This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Friday's KBO action featured all sorts of games, with two teams scoring double digits and another getting shut out. The Wiz led the way with 15 runs against the Tigers, with Zoilo Almonte going 4-for-5 with a pair of homers and seven RBI. Meanwhile, the Eagles put 11 runs past the Giants, with Ju Suk Ha going 5-for-5 with six RBI. On the pitching side, 21-year-old Tae In Won continued his incredible start, dropping his ERA to 1.16 after throwing seven scoreless innings in the Lions' 4-0 win over the Twins, while Ariel Miranda struck out eight in six scoreless innings against the Landers as the Bears picked up a 9-4 victory.
Saturday's slate begins slightly earlier at 4:00 a.m. ET. Rain seems like a potential particularly in the Landers-Bears game in Seoul, though no game looks close to guaranteed to be postponed as of writing.
Aaron Brooks ($8,900) gave up seven runs in 4.1 innings against the Dinos in his second start of the year. In his other 26.1 innings, he's allowed just three earned runs, giving him a 2.93 ERA on the season. Despite generally keeping runs off the board, it hasn't been a dominant season for Brooks, whose strikeout rate sits at just 11.8 percent after finishing at 22.2 percent last year. On the other hand, he hasn't given up a single homer this season after allowing just four last year, which gives reason to believe he'll keep his ERA down even if the strikeouts don't return. He doesn't have an easy matchup Saturday against the Wiz, but he's surprisingly affordable for a pitcher who was one of the best in the league last year and still looks quite good this season.
Wes Parsons ($8,600) missed his first turn in the rotation with a shoulder injury but has looked no worse for wear since his return. Through three starts, he's allowed just three runs, giving him a 1.69 ERA and 1.19 WHIP for the season. His underlying numbers don't quite support that level of dominance, but his strong 18.8 percent strikeout rate has so far been enough to offset an 11.6 percent walk rate. He gets what should be a fairly easy matchup Saturday against a Heroes team that has struggled this season, ranking eighth in scoring.
Seung Won Moon ($8,300) is the most expensive domestic starter on the slate, a spot that's well-deserved. Among qualified Korean starters last season, he had the second-best ERA (3.65), best WHIP (1.24) and fifth-best strikeout rate (19.2 percent). He's well on his way to a similar season through his first four starts, cruising to a 2.74 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. He'll face a strong Bears lineup Saturday, but he'll at least get to do so at pitcher-friendly Jamsil Baseball Stadium.
Shin Soo Choo ($5,900) started his KBO career slowly, hitting just .167/.286/.267 in his first nine games. He's turned things around dramatically since then, however, hitting .283/.433/.543 with four homers over his last 13 games. That latter line is much closer to what should be expected of him going forward, as his extensive MLB track record means he ought to be one of the best hitters in the league. He was nearly a league-average hitter at the highest level last season even at age 38. He'll get the platoon advantage against Bears righty Been Gwak, who's making his first appearance since 2018.
There aren't many hitters in the league who are nearly as hot as Jose Pirela ($5,600) is right now. After posting a .448 OPS in his first six games in Korea, he's been on a remarkable tear over his last 17, hitting .420/.468/.899 with nine homers. Three of those homers have come in his last six games, a stretch in which he has three three-hit performances. He's emerged as an early MVP favorite, tying for first in homers (nine) while sitting second among qualified hitters in OPS (1.093). He'll get to enjoy the Lions' hitter-friendly home park Saturday against young Twins righty Min Ho Lee, who owns a 6.23 ERA through two starts.
Sticking with the Lions, Sang Su Kim ($3,500) is the rare affordable option among a group of players who have justifiably seen their price tags soar. Kim will lead off in the league's most hitter-friendly park Saturday, which should give him plenty of chances to be driven in by Pirela and teammates Ja Wook Koo and Min Ho Kang, who've also managed an OPS north of 1.000. Kim hasn't gotten off to a good start this season, hitting just .241/.356/.277, but his plate discipline is still there, as seen in his 14.9 percent walk rate. His hits are finally starting to fall as well, as he has three two-hit games in his last four.
The Eagles could potentially be worth stacking Saturday against Giants righty Seung Heon Lee, whose 4.80 ERA comes with a 2.07 WHIP and 10:16 K:BB. Despite their strong starts, however, I remain unconvinced about paying up for Si Hwan Roh and Ju Suk Ha as elite players, as neither posted an OPS above .690 last season. Eun Won Jung ($3,400) is a much more affordable option and will occupy the leadoff spot and get the platoon advantage against Lee. He's been an excellent table-setter this season, walking an incredible 23.0 percent of the time en route to a .446 on-base percentage. He was hitting just .190 through his first 14 games but has hit .371 over his last nine.
Stacks to Consider
Kim has already pitched a career-high 18 innings this season. It's not hard to see why the 2015 seventh-round pick hasn't received any extended opportunities in any of his five prior seasons. For his career, he owns a 7.33 ERA and 1.93 WHIP, numbers that make his 6.50 ERA and 1.56 WHIP this season look almost decent. He's walked far too many batters through his first four starts (13.3 percent) while also giving up four homers. The Dinos lineup shouldn't have any trouble with him Saturday.
Altherr already looked quite good last season, hitting .278/.355/.541 with 31 homers, but he wasn't quite in MVP candidate territory. He looks like the early favorite for that award this season, as he leads all qualified hitters with a 1.130 OPS, the product of a .345/.404/.726 slash line. He's also tied for the league lead with nine homers. He's showing no signs of slowing down, either, going 9-for-17 over his last five games.
Na's 2020 and 2021 seasons are more or less the mirror image of Altherr's. He didn't win the MVP last year, but he wasn't far from it, as he finished with 34 homers and a .989 OPS, the fourth-best mark among qualified hitters. This year, as his price tag suggests, he's been more good than great, hitting .242/.333/.505. A drop in his BABIP to .274 (the league-wide BABIP in the KBO has sat around .320 in recent seasons) is partially to blame, but he appears to be turning things around lately, homering twice in his last three games. You're rarely going to find Na this affordable, so he's worth grabbing even if he's yet to perform quite as well as expected.
I've included Park here to round out the stack to keep things comparatively affordable, though Eui Ji Yang ($5,400) is certainly worth a look for anyone with the budget space. Park will lead off and get the platoon advantage against Kim, giving Altherr, Na and Yang plenty of chances to drive him in, but he's interesting for more than just his role. He owns a .400 on-base percentage thus far this season, putting him on pace to meet that mark for the fifth time in the last six seasons. He missed time with back issues but returned to the lineup Friday and grabbed a pair of hits.
Yun Su Kim has been a reliever in all nine of his appearances this season and all but two of his 75 career outings. His career 4.98 ERA is at least passable, but it's come with a 1.78 WHIP and a 13.4 percent walk rate. This season, he's been even worse, struggling to a 7.88 ERA in eight innings with an awful 2.63 WHIP. His 19.1 percent strikeout rate is decent but should be expected to drop in a starting role, while his 17.0 percent walk rate is too high for him to ever have much success. The Twins strangely sit last in scoring this season despite having a fairly talented lineup, but the matchup against Kim in hitter-friendly Daegu Samsung Lions Park should help them turn things around.
It's odd to see Hong as the most expensive Twin given the firepower that follows him in the lineup, but he's been the team's highest-scoring player by DraftKings points per game this season, so perhaps it's justified. The 27-year-old only had 56 career plate appearances prior to last season but broke out to hit .279/.409/.417. So far this year, he's been even better, hitting .314/.429/.419. He'll get the platoon advantage against Kim and should have the chance to score multiple runs given his excellent on-base ability.
Hyun Soo Kim got off to a slow start this season and owned a modest .723 OPS through his first 14 games. In his last nine games, he's turned things around dramatically, hitting .364/.436/.636 while driving in 11 runs. He was one of the top hitters in the league last season, posting a .927 OPS while recording 22 homers and 119 RBI, so hot streaks like his current one should come as no surprise. Some regression should perhaps be expected in his age-33 season, but he can fall back a bit and still be one of the best hitters in the league.
Ramos' poor start is a big part of the reason why the Twins' offense hasn't lived up to expectations. He looked like an MVP candidate for much of last season, posting a .960 OPS and finishing second with 38 homers despite missing 27 games. Through 22 games this season, he's homered just three times and owns a .667 OPS, the product of a .208/.291/.377 slash line. Over his last 11 games, he's done at least a little better, but his .729 OPS over that stretch is still nothing to write home about. It's possible he's not worth including in this stack, but the gap between his price tag and what he'd cost when he's on his game is as large as anyone on the slate, so betting on him to regain form given the matchup and park seems like a gamble worth taking.