This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Nick Kingham looked impressive for the second outing in a row Tuesday against the Heroes, striking out 10 while walking two and allowing one run on five hits in six innings as the Eagles won 7-3. Aaron Brooks struck out just two batters but still allowed just a single unearned run on six hits and two walks in six innings against the Twins, while Hyoung Woo Choi's two homers proved enough on the offensive side as the Tigers earned a 6-3 victory. Elsewhere, Je Seong Bae tossed five innings of one-run ball and Jae Gyun Hwang reached base four times as the Wiz beat the Dinos 5-2 to earn their fifth straight victory. Meanwhile, the Giants and Landers each scored 10 runs in their wins over the Bears and Lions, respectively, with Chi Hong An leading the way for the Giants with a grand slam and Shin Soo Choo hitting a pair of homers for the Landers.
Wednesday's slate features a strong top end of the pitcher pool but also offers more than its fair share of appealing stack opportunities.
Eric Jokisch ($10,500) may have allowed five runs against the Twins in his last start, that was very much an outlier for the veteran lefty. He led all qualified starters in ERA (2.14) last season and finished fourth in WHIP (1.06), striking out 18.0 percent of opposing batters while walking just 3.9 percent. Prior to his slip-up against the Twins, he allowed just a single run on eight hits over 14 innings of work this season. Another blip would be a surprise Wednesday, as he's facing an Eagles lineup that may rank a surprising fourth in scoring so far this season but which finished last in the league by over half a run per game last year and which didn't add many pieces over the winter.
It looks quite difficult to find room for both Jokisch and David Buchanan ($9,900), but the latter makes for a strong alternative for those who want to avoid the crowd which will likely follow the day's most expensive arm. Buchanan struck out a fairly modest 16.6 percent of batters last season, which could cast some doubt on his strong 3.45 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. Rather than see his ERA slide back to meet his peripherals, however, Buchanan has had an all-around dominant start to the year. He's coming off a pair of starts in which he threw a combined 15 scoreless innings and now owns a 1.74 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 32.1 percent strikeout rate. The new and improved version of Buchanan should have little trouble with a Landers lineup that ranks ninth in scoring, the same spot it occupied last season.
This might be a day in which you'll have to stay cheap at hitter, as most of the inexpensive pitchers are priced that way for a very good reason. Min Woo Kim ($7,200) is the cheapest option I feel comfortable recommending, but he could have a tough time earning a win against Jokisch. He's at least facing an offense that's struggling thus far, as the Heroes rank eighth in scoring. Kim himself is an interesting, if flawed, pitcher. The 25-year-old was the first pick in the 2015 draft but struggled significantly until last season, when he finished with a decent 4.34 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. His 20.9 percent strikeout rate was promising, but it came with a 12.1 percent walk rate. This year, his strikeouts have dropped to 16.7 percent, but he's also cut his walk rate to 7.6 percent, helping him to a 3.31 ERA and 1.04 WHIP.
Jae Gyun Hwang ($4,900) moved back up to second in the order Tuesday after a brief spell batting sixth, making him a far more interesting option again. He sputtered to a .589 OPS over his first 10 games, which prompted the move, but he's since gone 9-for-14 with four walks (good for a .722 on-base percentage) in his last four. The former San Francisco Giant hit .312/.368/.512 last season, and there's little reason to believe he's no longer that guy. He'll get the platoon advantage against Dinos lefty Young Kyu Kim, who's given up eight runs in 6.2 innings so far this season.
If you're a Roberto Ramos ($4,000) fan, you're never going to find him much cheaper than this. There are certainly reasons his price has plummeted, as his .250/.313/.364 line in his first 13 games isn't anything close to good, but the talent that helped him finish second in the league with 38 homers last season despite missing 27 games is still in there. He's shown signs of climbing out of his slump over his last six games, hitting .304 over that stretch, albeit with just one extra-base hit. He won't get the platoon advantage Wednesday against the Tigers' first pitcher, lefty Yu Sin Kim, but Kim hasn't pitched at the KBO level since 2018 and didn't record more than seven outs in any of his 10 appearances as a rookie, so he may not be in the game for long.
Sticking with the theme of underpriced foreign hitters, Preston Tucker ($3,700) is also just about as cheap as he'll ever get. There's definitely a reason for that price tag, as his .180/.254/.230 slash line thus far this season isn't anything close to good. 14 poor games shouldn't make us forget what he did last year, however, as he hit .306 with 32 homers, 40 doubles and 113 RBI. He's already shown hints of turning things around, grabbing at least one hit in six of his last seven games. He won't get the platoon advantage against Twins lefty Deok Ju Ham, which could make him an unpopular pick, but the converted reliever owns a 4.91 ERA this season and has averaged just 7.3 outs and 51 pitches through his three appearances this season, so it would be a surprise to see him pitch deep into Wednesday's game.
Leadoff man Chi Hong An ($3,900) has been a key part of why the Giants' lineup ranks a surprising second in scoring so far this season, even before his grand slam Tuesday. He's a strong table-setting, walking 13.9 percent of the time this season, helping him to a .384 on-base percentage. He's somehow scored just six runs despite his spot atop a hot lineup, but that could change Wednesday, as the Giants could be poised to post some crooked numbers against veteran southpaw Hee Kwan Yoo. The 34-year-old's strikeout rate has been quite low for several seasons now, but it sits at just 6.1 percent through two starts, a pair of outings in which he's allowed nine runs on 14 hits in 6.2 innings.
Stacks to Consider
A full half of the lineups look worthy stacking on this slate, but the Lions have perhaps the most compelling matchup. They'll play this game in the league's most hitter-friendly park and will face a pitcher who's as unreliable as anyone else on the slate in Lee. He got his first real chance in his age-25 season last year and was arguably lucky to escape with a 5.68 ERA and 1.52 WHIP, as his 91:81 K:BB was very poor. This year, he's struck out just two batters and walked 11 in just six innings of work, allowing six earned runs. The Lions may not have as many big bats as his first two opponents (the Twins and Dinos), but they should be able to do their best impression Wednesday.
It's unusual to see a Lion as the most expensive hitter on the slate, but it's hard to argue Koo doesn't deserve the spot. For years, he's been one of the league's better hitters in everything but the power department, hitting .319 for his career but never managing more than 21 homers in a season. This year, he already has three, giving him nine extra-base hits in total, trailing only Aaron Altherr. Five of those extra-base hits have come during his recent four-game hitting streak, a stretch in which he's reached base 12 times.
Pirela's price has started to creep up to a reasonable level after beginning the year at the minimum due to his lack of KBO experience, but he still looks like quite a good value play even without considering the matchup and park he'll play in Wednesday. Pirela took a few games to adjust to life in Korea, hitting .208/.240/.208 through his first six contests, but he's been on first since then. In his last nine games, he's homered four times and driving in 11 runs while hitting .300/.364/.650.
Kim looks like another good value play, despite what his early-season numbers suggest. He's hitting just .204/.339/.265 through 15 games but appears to be climbing out of a slump after recording a pair of hits in Tuesday's series opener. The leadoff man should be in position to score multiple runs should the Lions go off Wednesday, as he's excellent at getting on base. He walked exactly as often as he struck out last season, leading to a .397 on-base percentage, and he already has 10 walks to go with six strikeouts so far this year.
Kim could be an important piece for the Giants one day, as they liked him well enough to select him first overall in the most recent draft. He's given no indication through his first two starts that he'll be an important piece any time soon, however. In 8.2 innings, he's allowed 11 runs, striking out eight while walking 10. It's not out of the question that the 18-year-old lefty figures things out on the fly this season, as last year's Rookie of the Year Hyeong Jun So (whom Kim beat to win an award as the top amateur pitcher back in 2019) struggled early on before posting a very strong second half. There's no reason to believe the turnaround will start now, though, making him an appealing stack target Wednesday.
We'll want to lead with the righties here against the young southpaw. Park has emerged as the Bears' top hitter so far this season and as one of the best hitters in the league, posting a .404/.456/.596 slash line through 14 games. That batting average places him second in the league. Park has been one of the league's best contact hitters for a long time, hitting .327 for his career and crossing the .300 mark in six straight seasons. He's never hit more than 20 homers but has reached 40 doubles twice and already has four this season.
Hur tilts even more towards contact than Park does. He's only once reached 10 homers, but he's hit .297 for his career. He's coming off a season in which he hit a career-high .332, good for seventh among qualified hitters. His most impressive skill is his ability to avoid strikeouts, as he whiffed a league-low 5.7 percent of the time last season. Against that backdrop, his 11.5 percent strikeout rate this season looks practically pedestrian, but he's still managed to hit a strong .328 through his first 14 games.
I've gone with a third righty here in Yang to stick with the platoon advantage rather than using one of the Bears' more expensive left-handed bats, though Jose Fernandez or Jae Hwan Kim are still worth considering. Yang was fine but largely forgettable during his five seasons with the Bears' local rival, the Twins, but he's filled in for departed free agent Jae Il Oh well at first base in his first 14 games for his new team, hitting .304 with 10 RBI and has been locked into the fifth spot in the order.