This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Tuesday's KBO slate featured three new foreign starters, but it was a pair of local arms who had the most impressive outings on the day. Tae In Won held the Eagles to just one run on two hits in six innings of work in the Lions' 4-3 win, with his 10 strikeouts smashing his previous career high of six. Elsewhere, Se Woong Park held the Tigers scoreless through six innings, striking out eight while allowing just two hits and two walks as the Giants won 8-0. On the offensive side, Yong Kyu Lee had four hits and David Freitas drove in four runs as the Heroes beat the Twins 8-2, while Aaron Altherr moved into sole possession of first place in the home-run race, as his fifth homer of the year helped the Dinos past the Landers by a 4-2 score.
Wednesday's slate features a wide variety of pitchers, with three former MLB pitchers joining some of the league's better Korean arms at one end of the pool and a handful of very unproven options at the other, with not much in the middle.
Wes Parsons ($5,000) is easily the best value among the slate's pitching options, though he's not without risk. He's priced as the day's cheapest starting pitcher, as he's yet to accumulate any KBO numbers, but he should be expected to produce as a frontline arm this season, as with any pitcher deemed worthy of one of a team's two foreign pitcher spots. His MLB track record is quite poor, as he produced a 5.67 ERA, 1.76 WHIP and 29:32 K:BB in 39.2 innings at the highest level, all of which came in relief, but the mere fact that he has any major-league experience at all gives him one of the best resumes in the league. His risk comes from the fact that he missed the start of the season with a shoulder issue, but the Dinos are reportedly willing to let him pitch deep into this contest. He may not be at his best right away, but he won't have to be to justify his very low price tag against a lineup which ranks last in scoring so far this year.
At the other ends of the spectrum, Aaron Brooks ($9,700) is a worthy option despite being the most expensive pitcher on the slate. That price tag may look odd given his 6.94 ERA and 1.46 WHIP so far this season, but we're early enough in the year that one bad outing like the one he had last time out against a strong Dinos lineup can ruin those numbers. Brooks was very steady for the Tigers throughout the 2020 season and finished as one of the best pitchers in the entire league. His 2.50 ERA was good for third among all qualified starters, while his 1.02 WHIP was good for second. He finished third among that same group with a 22.2 percent strikeout rate and third with a 4.1 percent walk rate. Those numbers all matter much more than one bad start does, making him worth making room for against a Giants lineup which has been hot to start this season but which wasn't anything special last year.
For those with an appetite for risk, Seung Won Moon ($8,800) could be worth a look in larger contests as long as you can stomach selecting a starter against a loaded Dinos lineup. Moon was one of very few bright spots for the Landers (then known as the Wyverns) last season, particularly on the pitching side. He finished the year with a 3.65 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, a strong follow-up to his 3.88 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 2019. Last year's ERA placed him second among qualified Korean starters and ninth among qualified pitchers of any nationality, and it appeared to be well-deserved given his 19.7 percent strikeout rate and 7.4 percent walk rate.
Ja Wook Koo ($4,900) needs a bit more power if he's ever to become one of the KBO's top hitters, but he's correctly priced as a second-tier option and is typically one of the best choices in that group, especially at home. He's far from a complete zero in the power department, averaging 17.8 homers over the last four seasons, and he already has two this year to go with three steals and a .364 batting average. He'll enjoy the platoon advantage in the league's most hitter-friendly park against Eagles righty Nick Kingham, who failed to finish the fourth inning of his season debut last week against the Landers.
Preston Tucker ($4,400) was streaky at times last season, and he's been on a cold streak to start this year, hitting just .147/.216/.176 through eight games. Wednesday seems like as good a time as any for him to get going, however. He'll get the platoon advantage against 22-year-old Giants righty Seung Heon Lee, who showed hints of potential last season but is far from an established arm and struggled in his first start this year, raising his career ERA to 6.21. Tucker's cold start has seen him plummet significantly from his peak of $5,800 this season, but there's little reason to believe the guy who hit .306 with 32 homers and 113 RBI isn't still in there somewhere, so this looks like a great time to grab him at a discount.
I considered breaking my rule of never recommending an Eagles stack, as the team has actually ranked fifth in scoring through eight games and gets to face Lions lefty Seung Min Lee and his career 5.57 ERA in the league's most hitter-friendly park. Ultimately, there weren't enough Eagles I felt comfortable recommending, but Ryon Healy ($3,300) looks like an excellent value with the platoon advantage and a spot in the heart of the order. He hasn't done much yet this season, hitting .250 with just a single extra-base hit through seven games, but that's not nearly enough of a sample to rub off the shine that should come with any player with MLB experience who joins the KBO.
Like Healy, Zoilo Almonte ($3,600) is quite cheap for a player with MLB experience. Almonte hit just .211/.242/.282 in 47 games at the highest level, the last of which came all the way back in 2014, but he's since gone on to carve out a successful career in Japan. He hasn't done much of note through his first eight KBO games, but he hasn't been bad, either, hitting .267 with a homer and six RBI. As a switch hitter, Almonte will always have the platoon advantage and should feature frequently in this column this season. He'll face Young Ha Lee on Wednesday, who pitched his way out of a rotation role last year and gave up five runs to a mediocre Lions lineup in his season debut.
Stacks to Consider
Bae recorded a 3.95 ERA last season, but it's difficult to see him doing that again unless his underlying numbers improve significantly. He was clearly helped by a .266 BABIP, as his 13.4 percent strikeout rate and 12.3 percent walk rate were both quite poor. Oddly enough, he produced a fairly similar 3.76 ERA in 2019, though that came with a far more respectable 16.1 percent strikeout rate and 9.9 percent walk rate. Even that better version of Bae was hardly an intimidating pitcher, however, so the Bears' top bats shouldn't have any trouble with him here.
Kim carries the highest price tag among all non-Dinos hitters Tuesday. While that may slightly overstate his talent, he's certainly one of the league's better hitters and doesn't appear to be overpriced given the matchup. Following three straight years with an OPS north of 1.000 from 2016 to 2018, he dropped to .796 in that category in 2019, but he bounced back last season to post an .867 OPS. He homered 30 times and drove in 113 runs (both of which represented top-10 marks) and already has two homers and seven RBI this season.
Fernandez hasn't been on a tear to start the year, posting a modest .748 OPS through eight games. Even when he's somewhat cold, however, he still gets more than his fair share of hits, as he's posted a .290 batting average. He's shown signs of heating up in his last three games, going 6-for-15 with three doubles. The 32-year-old is as likely as anyone to have a multi-hit day in any given game, as he hit .344 and .340 in his first two seasons, leading the league in hits both years.
Kim and Fernandez make for quite the expensive pair, so we'll round out this stack with a cheaper option rather than go with a third pricy bat. Yang won't get the platoon advantage against Bae and doesn't have much of a track record, but he's quite inexpensive for a hitter who regularly bats fifth (right behind Kim) for one of the better lineups in the league. Yang never posted an OPS north of .758 in his five seasons with the Twins, but he's looked good in his first eight games following an offseason trade between local rivals. He's hitting .323/.346/.484 with a homer and five RBI thus far, though a 30.3 percent strikeout rate suggests he's gotten fairly lucky, so he wouldn't be all that interesting at a higher price.
Jeong In Kim did hold the Tigers to just one run on one hit in five innings of work, though it wasn't the most convincing outing despite those numbers. He struck out four batters while walking six and hitting another. It was also clearly an outlier compared to his career numbers. He's been used very sporadically over parts of six seasons, throwing a total of 30 innings and recording a 6.90 ERA and 2.03 WHIP. His 15.0 percent strikeout rate and 11.8 percent walk rate hardly suggest he deserves much better, so one good start shouldn't scare us away from using the Twins' top bats Wednesday.
The Twins' offense has gotten off to a slow start this season, tying for eighth in runs per game, but that creates some interesting daily-fantasy opportunities, as some of their star hitters are far more affordable than usual. Ramos has certainly been part of the problems, as he's grabbed just four hits through seven games thus far, with three of them coming in the same contest. That tiny sample isn't nearly as relevant as his .278/.362/.592 line from his KBO debut last season, however. He finished second in the league with 38 homers despite missing 27 games and should have a good chance to win the home-run title this year with Mel Rojas. Jr now playing in Japan.
Like Ramos, Hyun Soo Kim hasn't lived up to his lofty standard thus far, hitting .259/.382/.259 through eight games. He's yet to record an extra-base hit, though his excellent plate discipline is still there, as he's walked more than he's struck out, something he's done eight times in his KBO career. While he's now 33 years old, he didn't show any signs of slowing down last season, hitting .331/.397/.523 with 22 homers and 119 RBI. His very long track record should matter far more than eight mediocre games, making him a great bargain here.
While Ramos and Kim have started the year very slowly, Hong has done everything he can to pick up the slack. The leadoff man has opened the year hitting .375/.474/.438 and is tied for second in the league with four steals. He's scored just four runs despite reaching base in nearly half of his plate appearances, but he could wind up near the league leaders in that category once the big bats behind him get going. Hong didn't play much at all prior to last season, receiving a total of just 56 plate appearances, but his .279/.411/.417 line in 2020 means his on-base prowess to start this year isn't coming out of nowhere.