This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Rain washed out the Eagles-Giants game Thursday, leaving us with a four-game KBO slate. The day was full of excellent pitching performances, with five teams scoring no more than one run. Odrisamer Despaigne and Chan Heon Jung combined to throw 13 scoreless innings (with Jung allowing just a single hit in his six frames), with Jung's Heroes scoring a late run to secure a 1-0 victory. Min Ho Lee tossed five shutout innings while Hyung Jong Lee went 3-for-3 with a walk as the Twins defeated the Dinos, 5-0, while Sam Gaviglio threw seven scoreless innings of his own and the heart of the Landers' order combined for four homers in the team's 10-1 blowout win over the Bears. In the fourth and final game, Tae In Won threw seven innings of one-run ball as Jose Pirela and Ja Wook Koo both homered as the visiting Lions toppled the Tigers, 5-1.
The Eagles and Giants will play a doubleheader Friday, but neither game will be included on DraftKings' slate. We're left with just four games, but we should at least get to see all four go forward, as clear skies are in the forecast as of writing.
We're spoiled for choice at the top of the pitcher pool on Friday's slate, but we may as well start with Casey Kelly ($7,600), the cheapest of the five former major leaguers throwing in these four games. The veteran righty is having a strong season, with his 3.19 ERA ranking 12th among qualified starters and his 1.19 WHIP ranking seventh. That's nothing new for Kelly, whose 2.99 ERA and 1.16 WHIP since he joined the league back in 2019 rank second and third, respectively, among pitchers who have thrown at least 300 innings. It looked like he might be in for a merely good season this year in the first half, as he finished with a 3.56 ERA and a low 6.1 K/9, but he's been much better in four second-half starts, posting a 2.00 ERA while striking out a batter per inning. He has an easy enough matchup Friday against a Dinos lineup that has scored just four runs per game in the second half after losing four everyday players to health-protocol violations.
Wilmer Font ($8,600) has scored the most points per game among Friday's pitchers yet has merely the third-highest price tag. While his 3.80 ERA is merely the fourth-best mark on the slate, there's a case to be made that he deserves a better mark. His 27.6 percent strikeout rate ranks second among qualified starters, while his 7.0 percent strikeout rate ranks fifth, helping him to a league-leading 1.05 WHIP. There's potentially some here here in that he struggled to a 6.60 ERA in his first three starts after the break, though even that mark came with a 15:4 K:BB. He righted the ship his last time out against the Tigers, allowing just one run on two hits in six innings. He'll face a decent but hardly dominant Bears lineup Friday, a unit which ranks fourth in runs per game.
William Cuevas ($9,300) wasn't anything special last season, finishing the year with a 4.10 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. He took a significant step back early this year and looked to be on the verge of getting released after struggling to a 6.40 ERA and 1.77 WHIP over his first 10 starts. Something finally clicked in late June, however, as he went on to allow just two runs on 13 hits in 25.2 innings over his next four outings, striking out 26 batters while walking just six. Unfortunately, that run was cut short after just one second-half start, as he left the team due to the death of his father. That means there's some risk involved in betting on him to repeat that sort of performance here against the seventh-ranked Heroes lineup, but it's hard to ignore how dominant he's been lately.
Any lineup but the Tigers likely would have been a top stack recommendation against Lions southpaw Chae Heung Choi and his 5.81 ERA, but the Tigers have very few reliable hitters, and most of their best options bat from the left side. Sun Bin Kim ($4,600) stands out as the lone Tigers righty who's done much of anything this season, as no other right-handed bat on the team is averaging even six DraftKings points per game. Kim isn't anything special at the plate, as he's only homered three times all season, but his .293/.381/.393 slash line is perfectly fine, especially at shortstop. He should be able to maintain a high average, as he's striking out a miniscule 6.9 percent of the time. Given his position and matchup, he's a strong option on this short slate.
Joo Hwan Choi ($4,200) has been an excellent acquisition for the Landers this season, who signed him as a free agent over the winter after he spent 13 years as a Bear. Injuries have limited him to just 70 games, but he's already homered 15 times, just one shy of the 16 he managed in twice that many games last season. He dealt with a hamstring issue at the start of the second half, but he sure looks healthy now, as he's hit .435 with five homers in seven games since returning to the lineup. All five of those homers have come in his last four games, including a pair of two-homer nights. He'll face his former team again Friday and will get the platoon advantage against Walker Lockett, who started the season brilliantly before stumbling to a 6.86 ERA in his last four outings.
We'll stick with the Landers here and place another bet against Lockett returning to form. Yoo Seom Han ($3,900) has consistently been one of my favorite mid-price outfielders, and he's shown why over his last three games, going 5-for-9 at the plate with two homers and six RBI. He's now homered six times in his last 13 games, giving him 20 for the season. Power is his calling card, as he's hitting a modest .261 this season and hasn't finished with an average north of .265 since 2018, though he could improve in that category down the stretch if his .276 BABIP rises. Given his modest price, however, his power alone is already enough to justify investment.
If you don't buy into William Cuevas' bounceback or think that his brief layoff will halt his hot streak, selecting a Hero or two seems like a good idea. Yong Kyu Lee ($2,700) offers a cost-effective way to grab a piece of the team's offense if Cuevas' recent form makes you wary of a larger investment. The leadoff man's primary value comes from his lineup spot, which should help him be in the middle of whatever the Heroes manage off Cuevas. He's a great fit for the role, as he has almost zero power, hitting a total of two homers in the last four seasons, but has excellent plate discipline. He's walked 14.0 percent of the time while striking out in just 9.4 percent of his plate appearances, leading to a .280 batting average and .382 on-base percentage.
Stacks to Consider
The Lions get a lot less exciting when they're not playing at their home park, the most hitter-friendly venue in the league, but even unexciting offenses are worth stacking against a pitcher like Kim. The 21-year-old righty owns a 7.18 ERA on the season, and every bit of it looks deserved. He's struggled to a 1.76 WHIP, striking out 11.5 percent of opposing batters while walking 14.2 percent. Those latter numbers are at least slightly better than what he showed last season, when he finished with an 11.4 percent strikeout rate and an 18.6 percent walk rate. Since joining the rotation at the start of the second half, he's walked nine batters while striking out just five in three starts. The stack featured here skips the expensive Jose Pirela ($5,900) in favor of the Lions' number three through five hitters, though he's certainly a worthy inclusion if you have the budget space.
Song should eventually be a productive member of the Dinos' rotation. The 2019 seventh-overall pick posted a 3.70 ERA in 87.2 innings as a swingman last season, a number he backed up with a 1.33 WHIP and a respectable combination of an 18.3 percent strikeout rate and 9.9 percent walk rate. He's exclusively pitched as a starter this season and with very poor results, posting a 6.04 ERA over 14 outings and a 6.92 ERA over his last 10. There's undoubtedly been some bad luck here, as his .365 BABIP is nearly 100 points worse than his .268 mark from last year, while his 18.9 percent strikeout rate and 9.0 percent walk rate are both near matches for last year's marks. On another day, those underlying numbers would be enough to keep him from being one of the most appealing stack targets, but he's nonetheless near the bottom of this very deep group of starters. The stack listed here features an inexpensive trio of lefties who should bat near the middle of the Twins' order.