MLB Picks for Seoul Series: Baseball Best Bets, Predictions, Odds on DraftKings Sportsbook
MLB Picks for Seoul Series: Baseball Best Bets, Predictions, Odds on DraftKings Sportsbook

We made it! Well, sort of. While most teams still have over a week left on their Spring Training schedules, the Dodgers and the Padres have travelled to Korea to kick-off the MLB’s regular season with a two-game set. As people who played KBO DFS during the pandemic might remember, that means a 6:05 a.m. ET first pitch.

Fortunately, you don’t need an alarm clock to make some bets right now. Let’s dive in.

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres

Let’s start with something simple. While the payout on this prop won’t be gaudy, this line is just too high for Darvish at this point in the season. Putting aside everything else, remember that this contest is taking place on March 20. Though the Padres and Dodgers did start their camps earlier than other teams, we’re still roughly two weeks away from when most pitchers would normally be fully built up for the real games. Darvish last worked on March 11 against Seattle. He threw four innings and 58 pitches. This is a man who will turn 38 in August. I can’t imagine he’ll be exceeding the 80-pitch plateau on Wednesday morning, which obviously limits the upside of the counting statistics that he can produce.

Speaking of father time, we also have to acknowledge that we’re probably past the point of prime Yu Darvish. The right-hander struggled to a 4.56 ERA in 2023 and, specific to this prop, posted a career-low swinging strike rate (10.7%). Meanwhile, Los Angeles finished in the lower-third of the league in team strikeout rate — as it always seems to do — and the lineup profiles even better in 2024 with the loss of J.D. Martinez and his 31.1% rate. Starting the season early is difficult enough. To have to do it against the Dodgers is downright cruel.

With all the hype surrounding the acquisition of Shohei Ohtani and Mookie Betts’ positional swap, it’s surprisingly easy to forget about Freeman, despite the fact he slashed .331/.410/.567 with a 163 wRC+ last season. There’s a case to be made that Freeman is the most consistently great hitter in all of baseball and I think his 2024 campaign will get off to yet another incredible start.

First and foremost, Freeman draws an opposite-hand matchup with a pitcher he’s seen quite a bit over the course of his career. In 31 at-bats versus Darvish, Freeman sports a .998 OPS, thanks mostly to three long balls and a pair of doubles off the RHP. It’s important to note that Darvish had his issues with left-handed bats in general in 2023, with LHBs combining for a .344 wOBA in his 24 outings. That isn’t just the result of an inflated walk rate within the split, either. Lefties slugged .457 off Darvish. By comparison, RHBs managed only a .376 mark.

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