This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Friday's KBO slate was full of unreliable pitchers, though the games didn't wind up that high-scoring, with four of the eight teams crossing the plate no more than twice. Jae Hak Lee was dominant out of nowhere, tossing a complete-game, one-hit shutout against a strong Bears lineup to improve his ERA to 5.09. Chan Heon Jeong rebounded from an awful stretch to throw a complete-game shutout of his own, though his came in only six innings as the Heroes' 2-0 win over the Lions was cut short by rain. On the offensive side, Jun Woo Jeon went 4-for-4 to help the Giants secure a 4-2 victory over the Twins, while Han Joon Yoo homered and reached base four times as the Wiz tied the Tigers, 7-7.
Six games will be played Saturday, though just four of those will be on DraftKings' slate, as neither half of the Heroes-Lions doubleheader will be included. Games begin at 4:00 a.m. ET.
Wilmer Font ($9,400) is likely to be on a slightly reduced pitch count in his first start back from a month-long absence due to an oblique injury, but he's been dominant enough when healthy this season that I'd be happy to select him nonetheless. He's gotten a ton of whiffs in his first season in Korea, as his 27.3 percent strikeout rate ranks second among pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings. That's not all he does, either, as only other other pitcher in the top 20 on that leaderboard can beat his 7.2 percent walk rate. That's a very sustainable path to success, so it would hardly be a surprise if he improves on his 3.56 ERA down the stretch. That should start Saturday, as Font has been good enough that a matchup against even the third-ranked Giants lineup isn't particularly worrisome.
Nick Kingham ($9,900) is even more expensive and has a tough matchup himself against the Wiz, though the league leaders' lineup has fallen to fourth in scoring after a bit of a slump. Kingham himself certainly isn't slumping, as he owns a 2.29 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over his last 10 starts, establishing himself as one of the best pitchers in Korea after disappointingly seeing his KBO season cut short by injury last year after just two outings. On the season as a whole, he's produced a 23.0 percent strikeout rate and a 6.4 percent walk rate, coming in significantly better than average in both categories.
For a cheaper option, consider Gi Yeong Im ($7,800). Im has been rather inconsistent this season, leading to a somewhat unusual statline. His 4.87 ERA isn't particularly good, but it comes with a solid 1.30 WHIP and a strong combination of a 19.3 percent strikeout rate and a 7.2 percent walk rate. He's been mostly good recently, posting a 3.97 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over his last six starts, though that followed a four-start stretch in which he struggled to a 10.80 ERA and 1.98 WHIP. He could slip back into that form at any time, but he offers more upside than the rest of the night's inexpensive arms. He has a tough matchup Saturday against the second-ranked Bears lineup, but he'll at least get to face them at pitcher-friendly Jamsil Baseball Stadium.
If the Tigers' lineup wasn't both very weak and very left-handed, they could have been on of the top stack recommendations here against Bears lefty Seung Yong Choi, who's thrown just 10 career KBO innings and owns a mediocre 4.50 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. Sun Bin Kim ($4,700) is the team's lone reliable right-handed bat and deserves consideration even if you can bring yourself to select any of his teammates. He doesn't hit for much power, as his five homers this season match his previous career high, but he's an excellent contact hitter. His 6.8 percent strikeout rate is fourth-best among qualified hitters and has helped him to a .307 average, a number which should rise here against Choi.
Aaron Altherr ($4,700) posted an excellent .897 OPS in his first season in Korea last year, but he fell off a bit from that standard for most of this season, posting a solid but less exciting .829 OPS through his first 116 games. Over his last 12 contests, however, he's been on fire, hitting .349/.451/.698 with four homers, four steals, 11 RBI and 11 runs scored. He now sits third in the league with 28 home runs, just three shy of the 31 he managed last season, a total which was good for eighth. He could add to that total Saturday, as he'll get the platoon advantage against Twins lefty Jun Hyeung Lim, an eighth-round pick in the 2019 draft who's making just his fourth career KBO appearance.
Sticking with the Dinos, Jin Sung Kang ($3,600) looks like a good option as a budget first baseman given that he'll get the platoon advantage against Lim. Kang barely played prior to last year but broke out to hit .309/.350/.463 in his age-26 season. He hasn't been able to keep that up this year, hitting a modest .266/.347/.377 overall, but he's shown enough lately to make him interesting again in the right matchup. Over his last nine games, he's hit .345/.441/.483. He's also bat second against two of the last three lefties the Dinos have faced and will be an even better value play if he bats there again Saturday.
Hernan Perez ($4,000) hasn't been the top-tier bat that many foreign hitters are at the KBO level, but he certainly hasn't been bad, hitting .299/.345/.457 through his first 48 games. While that line alone makes him seem like a perfectly fine option at his mid-tier price, especially at shortstop, he starts to look like a real steal when you dig in a bit more. His time in Korea can be divided neatly in half, as he recorded an unremarkable .703 OPS over his first 24 games in the country but owns a .900 OPS of his most recent 24 contests. It's not a stretch to think that he could continue to produce at a similar level going forward, so a matchup against Odrisamer Despaigne shouldn't scare you off him here, especially considering Despaigne has struck out just six batters in 19.2 innings across his last three starts.
Stacks to Consider
Teams are only allowed two foreign pitchers, so the expectation is that those pitchers will be among the best on the roster. That hasn't been the case with Franco, who pitched himself out of the rotation in late September after allowing 13 runs in 7.1 innings over his final two starts. He owned a 5.46 ERA and 1.48 WHIP at that point, and things haven't really gotten any better for him in relief. In seven appearances out of the bullpen, he owns an even worse 5.87 ERA and 1.83 WHIP. He'll be starting on short rest Saturday having just appeared out of the pen Wednesday, though he only threw 15 pitches, which may not cut into his workload too much. If he does wind up getting pulled early and replaced with long relievers, however, that certainly won't be bad for the Landers' bats. The stack featured here leads with the excellent veterans Choo and Jeong Choi, both of whom have posted an OPS north of 1.000 over their last 10 games, pairing them with inexpensive leadoff man Ji Hoon Choi.
Song's last two starts of September were awful, as he allowed a combined 13 runs on 18 hits in 8.2 innings, striking out six while walking four. His first two October outings look much better on the surface, as he's giving up just four runs on eight hits in 11.1 innings of work, but his 5:8 K:BB over that stretch suggests he hasn't really turned things around. On the season as a whole, he's struggled to a 6.04 ERA and 1.66 WHIP, and while his combination of a 17.6 percent strikeout rate and 10.0 percent walk rate is far from terrible, it's not particularly good either. We'll skip the expensive and slumping Chang Ki Hong ($4,900) here in favor of the next three lefties in the Twins' typical lineup, though better on a bounceback for Hong given the matchup isn't the worst idea if you have the budget space.