Straily signed a one-year deal with the Lotte Giants this past December. Mel Rojas Jr., whose father played in the majors in the ’90s, has played for the KT Wiz since 2017. He broke the franchise record for home runs in 2018. Last year’s MVP, Josh Lindblom, pitched for five different MLB teams since 2011 before heading to the KBO in 2017. Shortly after winning the award, Lindblom signed a three-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.

KBO DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel

When it comes to DFS, your experience should be largely the same. Stacking will be a primary method of roster construction due to correlative nature of the sport. The points for a pitching win will carry more weight due to the significant decrease in strikeouts.

Josh Engleman
Josh is Contributor for Stokastic.com where he hosts video and writes content regularly across the primary sports of MLB, NBA, and NFL as well as contributing to the development of models and projections for soccer. He originally started producing projections & articles for Reddit's r/DFSports in 2014 where he built a loyal following that brought him to where he is today. Josh is most known for his elaborate Excel spreadsheets, which he shares in all of his video content. You can find him on Twitter or hanging out in Stokastic's Premium Chalkboard. You can contact Josh by emailing [email protected].

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