This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Thursday's KBO action featured one rainout and not a lot of runs, with the eight teams who were able to play combining to cross the plate just 22 times. Jin Sung Kang led the way offensively, going 3-for-4 with a homer in the Dinos' 6-0 win over the twins, while Jose Pirela went 2-for-4 with a home run in the Lions' 4-2 win over the Tigers. Good pitching was far easier to find, with Hyun Hee Han throwing five shutout innings, David Buchanan throwing 6.1 and Drew Rucinski throwing seven.
Rain unfortunately seems to be a factor again Friday, particularly in the southern part of the country. The Dinos-Lions game in Daegu and the Tigers-Giants game in Busan appear to be most threatened as of writing. Both could still be played, with the former looking like it has a better chance of going forward, but it's probably smart to avoid both games if you can't check the weather in the middle of the night.
Andrew Suarez ($10,900) will likely be in tons of lineups Friday, but given how he towers over the rest of the pitcher pool in what could be just a three-game slate, it will be very difficult to avoid joining the crowd. Suarez is making a strong case as the signing of the offseason, as he had immediate success after coming overseas and hasn't slowed down. Through his first 11 starts in Korea, the former San Francisco Giant owns a 1.99 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, numbers he's backed up with a 25.8 percent strikeout rate, the fourth-best mark among qualified starters. He leads all pitchers in the league in DraftKings points per game and has nearly 10 more than anyone else on this slate, so his lofty price could hardly be more justified. He'll face a strong Bears lineup that ranks third in runs per game, but he'll at least get to do so at pitcher-friendly Jamsil Baseball Stadium.
Hyeong Jun So ($8,500) hasn't come close to repeating his Rookie of the Year performance from last season, but he still stands out as one of the best options in a very shallow pool of pitchers. After cruising to a 3.86 ERA last season, he owns a 4.93 ERA this year, thanks in large part to a walk rate which has spiked from 7.4 percent to 12.3 percent. He's shown more strikeout upside, however, with his strikeout rate jumping from 15.2 percent to 18.6 percent. He's also seemingly figuring things out after a poor stretch to open the season, posting a 2.00 ERA in his last three starts after struggling to a 6.83 ERA over his first six outings. That's enough to make him one of Friday's top pitching options, especially against the ninth-ranked Eagles lineup.
Won Seok Oh ($6,500) is far from a reliable, proven arm, but there's much more to like here than there is for most of the day's cheaper options. The 20-year-old lefty has made seven starts and seven relief appearances in his second KBO campaign, posting a mediocre 4.50 ERA. That comes with a 1.59 WHIP, due at least in part to a 13.1 percent walk rate, but he's also striking out 19.7 percent of opposing batters. He's allowed no more than one earned run in each of his last four appearances, posting a 1.33 ERA over that stretch. He'll face a decent Heroes lineup which ranks sixth in scoring this season, but the unit skews heavily left-handed at the top of the order, which should help the young southpaw.
The Dinos-Lions game looks like it has at least a decent chance of going forward, and if it does, both lineups will look very interesting at the league's most hitter-friendly park. Eui Ji Yang ($5,500) is perhaps the top option, which hardly comes as a surprise given the extent to which he towers over the rest of the catcher pool, recording 2.6 more DraftKings points per game than anyone else who's eligible at the position. He'd be a strong choice at any position, as his 1.076 OPS trails only Baek Ho Kang among qualified hitters, giving him a great chance at his fourth straight season with a quadruple-digit OPS, a remarkable feat for a 34-year-old catcher. He'll get the platoon advantage Friday against lefty Chae Heung Choi, who looked good last year but owns a 7.82 ERA and 1.93 WHIP in five starts this season after missing the beginning of the year with an abdominal injury.
While Won Seok Oh is an interesting budget option as discussed above, he's by no means a strong enough pitcher that he should scare you off the Heroes' best bats should you elect not to look his way. Many of the team's top hitters bat left-handed, leaving right-handed first baseman Byung Ho Park ($4,500) as one of the most attractive options. The cleanup hitter isn't having a great season, hitting .221 with a 28.8 percent strikeout rate and even getting demoted for two weeks early in the year, but he still has power, homering eight times in 43 games. He's also been hitting much better over his last seven games, homering three times and driving in nine runs while posting a .296/.387/.667 slash line.
Canadian slugger Jamie Romak ($4,000) is far too affordable for a player with his track record at the KBO level. He's a lifetime .280/.380/.547 hitter in his five seasons in Korea and averaged 33.8 homers over his previous four campaigns. While his batting average has dipped to .253 this season, he can blame a .246 BABIP for that. He can still knock the ball out of the park as well as anyone in the league, as his four homers thus far in June place him one shy of the league lead with 13 on the year, putting him on pace to finish with 36. He'll face Won Tae Choi on Friday, who isn't nearly as intimidating as his 3.19 ERA suggests, as he's struck out just 14.6 percent of opposing batters and owns a mediocre 1.42 WHIP.
Those who are able to set their lineups at the last minute will be at a big advantage if the Tigers-Giants game is able to go forward, as both pitchers look very much worth targeting. Hyoung Woo Choi ($3,900) is arguably the most interesting bat in either lineup. He certainly hasn't been good this season, hitting just .195/.371/.331, though a .202 BABIP accounts for a fair portion of his struggles. He won the batting title last season while posting an excellent .354/.438/.590 slash line, and though he may be in the twilight of his career at age 37, regression isn't supposed to hit nearly this hard. He's shown some signs of life this week, reaching base six times in his last three games, and that trend should continue if he gets to face Giants righty Kyung Eun Noh on Friday, who owns a 7.92 ERA and 1.99 WHIP while walking more batters than he's struck out through seven starts.
Stacks to Consider
Kim did somehow manage to limit the Dinos to one run in four innings in his KBO debut his last time out, but it's tough to see him repeating that kind of performance. The 18-year-old southpaw does have potential, as he was selected second-overall in the most recent draft, but he's spent most of the season struggling at the Futures League level. In five starts, he owns a 5.70 ERA, a number which looks better than he deserved given his 2.24 WHIP. Opposing batters hit .352 against him at that level, while he walked them at a 12.9 percent clip. He looks like easily the most exploitable option Friday even if he did somehow manage a competent outing in his KBO debut.
The stack listed here features the Wiz's likely third through fifth hitters. Kang has been so good this season that I have no problem looking his way against weaker southpaws, especially as his career batting average (.328) is identical against both righties and lefties. He's hit a far better .407 this season, leading all qualified hitters in that category as well as in on-base percentage (.485) while ranking third in slugging (.583). Almonte's season-long numbers fall short of the high expectations placed on foreign hitters, but he's turned things around dramatically over his last 11 games. He's hit .425/.500/.575 over that stretch after posting a mediocre .263/.324/.378 line in his first 41 games in Korea. Yoo is included here mostly to keep the stack affordable, as he's far too cheap for a player who bats in the heart of one of the league's best lineups. His .280/.395/.364 season slash line isn't anything special but would be more than enough to justify his near-minimum price even without Kang and Almonte hitting in front of him.
Park is a 26-year-old with just 43.2 career innings under his belt in a league in which the top talents often establish themselves while still in their teens, offering the first sign that there's not much here to get excited about despite his respectable 4.11 ERA. After going undrafted in 2013, he made just three relief appearances prior to his age-25 season last year, when he was called upon to make six starts and a pair of relief appearances. He failed to impress, posting a 5.54 ERA and 1.69 WHIP. This year, he's pitched exclusively out of the bullpen, where his decent ERA through 15.1 innings comes with a very low 9.1 percent strikeout rate. He's also pitched seven times at the Futures League level, recording an unimpressive 5.19 ERA. He's only recorded more than seven outs once this season between the two levels, and that came all the way back in April, so he'll likely turn things over to the Bears' long relievers fairly early Friday.
We'll lead things off with the Twins' top lefties here, a group which doesn't include Roberto Ramos, who's struggled all year and is now out with a back injury. Kim, the only Twins hitter with MLB experience, is perfectly capable of leading a lineup on his own, as his .316/.405/.489 line suggests. Hong had received just 56 plate appearances at the KBO level prior to last season, but he broke out in his age-26 campaign to hit .279/.411/.417. He's been even better this year, posting a .316/.463/.416 slash line while walking 44 times to go with just 29 strikeouts. Chae won't get the platoon advantage against Park but is a strong option nonetheless. The cleanup man trails only Kim among Twins regulars with his .883 OPS and has been particularly hot over his last 11 games, hitting .421/.511/.605.