This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Tuesday's KBO action saw a wide spread of scores, ranging from the Landers' 2-1 win over the Eagles to the Giants' 10-5 victory over the defending-champion Dinos. Ryan Carpenter and Jong Hun Park provided two of the best pitching performances of the day in the former game, with Carpenter striking out nine over 5.1 innings while allowing a run on three hits while Park struck out five over seven frames, allowing one run on just two hits. The Twins' Andrew Suarez outdid them both in his KBO debut, however, striking out nine Wiz hitters over six scoreless frames while allowing just a single hit. On the offensive side, veteran slugger Dae Ho Lee had the most impressive day, going 3-for-5 with a grand slam and five RBI in the Giants' win. Sun Bin Kim reached base four times as the Tigers knocked off the Heroes by a 5-4 score in extra innings.
Wednesday's slate, which should again feature clear skies across the league, brings an interesting mix of pitching options. Three former MLB arms will be making their KBO debuts, but there will be plenty of pitchers to target for potential stacks with teams moving towards the middle and back of their rotations.
The new foreign pitchers are suddenly more fairly priced on this slate after coming in confusingly cheap in the first few contests of the year, but Wilmer Font ($8,500) still looks quite interesting despite beyond the most costly of Wednesday's trio of debutants. Font generated a bit of hype in 2017 after posting a 32.1 percent strikeout rate and 6.3 percent walk rate at the Triple-A level, but he hasn't shown much in 151.2 career MLB innings. He owns a 5.82 ERA and 1.48 WHIP, though his 22.3 percent strikeout rate and 9.5 percent walk rate are at least both close to league average. There's enough here to think he could potentially be one of the better starters in Korea, though he doesn't have to be all that good to be worth a look in his first start against an Eagles lineup which ranked last in the league in 2020.
Sticking with new foreign arms, Ariel Miranda ($7,300) is an interesting and affordable option, especially given that he gets to face a fairly weak Lions lineup. The 32-year-old lefty threw 223 innings at the MLB level for the Orioles and Mariners from 2016 to 2018. His 4.72 ERA was respectable enough, though his 19.9 percent strikeout rate was unimpressive and his 31.7 percent groundball rate was worryingly low, leading to him allowing 2.0 HR/9. Since his last major-league experience, Miranda has gone on a tour of Asia, playing in both Japan and Taiwan before heading to Korea this winter. His 3.80 ERA for the CTBC Brothers in Taiwan last season doesn't look great on the surface considering that the CPBL in Taiwan is a step below the KBO, but it's much better than it looks considering that the CPBL had a league ERA of 5.27 last season.
Young Pyo Ko ($6,700) looks like the cheapest option worth considering on this slate. A matchup against a strong Twins lineup which ranked fourth in scoring last season, isn't ideal, but there's more here than you might expect for a pitcher with a career 5.26 ERA. The entirety of Ko's career came during the KBO's juiced-ball era, as he missed the last two seasons due to South Korea's mandatory military service. While his ERA never finished below 5.00, he can blame BABIPs over .357 and .367 in his two years as a starter for some of his struggles. In those two seasons combined, he struck out a strong 21.0 percent of opposing batters while walking just 3.3 percent. What exactly he'll offer in his first start following a long absence is a mystery, but he's at least an interesting lottery ticket.
Sung Bum Na ($6,000) doesn't come cheap, but if you're ever going to pay up for arguably the biggest bat in the KBO, this seems like a good time to do it, as he'll get the platoon advantage against Giants righty Se Woong Park, who struggled to a 4.70 ERA and 1.52 WHIP last season. Na has posted an OPS of .885 or better in seven straight seasons, hitting .324/.390/.596 with 34 homers, 115 runs and 112 RBI last season. He's gotten off on the right foot this year, going 3-for-7 with a homer in his first two games.
Jose Fernandez ($5,900) is another expensive bat who's nearly always worth considering. He's one of the league's best contact hitters, hitting .344 in his KBO debut in 2019 and following that up with a .340 average last season. He has a respectable amount of power as well, hitting 15 homers in 2019 and 21 last year. He'll have a friendly matchup Wednesday, as he'll get the platoon advantage against Lions righty Tae In Won, who posted an unimpressive 4.89 ERA and 1.56 WHIP last season.
First base is a very deep position in the KBO, as every team has a designated hitter who's usually eligible at the spot. Dae Ho Lee ($3,700) typically finds himself as among the cheapest of the stronger options, and that's true again on this slate. While the 38-year-old isn't the hitter he was at his peak, he's still a very useful player. He hit .292 with 20 homers and 110 RBI last season and has already homered and driven in six runs in his first two games of this year. He'll face Dinos righty Jae Hak Lee, who struggled to a 6.55 ERA last year.
While Young Pyo Ko was mentioned as a potentially interesting cheap option above, you shouldn't be afraid to select Twins hitters against him if you aren't including him in your lineup yourself. Chang Gi Hong ($3,100), who has been leading off for the team this season, looks like good value here. He doesn't have much power, homering just five times last season, but he's a great table-setter thanks to his excellent eye. He walked at a 16.4 percent clip last season, helping him to a .411 on-base percentage and giving the Twins' big bats like Hyun Soo Kim and Roberto Ramos plenty of chances to drive him in.
Stacks to Consider
If Kim wasn't the worst starter in the entire league last year, he was quite close. His 6.82 ERA ranked second-worst among pitchers who threw at least 60 innings, while his 1.84 WHIP ranked worst. He was one of just two pitchers who met that threshold to walk more batters than he struck out, combining a 14.1 percent walk rate with a 13.1 percent strikeout rate. He did the same thing in his 38-inning debut in 2019, striking out 15 while walking 21. While he's just 20 years old and could certainly improve in the future, there's nothing on his resume at the moment that suggests he can keep any set of bats quiet, including a Landers lineup that ranked second-last in scoring last season.
Jeong Choi is one of the best hitters in KBO history. His 370 homers rank second on the league's all-time leaderboard, and he's just 34 years old, so he'll have plenty of time to add to that number. He's shown no signs of slowing down in his 30s, averaging 32.3 homers over the last three seasons and finishing tied for fourth with 33 last year. He's already added two to his ledger this season and should have a good shot to add another against Kim.
Joo Hwan Choi came over in free agency, signing a four-year deal after spending the first 13 years of his career with the Bears. He'll be a key piece as the Landers try to return to winning ways following a very disappointing 2020 campaign. He's certainly gotten off to a hot start for his new team, jumping out to the league lead with three homers. He probably won't lead the league in that category for too much longer, as his respectable total of 16 last year represented the second-highest mark of his career, but he's a strong all-around hitter who slashed .306/.366/.473 last season and will get the platoon advantage against Kim.
DraftKings' pricing algorithm appears to be only looking at KBO stats, which explains why Choo is so cheap despite his 16-year MLB track record. The 38-year-old's numbers did understandably slip last season, as his .236/.323/.400 slash line last season was good for a modest 97 wRC+, marking the first time he finished below 100 in that mark since 2007. Still, there's little reason to doubt that he'll have plenty to offer his first KBO club. He doesn't have to offer much to be worth his bargain price, so be sure to take advantage as often as possible until he starts costing a more reasonable amount.
The Tigers' righty is the second-best Hyun Soo Kim in the KBO by a wide margin. Unlike the Twins star and former Baltimore Oriole and Philadelphia Phillie, this Kim is a fringe player at best. He looked very overmatched in four starts and 11 relief appearances last season, finishing with a 7.24 ERA and 2.23 WHIP. His underlying numbers don't tell any more optimistic of a story, as he posted an 11.4 percent strikeout rate and an 18.6 percent walk rate. He could certainly make a jump in his age-20 season, but the Tigers could be in trouble if he's their third starter all year.
The Heroes' lineup lost a very key piece over the offseason when Ha Seong Kim left for the San Diego Padres, but the team's future is in very capable hands with Jung Hoo Lee. An elite contact hitter who burst onto the scene hitting .324 as an 18-year-old rookie back in 2017, Lee added a bit of power last year, with his 15 homers eclipsing the total of 14 he managed in his first three seasons. He also led the league with 49 doubles and tied for seventh with five triples. He didn't sacrifice any contact to get to that power, hitting .333 while walking 12 more times than he struck out.
Veteran Yong Kyu Lee led the anemic Eagles offense last season, getting on base at a .381 clip but finishing merely tied for 30th with 73 runs due to his teammates' inability to drive him in. He should score far more frequently while leading off for a much strong Heroes' lineup this season, making him a potential bargain. He offers next to no power, slugging .369 for his career and homering just two times in the last three seasons, but he makes good contact and walked in 12.1 percent of his plate appearances last season. With the platoon advantage against possibly the weakest starter on the slate, he's very much worth his low price tag here.
Freitas is one of several new KBO players who are very mispriced due to DraftKings' algorithm seemingly ignoring non-KBO stats. Freitas was far from an elite bat during his three-year MLB career, hitting just .200/.268/.288 in 59 games at the highest level, but anyone with any MLB experience should be considered a potential star until they prove that they aren't. Freitas certainly hasn't done that so far, going 4-for-12 with three RBI in his first three games. He'd be even more exciting if he was correctly labeled as a catcher, but he's still a great value at second base or shortstop.