This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
The Dinos opened up a 1-0 Korean Series lead over the defending-champion Bears on Tuesday, winning by a 5-3 score, with Sung Bum Na's four hits and Aaron Altherr's three-run homer leading the way. The Dinos jumped out to an early 4-0 lead off Raul Alcantara, who won the Choi Dong Won Award as the league's top pitcher but has now made two poor starts out of three thus far in the postseason. The Bears made things close with three runs in the middle innings, but five Dinos relievers combined to throw 3.2 scoreless innings to seal the victory.
Wednesday's Game 2 matchup features a pair of pitchers who have been the best in the league at different points this season and will feature another set of Showdown contests from DraftKings. For Showdown games, you'll select six players in any combination of pitchers and hitters. One player will be designated as your "Captain," who will cost 1.5 times as much as the rest of your team but who will also earn 1.5 times as many points as your other players. Lineups must contain at least one player from each team. You are under no obligation to select a pitcher, though you could even theoretically attempt to squeeze in both starters.
I'll be shaking up the format for these previews to account for the unique nature of the Showdown format. I'll present a quick breakdown of both pitchers, followed by a pair of high-priced hitters from the team I'd rather build around as well as a few bargain bats to consider from both teams. The prices listed for each player are their price if used in the UTIL slot.
Chang Mo Koo, Dinos ($11,400): Koo was the best pitcher in the KBO early in the season, and no one else was particularly close. In his first 13 starts, he owned a remarkable 1.55 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP, striking out 30.6 percent of opposing batters. He went down in late July with forearm issues, however, and proceeded to miss just shy of three months with both soreness and a fracture. He came back for two appearances at the end of the regular season and was fine but unremarkable, allowing three runs on four hits in 6.1 innings but striking out just three batters. The young lefty has since had nearly three weeks to rest and continue to build up his arm strength, but it remains a mystery just how close he'll be able to come to recapturing his early-season form.
Chris Flexen, Bears ($9,600): Flexen's 2020 campaign was much like Koo's, as he also spent an extended period on the sidelines and also spent a period as the league's top arm. The former New York Met posted a solid but unspectacular 3.80 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in his first 12 starts before going down with a broken foot in mid-July. Since returning in early September, he's been outstanding, posting a 2.05 ERA and 0.85 WHIP while striking out 73 batters in 52.2 innings. Zooming in on just his last four regular-season starts, he allowed just a single run on 13 hits while posting a 38:3 K:BB in 26.2 innings of work. Unlike teammate Raul Alcantara, he carried his late-season dominance into the playoffs, allowing just two runs in 16.1 innings (including a three-inning save that sent the Bears to their sixth straight Korean Series) while striking out 24 batters.
The Verdict: Lean Bears. Flexen's highs this season have been just as high as Koo's, but he's still in the middle of his hot streak, while it's anyone's guess how close Koo will come to recapturing his early-season magic. Betting on a Koo bounceback is defensible, especially against a lefty-heavy Bears lineup, but it's not something I'm particularly interested in given how dominant Flexen has been lately.
Kyoung Min Hur ($8,200): We'll want to load up on the right-handed Bears' bats against the left-handed Koo, which doesn't leave us with all that many options to choose from. Hur is among the league's best contact hitters, as he finished seventh in batting average with a .332 mark. He doesn't have much power, homering just seven times, though he did add a respectable 14 steals. He's hitting a solid 7-for-21 thus far in the playoffs and reached base in all four of his plate appearances in Game 1, accounting for three of his team's seven hits.
Joo Hwan Choi ($8,400): Kun Woo Park would be the other Bears righty to grab, but it's hard to recommend a player who's gone 3-for-24 so far in the playoffs. While Choi will get the platoon disadvantage against Koo, he actually performed better against same-sided pitching this season, hitting .331 against southpaws compared to .298 against righties. Choi was limited to bench duty during the early part of the postseason due to a foot injury, but he's started both of the last two games and gone 2-for-6 with a homer and a walk.
Jae Ho Kim, Bears, ($6,600): This certainly isn't a ringing endorsement of Kim, but if you're looking for a cheap Bear to round out your lineup, he's the guy. He's likely to be the second-cheapest Bear to get the start in Game 2, and he'll get the platoon advantage, unlike like Soo Bin Jung ($6,000). The shortstop posted a modest .707 OPS on the season and hit just two homers, but he hit a solid .289, so he should have a better shot at recording a single or two than most players in his price range. If you want to pay up for a dominant pitcher like Flexen for your Captain slot, you'll need some boring options like Kim to fill things out given the nature of the Showdown format.
Hee Dong Kwon, Dinos, ($4,800): Kwon earns a mention here for the second straight day, again for primarily price-related reasons. Every other projected starter comes in at $6,000 or more, so selecting Kwon should allow you to sneak in one more top-shelf hitter. Kwon won't get the platoon advantage against Flexen, and he was dropped down to the more suitable seventh spot in the order in Game 1 after spending most of his time batting second down the stretch, but it's still a mystery why he'd be quite so cheap. He hit a perfectly respectable .260/.373/.410 during the regular season, so the fact that his price tag is closer to the minimum-price players who aren't even on the roster than the next-closest player who's actually likely to start doesn't make a ton of sense.