This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Friday's KBO action featured quite a strong set of starting pitchers, but strong offensive performances weren't impossible to find. Three teams were held to one or fewer runs, but four teams scored at least eight. Chang Jin Lee led the way for the Tigers in their 11-6 victory over the Landers, reaching base five times and driving in four runs. Ben Lively and Dan Straily each allowed one run in six innings, but the Giants scored eight runs off Lions' relievers to win 9-3, with the team's bottom three hitters (Dong Hee Han, Jun Tae Kim and Jae Yu Kim) each scoring twice. Elsewhere, the Dinos got six strong innings from Drew Rucinski and five RBI from Aaron Altherr as they beat the Eagles 9-1, while Baek Ho Kang and Jae Gyun Hwang each scored twice in the Wiz's 8-4 win over the Heroes. In the lone true pitchers' duel of the day, Casey Kelly's six shutout innings helped the Twins past the Bears by a 1-0 score.
Saturday's DraftKings slate will be a four-game one, as the early game between the Tigers and Landers will not be included. The smaller pool does still offer a good variety of pitchers worth targeting and worth stacking against, however.
If the early returns are any indication, Andrew Suarez ($10,300) could be the signing of the offseason. Suarez has the tough task of replacing departed foreign starter Tyler Wilson, who posted a 3.40 ERA in his three years as a Twin, but he could hardly have gotten off to a better start. Through two outings, he's throwing 14 innings without giving up a single run, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out 18 batters. It's perhaps no surprise that the 28-year-old lefty has gotten off to a strong start, as his 4.66 ERA in 202.2 MLB innings was respectable enough and came with an even better 4.08 xFIP. He's quite expensive and faces a strong Bears lineup, but he'll do so in the league's most pitcher-friendly park and will get the platoon advantage as a southpaw against both Jose Fernandez and Jae Hwan Kim, two of the Bears' best bats.
Myung Gi Song ($8,000) may not quite have the track record to have the third-highest price tag on most slates, but a matchup against the lowly Eagles on a four-game slate means he's worth strong consideration here. He's interesting in his own right, too, though he's yet to fully establish himself, as he's still just 20 years old and has thrown less than 100 KBO innings. In 12 starts and 24 relief appearances as a swingman last season, he produced a 3.70 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. His numbers did understandably fall as a starter, though, with his strikeout rate dropping most notably from 25.7 to 16.7 percent. He's given up a mediocre four runs in 7.2 innings through his first two starts, though his 7:1 K:BB is encouraging.
In the cheaper end of the pool, Enderson Franco ($6,300) looks like the most appealing option. He doesn't have much of a stateside track record, as he's thrown just 5.1 MLB innings and owns a 5.43 ERA at the Triple-A level, but the Giants recruited him as their second foreign starter anyway, and the early returns have been encouraging enough. His 4.09 ERA is nothing special, but his first two starts have come against the Dinos and Heroes, whose lineups are much better than the Lions unit he'll face Saturday. Additionally, his underlying numbers look solid, as he's given up just four hits and has struck out 22.2 percent of the batters he's faced thus far.
The Heroes face a former MLB pitcher in Odrisamer Despaigne on Saturday, but he's far from unhittable, as his 4.33 ERA and 1.45 WHIP last season suggest. Jung Hoo Lee ($4,800) will get the platoon advantage against him and is the Hero to grab if you select just one. He's one of the best contact hitters in the league even at age 22, hitting .324 or better in each of his first four seasons. He's walked more than he's struck out in two straight campaigns and already has seven walks against four strikeouts this season. While he's yet to home this season, he managed 15 home runs last year, more than he hit over his first three campaigns combined. That power should continue to increase for several years, as he's still well shy of his prime.
Baek Ho Kang ($5,500) is a year younger than Lee at age 21 but is just as talented of a hitter. He's also yet to homer this season but averaged 21.7 over his first three years in the league. Even without hitting any balls over the fence this season, he's managed a 1.012 OPS, good for sixth among qualified hitters. He sits second in that group with a .415 batting average and second with a .500 on-base percentage, walking seven times to go with just six strikeouts. He'll get the platoon advantage against Heroes righty Woo Jin Ahn in this one, who's allowed eight runs in seven innings through two starts this season as he attempts to make the transition back to a starting role.
Stick with the Wiz, the switch-hitting Zoilo Almonte ($3,100) will also get the platoon advantage against Ahn, as he does against every pitcher. His price remains low, as he doesn't have any KBO experience prior to this season and hasn't lit the league on fire in his first 11 games, hitting .256/.333/.349. Still, that's not nearly a large enough sample to conclude that a player who's played at the MLB and NPB levels doesn't have what it takes to succeed in Korea. With a spot in the heart of the order for a lineup that ranks fourth in scoring so far this season, he represents a great value play.
While Myung Gi Song was mentioned above as a solid pitching option given the weakness of the Eagles' lineup, he's far from unhittable. If you don't include him yourself, Eun Won Jung ($3,400) is one of a very small number of Eagles worth considering. His lineup position (leadoff) and platoon advantage are the main reasons why he's interesting, though he's not a bad hitter despite what his .194 average through 11 games suggests. He controls the zone very well, walking as many times as he struck out last year and leading the league with 13 walks so far this season, helping him to a strong .444 on-base percentage. If the Eagles do manage to score some runs Saturday, Jung's on-base prowess out of the leadoff spot will likely be a key factor.
Stacks to Consider
This is a very straightforward one. The Dinos led the league in scoring at 6.2 runs per game last year and sit second at 5.9 runs per game this season, and they're facing a pitcher who looks pretty clearly like the weakest on the slate. Kim has looked fine thus far in four relief appearances, giving up one run in 5.2 innings while striking out five and walking two, but the Eagles would probably be happier if they could keep him in the bullpen. The 25-year-old owns a career 6.05 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in parts of seven seasons. His 5.24 ERA last season stands as a career best, and it came with a 1.76 WHIP and a 16.2 percent walk rate. It's tough to see him giving the Dinos much trouble here.
The biggest issue with any Dinos stack is that their hitters are simply too good to be affordable in large numbers. They again have the three most expensive hitters on the slate Saturday. I've included the two righties from that group this time around. Yang remains easily the best use of the catcher slot daily fantasy, as he's already leading all other backstops on the slate by over two DraftKings points per game. Even at age 33, he remains one of the best offensive players at any position, sitting fourth among qualified hitters with a 1.068 OPS so far this season. He hasn't finished below fourth in that category since 2017.
Altherr had an all-around strong first season in Korea last year, hitting .278/.352/.541 with 31 homers and 22 steals, all while playing center field. He's been on another level so far this year, hitting .349/.391/.814 with six homers and two steals in his first 11 games. No other player has more than four home runs, while only teammate Yang can match his 15 RBI. He's also primarily bat fifth (one spot behind Yang) after confusingly spending much of last year batting in the bottom third of the order.
Including Yang and Altherr makes for a very expensive stack, but Kang is cheap enough to make it somewhat manageable. He hasn't done a ton yet this year, hitting .237 with one homer, though that's baked into his price. He's also stolen a pair of bases. It he can get back the form that saw him break out to hit .309 last season after being nothing more than an occasional bench option in his first four years in the league, he'll be a bargain, though he won't have to do all that much to justify his price tag in this one.
The Giants' bats have been more expensive than usual in the past few days, but that makes sense given that many of them have been on a tear to start the season, vaulting the team up to first in scoring with 6.2 runs per game. That probably won't last, as the team finished sixth in that category last year and is quite old overall, but the righty-heavy unit should be in for a strong day against the left-handed Baek here. The 33-year-old has some decent seasons on his resume in the not too distant past, but he struggled to a 5.19 ERA last season while giving up 2.0 HR/9. He's given up a respectable four runs through nine innings so far this season, but the homer troubles are back, as he's already allowed three. His 6:7 K:BB hints that things may only get worse from here.
Jeon hasn't homered yet this season and has only two extra-base hits, yet he has a .982 OPS. His 18 hits tie him for the league lead and have helped him to a .409 batting average. He's seeing the ball incredibly well, walking 10 times (tied for second in the league) while striking out on just four occasions. The power should come around sooner or later, too, as he's averaged 27 homers over the last three seasons and is facing a pitcher who's had issues with the long ball recently.
Speaking of long balls, Lee has hit quite a few of those over his KBO career. His 334 homers rank sixth on the league's all-time leaderboard, and he'd be a good deal higher if he hadn't spent five seasons of his prime playing in Japan and the United States. Even at age 38, he still has plenty of pop, homering 20 times last season and twice already this year. He's also shown a knack for key hits, as he sits fourth in the league with 12 RBI (the best mark among non-Dinos), setting him up to push for his seventh 100-RBI season in his last eight KBO campaigns.
An comes a fair bit cheaper than his teammates listed above, but his early success is a key part of why the Giants surprisingly have the highest-scoring offense thus far. The leadoff man has done an excellent job setting the table, hitting .313 while tying Jeon for second in the league with 10 walks, helping him to a .433 on-base percentage. He's been a strong contact hitter throughout his career, hitting .298 overall and hitting over .300 five times.