Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 6:50 PM EST
KT Wiz +101 over Doosan Bears
5:30 PM EST. Two former MLB players will start this one, as Casey Kelly goes for the Twins while Odrisamer Despaigne goes for the underdog. We’ll take our chances with the underdog and here’s why:
Casey Kelly probably holds the best prospect pedigree of any pitcher in the KBO but so what, as that was 11 years ago. The former first-round shortstop was the second piece in the Adrian Gonzalez-Anthony Rizzo trade, only to have arm problems scuttle his plans. Still, he made himself into a serviceable reliever and earned a max $1 million contract from LG last year. He admitted that he struggled with communication and learning a new league’s worth of opponents, but the adjustment didn’t take long. He ended up the staff ace and started both of the team’s playoff victories. That was his first year in the KBO and he’s not the first very average foreign born player to thrive in year one before blowing up in year two. Kelly has been tagged for 11 hits in eight frames while striking out just five batters. His 5.62 ERA is right in line with his 5.66 xERA. Maybe it’s just a bad start but Kelly is no spring chicken.
Back in 2017, Kelly got a fresh start as a non-roster invitee in the Cubs organization. That lasted about a week. He was subsequently cut by the Giants and Padres, not to mention a number of teams before he got to the Cubs. Kelly tried to earn a roster spot for over a decade but his stuff is just not good enough, not even for relief. His success in this league last year was nice but just like everywhere else that he has played over his career, it’s not likely to last. Dude is 31 and he’s hittable.
Then there’s Odrismer Despaigne. If you need someone to be an innings-eating lynchpin of a Triple-A rotation, serving as both a key figure in an International League playoff drive and providing a small thrill to fans as a guy who does a vaguely convincing El Duque impersonation, Odrisamer is your man. If you want someone to perplex your major-league roster and coaching staff with an oddly lax pregame warmup routine that seems to make everyone ask “My God, does he know what time it is?” before unleashing an astonishingly wide arsenal of pitches, Odrisamer, is also your man. Despaigne will throw literally everything, and throw it literally anywhere, from just about any angle. There’s reason to think that this is the time it works, though. Despaigne’s 92 mph fastball is pretty good by KBO standards, and his lack of command–sorry, his unpredictability–could force hitters to chase, leading to weak contact. The Cuban has some junk that has fooled MLB hitters in the past. Through three starts, Despaigne has a nice 2.65/3.44 ERA/xERA split. He has struck out 18 batters in 17 frames while walking just two! He has KBO hitters perplexed and confused and this team has yet to face him. One thing is certain and that it’ll never be boring to watch but more importantly, he and the Wiz hold all the value here.
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KT Wiz +101 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.02)