This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
The KBO continues to roll along following its extended mid-season break, with Thursday bringing us another five-game slate. There are multiple former MLB arms on the schedule, with one of them particularly targetable. There are also a couple of very proficient ex-MLB bats that have been struggling since play resumed, which makes them especially interesting as tournament options.
As customary, I'll highlight what I consider to be two of the safer pitching options at different price points, followed by some one-off hitters across the salary scale that could also prove profitable for cash games and/or tournaments. I'll then recommend two stacks that I trust the most to potentially string some above-average offensive numbers together and pay off for you in tournaments.
David Buchanan ($9,500) has double-digit DK-point tallies in seven straight starts, and he's averaging 20.0 DK points per start for the season. The right-hander has put up 18.4 DK points per road start specifically, along with a .228 BAA across 29 innings. He's also dominated Hanwha bats in two encounters, holding the Eagles scoreless over 16 innings on his way to an average of 41.4 DK points across that pair of starts. Finally, consider the Eagles continue to be the meekest offense in the KBO, averaging a league-low 3.9 runs and 7.5 hits per game while mustering a league-worst .233 team average.
Won Joon Choi ($8,300) has had a rough go of it the last pair of starts, as he's pitched to a 9.39 ERA and 2.09 WHIP across 7.2 innings against the tough lineups of the Dinos and Heroes. However, Choi was brilliant for an extended stretch prior to that pair of stumbles, posting a 4-0 record, 2.03 ERA and 0.2 HR/9 in his previous eight starts. He draws a favorable matchup Thursday as well, as the opposing Tigers are averaging the second-fewest runs (4.1) and third-fewest hits (8.4) while also hitting the fewest home runs (35). Choi has also been at his best at home, where he boasts a 3-1 record, 2.68 ERA and .235 BAA across seven starts.
Jose Pirela ($6.600) has been cold at the plate since KBO play resumed, as he's hit just .192 over the first eight games back. Nevertheless, the former MLBer remains an excellent tournament play due to his upside, one that's helped him generate 10.4 DK points per game on the strength of 21 homers, 72 RBI and a .906 OPS across 87 contests. Hanwha starter Ki Joong Kim makes for a great target as well, considering his 0-3 record, 5.63 ERA and 2.00 WHIP across eight appearances (five starts).
Jae Gyun Hwang ($5,300) is averaging 9.3 DK points per game by virtue of a .319 average and .865 OPS, as well as a .351 average with runners in scoring position. Hwang has also been excellent at home and against LG pitching, posting a .388 average, 1.014 OPS and 10.8 DK points across 30 home games in the former split, and .351, .847 and 9.9 figures in those respective categories in the latter. Twins starter Chan Kyu Im is also targetable, as evidenced by his 1-4 record, 6.09 ERA and 1.65 WHIP, and his particularly ugly 9.26 ERA, 2.06 WHIP and .293 BAA in 11.2 road innings.
Aaron Altherr ($4,700) has seen a salary drop due to a cold streak at the plate, as he's hitting an abysmal .042 over his first seven games since KBO play resumed. That makes him a very good tournament play Thursday against fellow former MLBer Sam Gaviglio, who's pitched to an 0-2 record, 8.79 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in his first three starts of the season. Altherr has been at his best on the road, where he's posted a .275 average, .864 OPS and average of 8.3 DK points per contest. What's more, he's been a very good performer against SSG pitching, averaging 11.6 DK points on the back of a .946 OPS over nine games.
Chi Hong An ($3,800) continues to carry a sub-$4K salary on many nights despite the fact he sports a .306 average, .817 OPS and 8.1 DK points per game in 64 contests. An has also been a terror versus Heroes pitching with a .407 average, 1.108 OPS and average of 9.6 DK points in nine games, and he carries an absolutely elite .418 average with runners in scoring position across 63 games.
Byung Ho Park ($2,800) has seen a significant drop in salary, making him very worthy of consideration as a "free square" type of play Thursday for tournaments. The veteran still has plenty of pop in his bat, as evidenced by his 13 doubles and 12 homers in 66 games. Park does still strike out plenty, hence the risk in rostering him; however, when he hits, he tends to hit big, with his tallies of 19 and 16 DK points within his last five games serving as a reminder.
Stacks to Consider
Kim's weaknesses were discussed earlier in Pirela's entry, and it's also worth noting the Lions are averaging an impressive 5.1 runs and 9.2 hits per game while also generating a .272 team batting average.
Koo is averaging an impressive 10.2 DK points per game and has battered Hanwha pitchers for a .378 average, 1.153 OPS and 12.9 DK points per game in 10 contests. Koo is also running hot coming into Thursday, having put up 11.1 DK points per contest in his last 10 games.
Pirela's many attributes were already discussed earlier, while Oh checks in with a .272 average, .848 OPS and 24 XBH. He's also been very good against Eagles pitching, posting a .318 average and .919 OPS in seven contests.
Lee makes for a good cost-effective way of rounding out the stack, as he's yet another Samsung bat that's given Eagles pitching a difficult time. Lee owns a .375 average, 1.050 OPS and average of 8.8 DK points in eight games against Hanwha, and he's been a good clutch hitter with a .310 average with runners in scoring position.
Gaviglio's poor start to the season was already covered in Altherr's entry, and the Dinos check in with a KBO-high 5.4 runs per game and 108 homers, along with an impressive .272 team batting average.
Na has an impressive .289/.356/.532 slash line that's partly constituted of 18 doubles, one triple, 20 home runs and 59 RBI, and he's hit Landers pitching hard this season. The veteran has a .300 average and .914 OPS over nine games against SSG, averaging 11 DK points per contest in that split. He's also running hot at the plate, furnishing a .333 average, 1.196 OPS and 11.7 DK points in his last 10 games.
Yang's MVP-caliber season now features a .356/.451/.659 slash line and average of 10.8 DK points. The slugging backstop has been as hot as ever in his last 10 games as well, a span during which he owns a .378/.405/.568 line with two homers and eight RBI in his last 10 games.
Altherr's case was made earlier in his entry, while Kang makes for a great salary-saving option to round out your stack with. The veteran has a .765 OPS and a .319 average with runners in scoring position, very good numbers relative to his salary. Kang has been a far better hitter on the road as well (.305 average, .839 OPS), and he's tormented SSG pitching for a .391 average, 1.310 OPS and average of 11 DK points per contest over seven games.