This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
The entire KBO got two days of rest Monday and Tuesday, as the league canceled Tuesday's slate to give the country's Olympic athletes the time to recover from the COVID-19 vaccine, which they were administered Monday. It's an interesting way to ensure fairness across the league and avoid penalizing a team for having too many Olympic-caliber players. Whether or not any of those players will still be feeling any effects following the additional day off is unclear as of writing. What is clear is that all 10 bullpens around the league should be quite well-rested, which could slightly suppress scoring across Wednesday's slate. Those bullpens may still be well-rested heading into Thursday's games, as the slate features an excellent group of starting pitchers, including eight who have MLB experience.
You can make a case for selecting more or less every single starting pitcher on Wednesday's slate, so there's little need to pay up for the most expensive options when Dan Straily ($8,400) is sitting there with a confusingly affordable price tag. His numbers have fallen slightly from his dominant 2020 season, with his strikeout rate falling from 26.4 percent to 21.9 percent and his WHIP jumping from 1.02 to 1.37, but it's hard to complain about his 2.73 ERA. We're still early enough in the season that overall numbers can be skewed significantly by one poor start, which for Straily takes the form of his April 22 outing against the Bears, in which he allowed four earned runs in 2.2 innings before leaving with a blister. Take that one out, and he owns a 1.50 ERA. He should continue his dominance here against a Tigers team that ranks ninth in scoring.
Ryan Carpenter ($8,100) seemed like one of the least exciting new foreign pitchers when the Eagles signed him over the offseason, as he was coming off a season in which he was good but not great in the CPBL in Taiwan, a league considered to be a step below the KBO. He's been everything the Eagles could have hoped for through five starts, however, allowing a total of just five earned runs across his first five starts in Korea. He may not be able to sustain a 1.59 ERA, but his 1.16 WHIP and 25.6 percent strikeout rate both back up the idea that he's pitching quite well. He'll face a Lions lineup which ranks fourth in scoring this season but which is considerably less intimidating away from home.
Perhaps the biggest reason not to select Carpenter is that you want to go with Ben Lively ($7,700) instead. Lively's 4.94 ERA looks ugly, but that's due to a pair of poor starts to open the season in which he allowed 11 runs in 8.2 innings while striking out seven and walking six. A switch suddenly flipped following those outings, as he's allowed just four earned runs on nine hits over 18.2 innings over his last three starts, striking out 23 while walking five. His 25.6 percent strikeout rate exactly matches Carpenter's. He'll face an Eagles lineup which has been surprisingly competent but far from intimidating, sitting sixth in runs per game.
It's tough to justify using any hitters against most arms on this slate, but you're going to have to take some chances in bigger contests if you want to avoid picking the same players as everyone else. Among the day's elite arms, you can at least knock Casey Kelly for his middling strikeout numbers, as he's struck out no more than four batters in any of his last four starts, which could mean selecting some Bears isn't the worst idea. Kelly could allow a fair amount of contact Wednesday, and Jae Hwan Kim ($5,800) does plenty of damage when he makes contact. His .313 ISO ranks third among qualified hitters this season, while his seven homers are good for fourth.
Of the teams that I didn't list as a potential stack in this article, the Heroes got the closest, as they'll face William Cuevas, whose 1.73 WHIP and 9:7 K:BB through three starts makes him the shakiest of the day's eight foreign arms. Jung Hoo Lee ($4,200) is the most appealing Hero to use against him. The 22-year-old was supposed to take the next step this season after adding a bit of power (15) homers to his elite contact profile last season. So far this year, he's yet to homer, but he's making good contact again. He hit a modest .267 over his first 16 games but owns a .317 mark over his last 10. He's coming off a pair of multi-hit games and could make it three in a row with the platoon advantage against Cuevas.
Sticking with the Heroes, Woong Bin Kim ($3,000) will also get the platoon advantage against Cuevas and comes quite cheap for a cleanup man. The 25-year-old has never received more than 235 plate appearances in a season but hit a respectable .275/.335/.454 last season. This year, his power is down but his walks are up, leading to a .280/.375/.378 line. His matchup and lineup position are primarily what make him interesting here, but there's just enough in his profile to keep him interesting in his own right.
Yong Ho Cho ($3,900) didn't make the Wiz stack listed below but is another name worth considering. As with Woong Bin Kim, circumstance is what makes him most interesting, as he'll lead off and get the platoon advantage against righty Woo Jin An, who stands out as one of the weakest starters on a very strong slate. The 31-year-old has effectively no power, hitting zero homers thus far in his career, but he's an excellent table-setter. A 16.0 percent walk rate has helped him to a .398 on-base percentage, a number he should be able to sustain given that he finished at .392 last season.
Stacks to Consider
Pitchers worth stacking against are in very short supply Wednesday, but Ahn looks like the most attractive target. There's a lot to like about An, a 21-year-old righty with plenty of potential. He was excellent in a relief role last season, finishing with a 3.00 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 28.7 percent strikeout rate. Seeing his numbers slide back upon his return to the rotation this year should come as no surprise, but the extent to which they've slid is fairly worrisome. He owns a 6.14 ERA and 1.91 WHIP, with his strikeout rate falling to 21.6 percent and his walk rate jumping to 14.9 percent. He's also coming off a start in which he left after just 40 pitches due to a blister.
The trio listed here should bat third, fourth and fifth against An. Kang has to lead the line for the Wiz this season with Mel Rojas Jr. now in Japan, and he's done an admirable job thus far. He leads the league with a .418 batting average and sits fourth with a 1.025 OPS. Almonte's time in Korea started slowly, as he posted a .705 OPS over his first 15 games, but he's turned things around dramatically over his last 10, hitting .386/.426/.636 with three homers and 10 RBI. The 39-year-old Yoo is well past his prime but is still a useful hitter and is very underpriced for someone with a key spot in a strong order. He's hitting .353/.459/.431 on the season.
Like An, there are reasons to like Oh, but he stands out as one of the more appealing stack targets on a night full of top-tier pitching. Drafted in the regional round (a round that precedes the bulk of the draft and allows teams to select a player from their local area) in 2020, Oh did very little in limited action in his first season, allowing 10 runs (six earned) in 9.2 innings. This season, however, he's shown a fair amount of promise. In two starts and six relief appearances, he owns a 4.26 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, combining an excellent 28.0 percent strikeout rate with an 8.5 percent walk rate. On another day, he could earn a recommendation as a budget starter worth pursuing, but he shouldn't be expected to maintain those numbers in a starting role, and he has a very tough assignment against the Dinos on Wednesday.
The stack listed here features a trio of righties who should fill the fourth through sixth spots in the order against the young southpaw. Cleanup man Yang hasn't actually been the top catcher in the league this season due to an incredible start from the Lions' Min Ho Kang, but there's nothing to complain about in his dominant .333/.424/.571 slash line. Number five hitter Altherr appears to be turning into Eric Thames in his second season for the Dinos. He leads the league in homers (10), slugging (.717) and OPS (1.115). 35-year-old Park is confusingly cheap for someone with his track record. He owns a career .904 OPS and has an .862 mark this season.