This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Friday's KBO action featured a large number of decent or better pitchers, so it's perhaps no surprise that half the league was held to three or fewer runs. Min Woo Kim had the best outing of the day, striking out nine Heroes over six scoreless innings as the Eagles won 6-1, though it wasn't hard to find competent pitching. Eight starters allowed two or fewer earned runs, with Wes Parsons leading the rest of the pack by striking out 10 Tigers and allowing a pair of runs across six innings, helping the Dinos to a 5-2 victory. Strong offensive performances were hard to find on a day which features just a single home run.
Saturday's slate unfortunately looks like a potentially difficult one. Rain is in the forecast across the country as of writing, leaving only the Eagles-Heroes matchup indoors at Gocheok Skydome completely safe, though the rain isn't enough to guarantee postponements elsewhere. To make matters worse, the slate is split between two 12:58 am ET games and three that start three hours later, so the status of those late games may not be apparent when contests begin. If the games do go forward, we could see a ton of runs, as this is one of the weakest groups of starting pitchers so far this season.
Jake Brigham ($6,700) stands out as easily the most trustworthy starter among a rather shaky group of pitchers, and that's without considering that he's facing the Eagles and is pitching in the lone game that's guaranteed to be unaffected by rain. He's surprisingly cheap here, which is like due to the fact that he's yet to make his season debut. He hasn't been idle this year, however, as he began the year pitching for the Wei Chuan Dragons in Taiwan, cruising to a 0.60 ERA through eight starts. He rejoined his former KBO club in mid-April and is ready to go after completing his mandatory quarantine period. He had some health issues with the Heroes last season but was quite good when available, riding a 21.8 percent strikeout rate to a 3.62 ERA.
Chae Heung Choi ($8,900) is more expensive than I'd like for a pitcher who was unconvincing in his first start back from an abdominal injury last week, but we may have to pay up for him given the lack of strong alternatives. It's not as if the southpaw's outing against the righty-heavy Giants was terrible, either, as he allowed three runs on five hits in five innings while walking three and striking out the same number. He's coming off quite a good season last year, as his 3.58 ERA was the best mark among qualified Korean starters and was backed by a 1.25 WHIP and a 19.9 percent strikeout rate. That version of Choi would be good value against a left-heavy Twins lineup that's struggled to a ninth-place ranking in runs per game, especially with the game taking place at pitcher-friendly Jamsil Baseball Stadium.
Finding a third pitcher worth recommending Saturday is difficult, which puts Hyeong Jun So ($8,100) into play despite the fact that he's priced far higher than he should be given his shaky start to the year. His 6.75 ERA and 1.81 WHIP are inflated by an awful start against the Dinos his last time out in which he gave up seven runs while recording six outs. Even before that outing, his 4.35 ERA and 1.55 WHIP were unimpressive, though those would still rank among the best resumes on this very weak pitching slate. A bet on So is a bet that the form the young righty showed in his Rookie of the Year campaign last year is still in there, as he finished 2020 with a 3.86 ERA. He'll at least get a decent enough matchup against a righty-heavy Giants lineup.
Jeong Choi ($5,800) sits second on the KBO's all-time home run leaderboard and is showing no signs of slowing down in his age-34 season. Nine of his homers have come this season, a total which ties him with teammate Jamie Romak for fourth in the league. Four of those have come in his last five games, a stretch in which he's reached base 16 times and driven in nine runs. There's little reason to believe his hot streak will end Saturday against Bears lefty Hui Kwan Yu, a veteran whose fastball averages less than 80 mph and who's struck out just 6.2 percent of opposing batters this season.
Preston Tucker ($5,200) has seen his price rise by $1,000 in just three days, but it's hard to call him overpriced. He started the season very poorly, hitting just .182/.250/.227 over his first 15 games. Over his last 19 games, however, he's struck out just six times while hitting .384/.471/.575. He's still hit just two homers on the year, but more should come soon for a player who hit 32 last season. He could add another Saturday, as he'll have the platoon advantage against Dinos righty Jung Soo Park, who gave up a pair of homers and five total runs in his last outing against the Wiz.
The Lions sit atop the standings despite the fact that they haven't gotten much offense from anyone but their big three (Jose Pirela, Ja Wook Koo and Min Ho Kang), but Hae Min Park ($3,900) has done everything he can to step up in recent days. He's recorded five straight multi-hit games, going 12-for-20 with an impressive five steals over that stretch. He'll get the platoon advantage against young Twins righty Min Ho Lee, who owns a 6.75 ERA through four starts.
If you're looking to stay cheap at catcher, Dong Won Park ($3,000) makes for a strong choice. Unlike most of the Heroes' top bats, he'll get the platoon advantage against Eagles lefty Seung Gwan Lee, who's making just his second career KBO appearance. Park has been an above-average hitter in each of the last two seasons and is hitting a respectable .241/.344/.380 this year. He struggled early in the season but has gotten hot over his last 15 games, hitting .333/.436/.545 with a pair of homers.
Stacks to Consider
Over half of the league's lineups could be worth stacking Saturday, but when the league's best lineup is facing a pitcher whose resume is among the poorest on the slate, it's hard to look elsewhere. Kim, a 21-year-old lefty who was the sixth overall pick in 2018, threw 13 innings in his draft season without any success, allowing 14 runs while posting a 6:6 K:BB. He hasn't really been any better this year, allowing 13 runs in 13.2 innings across three starts, striking out nine while walking 12. It's difficult to see him sticking in the rotation much longer without a dramatic turnaround, which doesn't appear to be coming.
The trio listed here features what should be the top three righties in the Dinos' order, as Aaron Altherr has been limited to pinch-runner duty the past two days due to an elbow issue. Yang is more than capable of leading a stack, as his 1.074 OPS has him on pace to post a quadruple-digit mark in that category for the fourth straight season. Park has moved up to fifth, one spot behind Yang, in Altherr's absence, a deserved role given the 35-year-old's vintage performance thus far this year. He's hitting a ridiculous .591/.655/1.091 with three homers and 17 RBI over his last eight games. Kwon has settled in as the number two hitter, and while he's far from the Dinos' most exciting bat, anyone filling that role in a lineup this good at a price this cheap is an interesting option. His 18.4 percent walk rate has helped him to a .367 on-base percentage, a number which should rise along with his .207 BABIP.
Many of the unreliable starters Saturday fall into that category because they have barely any resume. The 31-year-old Jung is very different from that group but is an equally appealing stack target. He's thrown 169.1 innings across six KBO seasons without any real success, struggling to a 6.54 ERA and 1.80 WHIP. Things have been even worse for him this year. In two starts and two relief appearances, he owns a 9.58 ERA and 2.42 WHIP, and his 8:11 K:BB in 10.1 innings suggests those high numbers are well-deserved.
The two lefties that lead this stack are the most obvious inclusions Saturday, as both will get the platoon advantage against Jung. Cleanup man Kim leads the league with 36 RBI, a number he's paired with eight homers and a .952 OPS. Fernandez led the league in hits last season and sits tied for fourth in that category this year. Any of the Bears' other typical top five hitters would round this stack out nicely, but I've gone with Park here, who typically bats between Fernandez and Kim in the number three spot. He's swung a hot bat all season but particularly over his last eight games, a stretch in which he's hitting .400.