This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Tuesday's KBO slate saw four teams held to three runs or fewer while six teams crossed the played at least six times. The Wiz and Lions provided the highest-scoring contest, with the Wiz winning 9-6 thanks to a three-hit day by Baek-Ho Kang after Lions starter Ben Lively left with a shoulder injury against the first batter of the game. Jose Pirela grabbed three hits for the Lions, including a two-run homer, tying him for the league lead with 11. Elsewhere, the Giants lost to the Landers by a 7-6 score despite six innings of one-run ball from Dan Straily, with Jeong Choi hitting a pair of homers for the visitors. Meanwhile, Drew Rucinski's seven shutout innings helped the Dinos past the Eagles, 7-2, with Sung Bum Na and Sok Min Park both homering.
Wednesday's games look like an interesting set, featuring a pair of shaky foreign starters and a handful of interesting local arms.
Of the three foreign starters on the slate, Andrew Suarez ($10,100) is the only one who looks at all reliable. His high price is very much justified, especially against the last-ranked Tigers lineup. The lefty leads the league in strikeouts with 46, despite the fact that he's made just six starts while everyone else who has struck out at least 40 has made seven. His excellent 32.2 percent strikeout rate comes with a respectable 9.1 percent walk rate, helping him to a 1.49 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. He's allowed two or fewer runs in five of his six starts while striking out eight or more batters four times.
Young Pyo Ko ($8,100) didn't pitch in 2019 or 2020 due to mandatory military service, but he's shown no signs of rust this season. He's begun the year with six straight quality starts, giving him a very high floor. In his two seasons as a starter in 2017 and 2018, he recorded ERAs north of 5.00, but that was during the juiced ball era. He recorded a strikeout rate north of 20 percent and a walk rate no higher than four percent in both of those seasons. He's got a shot to do that this year as well, as he's combined a 19.6 percent strikeout rate with a 3.9 percent walk rate, helping him to a 3.65 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. The fifth-ranked Lions lineup shouldn't be too tough a test for the righty given how well he's started the year.
If you're looking for a cheap option, Min Hyeok Shin ($6,000) looks like the best bet. The 22-year-old has made just 10 career starts and 15 relief appearances, but he's looked very good when called upon this season. Across his three starts in 2021, he's allowed just two runs on 13 hits over 17.2 innings of work, striking out 18 while walking seven. He's a great bet to be worth his very low price tag against an Eagles lineup that's struggled as expected, sitting eighth in runs per game.
Baek Ho Kang ($5,200) has hit the ball so well this year that he's worth considering even against a lefty, especially a mediocre one like Lions southpaw Jung Hyun Baek, whose passable 4.35 ERA comes with a poor 1.52 WHIP. Kang is still hitting over .400 through 31 games, with his .403 average beating all other qualified hitters by at least 29 points. He's gone hitless just once in his last 22 games, homering three times while driving in 27 runs over that stretch. The excellent contact should continue, as he's a lifetime .324 hitter who's striking out just 10.1 percent of the time this year, and he should add to his three homers before too long, as he finished last year with 23.
Jeong Choi ($5,300) won't get the platoon advantage against Giants righty Enderson Franco, but I'm happy to use him anyway given his strong numbers and Franco's poor start to his time in Korea. Through six starts, he owns a 5.46 ERA and 19:15 K:BB. Choi has been particularly hot over his last two games, homering three times. On the season overall, he's tied for fourth with eight homers, a figure he's paired with a .916 OPS. He's on track to post an OPS north of .900 for the 12th straight season.
Sticking with the Landers, Yoo Seom Han ($3,700) will get the platoon advantage against Franco, elevating him from a decent mid-priced option to a strong one. He's not dominating this season, but his .265/.372/.412 slash line is perfectly respectable. The upside here comes from the fact that he has the potential to show far more power. He slugged over .600 twice during the league's juiced ball era in 2017 and 2018, homering 41 times in the latter season. Just last year, he homered 15 times in 62 games, the equivalent of 35 in a normal season.
Eun Won Jung ($4,000) may have a lefty-on-lefty matchup against Bears southpaw Ariel Miranda, but I'm comfortable considering the young second baseman here thanks in part to his minimal splits. He owns a career .705 OPS against righties and a .693 mark against lefties. He's been far better than either of those marks in his age-21 season this year, as his .274/.442/.340 line is good for a .782 OPS. The main reason I like him against Miranda is that he could well walk in each of his plate appearances. His 22.6 percent strikeout rate easily leads all qualified starters, while Miranda's 16.9 percent walk rate is the worst among all pitchers who have thrown at least 20 innings. Jung should be on base all day Wednesday and should have a chance to score multiple runs.
Stacks to Consider
The rookie righty (who's incorrectly listed as a lefty on DraftKings as of writing) isn't a particularly high-potential option, as he was selected with just the 42nd-overall pick in the most recent draft. Through Bae's first 11.2 KBO innings (one start and three relief appearances), his 3.86 ERA and 1.37 WHIP look perfectly acceptable, but a closer look paints him in a very different light. He's struck out just 3.9 percent of opposing batters while walking 15.7 percent. A .179 BABIP clearly deserves a lot of credit for his respectable ERA, but that should rise quite a bit against the league's best lineup here.
The stack featured here skips Aaron Altherr for budget reasons, though he's certainly worth a look if you can fit him in. Yang has reclaimed his spot as the highest-scoring catcher per DraftKings points per game and sits tied for ninth among all hitters thanks to his customarily excellent .340/.460/.610 slash line. Na went through a cold stretch in the second half of April but still sits second in RBI (33) and third in homers (10) to go with his .260/.351/.559 slash line. Park sits fourth in points per game yet is the only player in the top 11 who costs less than $5,000, let alone less than $4,000. The veteran owns an incredible 1.413 OPS in 16 games since returning from a hand injury.
Han finished last season with a 4.98 ERA, but there were some fairly encouraging signs in his underlying numbers, as his pairing of an 18.6 percent strikeout rate and 6.3 percent walk rate was actually quite good. This season, rather than his ERA improving to meet his peripherals, his peripherals have worsened to match his ERA. His strikeout rate has dropped to 13.0 percent while his walk rate has jumped to 9.8 percent, leading to a 5.06 ERA, a number which could be even worse if not for his .261 BABIP.
The stack listed here is a fairly expensive one but features a trio of players with long track records of success. Kim's role as the cleanup hitter in one of the league's strongest lineups helped him finish tied for fifth with 113 RBI last year and has helped him jump out to an early lead with 36 this season, a number he's paired with a 1.017 OPS. Fernandez's profile skews towards contact, but he's nearly unmatched in that regard. Since he joined the KBO in 2019, he's grabbed 437 hits, a number only one player (Jung Hoo Lee) has gotten within 50 of. Park isn't quite at the same level as that pair, though he's not far behind, as his .910 OPS represents his best mark since 2017.