This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Thursday's KBO slate had everything from a shutout to a shootout. 21-year-old righty Tae In Won continued his breakout season, striking out eight in seven scoreless innings to outduel Odrisamer Despaigne as the Lions extended their lead atop the standings to 2.5 games with a 4-0 win. Slightly further north in Seoul, the Heroes scored 12 runs in the first four innings and then withstood a charge by the Bears to finish as 14-13 victories. Premium fantasy options were available all over both lineups, with Ji Young Lee, Byeong Woo Jeon and Jose Fernandez all grabbing three hits and five RBI. Elsewhere, Young Kyu Kim and Nick Kingham combined to allow just two earned runs in 11.1 innings, with Kim's Dinos eventually emerging as 4-2 victors.
Friday's slate is short on true top-tier pitching but very deep in decent enough arms, with the majority of the pitchers looking to be at least worthy of consideration. Note that the Tigers-Dinos game takes place half an hour after the rest but is still part of DraftKings' slate.
David Buchanan ($9,500) was incredible in his final four starts of April, allowing just a single run while striking out 26 and walking just eight. Thus far in May, he's been considerably more pedestrian, though allowing three runs in each of his two starts thus far hardly signals that he's in big trouble. Combining the good with the mediocre still leads to a 2.27 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, numbers he's backed with a 24.4 percent strikeout rate and 8.5 percent walk rate. The strikeout rate is particularly interesting given that he struck out just 16.6 percent of opposing batters last year. He should justify his high price tag at pitcher-friendly Jamsil Baseball Stadium against a Twins lineup that's struggled to ninth in runs per game so far this year.
The best reason to not select Buchanan is probably because you'd rather select his opponent, Chan Heon Jung ($8,700) Outside of a four-run blip against the Tigers on April 20, Jung has been outstanding this season. In his other four starts, he's allowed a combined one earned run. Even with the poor outing factored in, he has a 1.61 ERA on the season. A .238 BABIP and 87.8 percent strand rate have helped him get to that number, but he'd still be a strong option even if he repeats his 3.51 ERA from last season. He'll get to enjoy the same pitcher-friendly park as Buchanan in this one and will face a Lions lineup that ranks fifth in scoring, though that's inflated by the team's hitter-friendly home park.
Among the budget options, Won Tae Choi ($6,900) looks like the most promising option, and not just because he gets to face the eight-ranked Eagles offense. The 24-year-old struggled to a 5.07 ERA while missing time due to a shoulder injury last season, but that doesn't represent who he's been for most of his career. His 3.48 ERA this season looks a lot like his 3.38 mark from 2019. He's never been an elite strikeout option, and his 14.3 percent strikeout rate this year does cap his upside, but he at least combines that with good control, as seen in his 7.1 percent walk rate. He's allowed a combined one run in his last two starts and should make it three strong outings in a row Friday against the Eagles.
Jeong Choi ($5,500) is one of the best hitters in KBO history, as his 377 homers rank second all time. At just 34 years old, he has plenty of time to make up the 90 homers that separate him from all-time leader Seung Yeop Lee. He's shown no signs of slowing down despite his age, as his nine homers tie him for third in the league. Four of those have come in his last four games, a stretch in which he's gone 7-for-12 at the plate with five walks. He should stay hot Friday against young Bears righty Been Gwak, who owns an 8:7 K:BB through two starts.
Preston Tucker ($4,900) had an awful start this season, hitting .187/.247/.240 over his first 17 games. A four-hit day on April 24 against the Lions marked the start of a dramatic turnaround, however, as he's since gone on to hit .410/.493/.623 over his last 16 games, striking out just six times. He still has just two homers on the season, but more should be coming soon, as he cleared the fence 32 times last season, tying him for sixth in the league. He'll get the platoon advantage Friday against Dinos righty Wes Parsons, whose mediocre 4.88 ERA through five KBO starts comes with a poor 1.75 WHIP.
Sticking with the Tigers, Tae Jin Kim ($3,000) will also get the platoon advantage against Parsons and is an affordable option with a good spot in the lineup, as he's hit fifth in four straight games. If you're sick of Three True Outcomes baseball, Kim is your guy. He's yet to homer in his 48 plate appearances this season and has just a single walk and three strikeouts, meaning he's put the ball into play 91.7 percent of the time. Things have generally gone well for him, as he's grabbed at least one hit in each of his 11 starts, giving him a .370 batting average, a number which will still look good once his .395 BABIP falls.
Hui Dong Kwon ($2,400) didn't fit into the Dinos stack discussed below, as the team has far more than its fair share of rosterable options. Kwon certainly isn't one of the Dinos' best bats, but he owns a .780 OPS on the season after posting a .784 mark last year. A .204 BABIP is clearly suppressing his .214/.366/.414 slash line, but his 19.4 percent walk rate has kept him strong in the on-base department even when the hits aren't falling. The primary reason he's interesting for daily fantasy purposes, however, is that he's moved up to third in the order for each of the team's last three games. He's scored four times in those three games, and those walks should continue to turn into runs going forward given the elite bats that hit in the heart of the Dinos' order.
Stacks to Consider
Im was good in the early part of last season but fell off as the season progressed, finishing with a 5.15 ERA and 1.45 WHIP, numbers that are right in line with his career 5.25 ERA and 1.57 WHIP over parts of eight seasons. This year, he looks considerably worse. He's yet to allow fewer than three runs in a start and yet to strike out more than four batters. The righty probably deserves better than his 8.14 ERA, but his underlying numbers still paint a picture of a pitcher who's starting role should be under threat. He owns a 1.64 WHIP and has struck out just 12.0 percent of opposing batters. Stacking the league-leading Dinos lineup looks compelling against most pitchers but looks particularly attractive here.
The stack listed here skips Aaron Altherr, who was on the bench Thursday due to an elbow injury. Yang and Na are more than capable of leading a stack on their own, however. Yang sits second among qualified hitters with a 1.094 OPS, making him a star at any position, let alone catcher, where the comparative advantage he offers over most other options is huge. Na has had some cold patches on the season, but he's good enough that his "down year" involves a .265/.354/.551 slash line. That batting average should rise along with his .277 BABIP, giving him a shot to match or exceed last year's .989 OPS. Park is quite affordable for a player who leads off for the league's best lineup. He doesn't have much power but is on pace to post an on-base percentage north of .400 for the fifth time in six seasons, giving Yang and Na plenty of chances to drive him in.
Noh has some good seasons on his resume, but it's clear at age 37 that there's not much left in the tank. He spent 2019 pitching in Australia before returning to his home country in 2020 with results that were mediocre at best, as he finished the year with a 4.87 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Thus far this year, his ERA has dipped to 5.40, but he's seen more significant declines in his other numbers. His WHIP has jumped all the way up to 1.80, in part because his walk rate has jumped from 7.0 percent to 9.7 percent. Batters have hit .325 against him, and he's allowed 2.25 HR/9.
The stack listed here features a trio of batters who typically bat in the Wiz's top three spots in the order. Kang is easily the best of the bunch and one of the best hitters in the entire league. He was hitting north of .400 through 32 games, and while a hitless day Thursday dropped him below that mark, there's certainly nothing to complain about in his .394/.467/.559 line. Bae emerged as a regular for the first time last season and finished with a .792 OPS. He's at a .907 OPS this season following a recent hot streak which has seen him hit .444/.545/.704 over his last seven games. Cho is very much a role player, as he's yet to homer in over 1,000 career plate appearances and only has 35 total extra-base hits, but he's an on-base machine who sets the table very well for the likes of Bae and Kang. He's walked in 17.8 percent of his plate appearances this season while striking out just 11.1 percent of the time, helping him to a .385 on-base percentage.