This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Friday's KBO action looked likely to be low-scoring, as several top pitchers were bumped back a day following Thursday's rainouts, joining a handful of other strong arms who were already on Friday's schedule. That largely held true, with seven teams scoring four or fewer runs, but the Giants clearly didn't get the memo, as they demolished Odrisamer Despaigne and the Wiz in a 15-0 victory. Ah Seop Son had a team-high three hits for the Giants, while Se Woong Park pitched a three-hit shutout. Good pitching wasn't hard to find even if you missed out on Park, however, as six other pitchers threw at least six innings while giving up no more than one earned run.
The pitching landscape looks very different Saturday, with five starters coming in with ERAs north of 7.00 and another making his KBO debut, though there are still a few strong options available. The slate starts slightly earlier than usual (4 a.m. ET) and looks rain-free as of writing.
The Twins appear to have found a gem in Andrew Suarez ($10,500). It's perhaps no surprise that he's taken to the KBO well, as his respectable 4.66 ERA in 202.2 career MLB innings is a better resume than most foreign starters can boast. Still, there's no guarantee a player adapts well to a new league and country, so the Twins have to be thrilled with Suarez's 2.01 ERA and 1.13 WHIP through his first 10 starts. His 26.0 percent strikeout rate, the second-highest mark among qualified starters, gives him big fantasy upside every time he takes the mound, so he certainly deserves his high price Saturday against the last-ranked Tigers lineup.
Walker Lockett ($9,600) doesn't have Suarez's strikeout upside, as he owns a modest 17.9 percent strikeout rate, but he's been everything the Bears could ask for this season. He didn't have nearly Suarez's level of success stateside, struggling to a 7.67 ERA in 54 innings at the highest level, but he's been dominant following the step down in competition. In all but one of his 10 starts, he's allowed no more than one earned run. His relative lack of whiffs means his 1.91 ERA is likely to rise going forward, especially as he'll eventually start giving up homers (he's allowed just one all season), but there's plenty to like here even with some regression expected. Lockett will face a decent Landers lineup that ranks fifth in scoring Saturday but will do so at pitcher-friendly Jamsil Baseball Stadium.
The rest of the pitcher pool doesn't look close to reliable, but Hyeong Jun So ($7,000) is the best of the bunch, especially considering his inexpensive price tag. So had a strong rookie season last year, winning Rookie of the Year honors on the back of a 3.86 ERA. While his 15.2 percent strikeout rate was unimpressive, his 7.4 percent walk rate demonstrated good control. Things haven't gone nearly as well for him this year, as his walk rate has ballooned to 13.4 percent while his ERA has shot up to 5.82, a number that's accompanied by a 1.76 WHIP. He's shown some more encouraging signs over his last two starts, however, allowing a combined four earned runs on 10 hits in 11 innings. That's enough to give him a leg up on some unimpressive competition, especially given his assignment against a righty-heavy Giants lineup that ranks seventh in scoring.
The Bears easily could have been one of today's top stack recommendations against Landers righty Seon Ryul Yang, whose KBO experience to date consists of a single relief appearance last season. Jose Fernandez ($5,200) looks like the Bear to grab if you select just one. The former Los Angeles Angel has been remarkably consistent throughout his three years in Korea, posting batting averages of .344, .340 and now .344 again. He has a strong case as the best contact hitter in the league, as his 6.3 percent strikeout rate was second among qualified hitters last year, while his 6.2 percent mark is tied for first this season. He may have the easiest path to a multi-hit game out of all hitters on Saturday's slate.
The Twins also may have been a top stack option on another day, as they'll face Tigers southpaw Yu Sin Kim, the proud owner of a 7.43 ERA. Many of the Twins' best bats hit are lefties, however, leaving the right-handed Eun Seong Chae ($4,500) as the team's clear top option. He wasn't swinging a particularly hot bat in his first 13 games before being shut down with a sprained finger, posting a modest .711 OPS, but he's been quite good since his return to the lineup in early May. In 24 games, he's hit .313/.371/.552, scoring 20 runs and driving in 24 more. He's been even better over his last six contests, recording four multi-hit games and posting a 1.133 OPS.
Continuing the theme, the Eagles also could have been a top stack against Dinos righty Myung Gi Song and his 7.67 ERA, but their lack of reliable hitters gave the nod to other options. Eun Won Jung ($3,800) will get the platoon advantage against Song and is a solid, inexpensive option at either second or third base. The leadoff man has managed just a single homer all season after hitting just three last year, but he's an elite on-base threat despite that lack of pop. Pitchers shouldn't have much reason to fear him, but he's still walking in nearly a fifth of his plate appearances, with his 19.9 percent walk rate ranking second (behind only Shin Soo Choo) among all qualified batters. Combined with his .289 batting average, that's led to a .433 on-base percentage, giving him plenty of chances to score runs should Song struggle again Saturday.
David Freitas ($3,100) had a very disappointing start to his KBO career, getting demoted in early May after hitting .253/.279/.354 through his first 26 games for the Heroes. While he hasn't quite been an everyday player since his return, he's making a strong case that he should be, hitting .450/.500/.750 in nine games. KBO players with MLB experience deserve the benefit of the doubt despite some small-sample struggles given the gap between the two levels, and that certainly applies to Freitas here. We should be able to expect much stronger performances going forward, including Saturday against Lions lefty Chae Heung Choi, who pitched well last season but has struggled to a 7.52 ERA in four starts this year after missing the beginning of the season with an abdominal injury.
Stacks to Consider
Over half the pitchers on Saturday's slate would make for top stack targets on most other nights, but it's hard to do better than the league's best lineup against a pitcher who's never thrown an inning at the KBO level. Kim may have some potential, as the young lefty was selected second-overall in the latest KBO draft, but expecting him to look good right away would be unwise. He hasn't impressed in five Futures League starts, struggling to a 5.70 ERA while striking out just 15.3 percent of opposing batters and walking 12.9 percent. If that's how he looks against hitters at the Futures League level, things are unlikely to be pretty against the KBO's best offense.
A lefty on the mound for the Eagles means we'll lead with the Dinos' righties here. Altherr has cooled off following a blistering start but is still tied for the league lead with 13 homers and owns a .981 OPS. He had a two-hit game Friday and is a good bet for another with the platoon advantage against Kim on Saturday. Yang moved into the OPS lead with a two-hit game of his own, as his .354/.472/.646 line is good for a 1.117 OPS. He'd be a strong option even at first base or outfield but blows the competition out of the water at catcher. Park has had a long and successful career, hitting .291/.405/.502 over 16 seasons, but he's in the middle of one of his best seasons, with his 1.001 OPS standing as his best mark since 2014. He's gone a bit cold lately, posting a .542 OPS over his last eight games, but a matchup against Kim should get him back on track.
The 37-year-old Noh has some strong seasons on his resume, but he hasn't shown much over the last few seasons. He spent 2019 pitching in Australia before returning to his home country and producing a 4.87 ERA last year. He hasn't been able to come anywhere close to that unimpressive but respectable number this season, struggling to an 8.00 ERA through six starts. The rest of his statline doesn't offer much consolation, as he owns a 2.00 WHIP and has struck out just 10.6 percent of opposing batters while walking 11.4 percent. He's allowed six runs in each of his last two starts and is unlikely to turn things around against the second-ranked Wiz offense Saturday.
The toughest thing about this stack is figuring out how to keep it somewhat affordable around the centerpiece, Kang. The group here skips some of his strongest teammates in favor of some comparatively cheap options who are likely to hit in prime spots in the order. Kang himself is certainly worth building a lineup around, as he leads all qualified hitters with his incredible .420 batting average and sits second with a 1.112 OPS. He's also atop the pack with his 47 RBI. Having someone like Kang hitting behind him is great news for leadoff man Cho, who's very much leaned into his role. He doesn't have a single homer in 1,123 career KBO plate appearances, but his .291 average and 18.3 percent walk rate make him a great table-setter. Almonte has been below expectations for a foreign hitter for much of the season, which explains his modest price, but he's turned things around over his last seven games, hitting .423 with a homer and three doubles over that stretch.