This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Tuesday's KBO slate featured mostly mid-tier pitching but produced some wildly divergent results, with teams combining for 27 runs in one game and just three in another. The former game saw the Giants smash the Bears by an 18-9 score, with Jae Hyun Choo and Hoon Jung both recording four hits and a homer. The latter featured a pitchers' duel between Casey Kelly and Wes Parsons. Parsons was more impressive, striking out 10 batters in six scoreless frames while Kelly struck out five and allowed one run, but Kelly's Twins scored a pair of runs off the Dinos' bullpen to win 2-1.
Wednesday's slate looks like it should be another rain-free one. The top of the pitcher pool features some of the best arms in the league, but there are plenty of weaker pitchers to pick on.
Among the day's top pitchers, Eric Jokisch ($9,500) gets the friendliest matchup, as he'll face an Eagles unit that ranks ninth in scoring. The lefty hasn't quite been able to recapture the form that saw him post a league-leading 2.14 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP last season, but he's still been one of the better starters in the league. Through 11 outings, he's cruised to a 2.91 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. He doesn't have big strikeout upside, posting a 16.9 percent strikeout rate for the year and whiffing a total of nine batters over his last three starts, but he could still post a big total in that category Wednesday, as the Eagles strike out more than any other team in the league.
The best reason not to select Jokisch is because you'd rather go with Ryan Carpenter ($8,400) instead, who will square off against him for the Eagles. The southpaw will face a Heroes lineup which ranks a respectable fifth in scoring but which skews heavily left-handed and has scored just 3.3 runs per game over the team's recent 3-9 stretch. Carpenter has hit a bit of a rough patch of his own, allowing four or more runs in three of his last four starts, though two of his four runs in his latest outing were unearned. Even after those recent struggles, he still owns a strong 2.67 ERA and 1.22 WHIP on the season, with his 25.4 percent strikeout rate giving him big fantasy upside.
Dan Straily ($9,900) is the most expensive of the day's three former MLB arms and faces the toughest matchup against the third-ranked Bears lineup, but he earns a spot here anyway as none of the slate's cheaper arms are remotely trustworthy. Straily was in the conversation as the best pitcher in the KBO last year, cruising to a 2.50 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 26.4 percent strikeout rate. His numbers have taken a step back across the board this season, though his 3.53 ERA is still quite good and could be even better if not for an inflated .341 BABIP. He's coming off one of his worst starts of the year, as he allowed eight runs (five earned) in 3.2 innings his last time out against the Heroes, but he's been reliable most of the time this season, posting seven quality starts in 11 trips to the mound and allowing no more than one earned run six times.
Shin Soo Choo ($5,500) wasn't living up to the expectations that come with a player who owns his extensive MLB resume at the start of his first professional season in his home country, but he can mostly blame poor batted-ball luck for that. Through his first 42 games, he owned a modest .222/.394/.410 slash line, but that came with a .247 BABIP. Just seven games later, his BABIP has risen all the way to .310, with a 12-for-23 stretch increasing his overall slash line to .263/.421/.443. He's had an excellent eye all year, walking at a 19.4 percent clip, and he's added fantasy points via his 13 steals, an impressive number for a 38-year-old. He'll get the platoon advantage Wednesday against Wiz righty Je Seong Bae, whose 3.69 ERA comes with an unimpressive 1.43 WHIP.
Preston Tucker ($4,900) hasn't looked like himself this season, but if there's ever a time to cautiously invest in him anyway, it's this slate. He'll be hitting in the league's most hitter-friendly park against Lions righty Dae Woo Kim, who's pitched almost exclusively in relief this season and owns a 5.68 ERA. Tucker's .270/.362/.377 slash line is nowhere close to the .306/.401/.557 line he produced last season, and he's homered just three times, but he's at least starting to show signs of life recently. Over his last 13 games, he's hit .306/.424/.408. He's homered just once over that stretch, but Daegu Samsung Lions Park has a way of boosting hitters' power and could do so for Tucker here.
Ah Seop Son ($3,100) has featured quite frequently here over the past week or so, and that's likely to continue as long as he remains this affordable. His low price makes sense considering his poor .672 OPS on the season, but he's capable of so much more. He had a .910 OPS last year, driven by a .352 batting average, the second-best mark in the entire league. He's hitting just .278 this season, but that mark was as low as .240 as recently as a month ago. Since that point, he's hit .342 over his last 21 games, striking out just seven times. Son has recorded seven hits over his last three games and should stay hot Wednesday, as he'll get the platoon advantage against Bears righty Young Ha Lee, who's posted an awful 11.40 ERA and 2.240 WHIP in four starts this season.
Hyung Jong Lee ($3,000) is in the same category as Son as a player whose price reflects his numbers this season but not necessarily his true talent. Injuries limited him to 81 games last season, but he homered 17 times while posting a .296/.370/.547 slash line. His .219/.336/.406 line this year is nowhere near that level, and his .258 BABIP deserves only some of the blame, as he's also seen his strikeout rate jump to 23.2 percent. He was demoted in early May following his poor start and didn't look good in his first few games back, but he's since gone 6-for-18 with a homer and six runs scored over his last five games. If he continues to look more like the 2020 version himself, he'll be a big bargain. It shouldn't be too tough for him to do that Wednesday, as he'll get the platoon advantage against Dinos lefty Young Kyu Kim, who owns a 6.47 ERA and 1.88 WHIP through seven starts.
Stacks to Consider
Over half the starters on Wednesday's slate look like great stack targets, but we'll start here with a 26-year-old who has just 34.1 innings of KBO experience to his name. He's thrown a single scoreless inning this year but owns a lifetime 5.50 ERA and 1.63 WHIP at Korea's highest level. His career 12.5 percent strikeout rate and 11.3 percent walk rate hardly suggest he deserves much better. Cha has spent most of this season in the Futures League, where he owns an unimpressive 4.17 ERA and 1.61 WHIP. Opposing batters hit .298 against him at that level, so the Lions should feast on him at the league's most hitter-friendly park Wednesday.
We'll want to prioritize the lefties against the right-handed Cha, but this stack skips the left-handed Ja Wook Koo, who's crashed hard following a brilliant start and owns a .423 OPS over his last 20 games. Instead, the right-handed Pirela is the headliner. He's been good enough to be virtually matchup-proof, hitting .344/.396/.578, and he's especially dangerous at home, where he's hit 10 of his 13 homers. Leadoff man Park should have plenty of opportunities to score Wednesday thanks to his .385 on-base percentage. He's boosted his fantasy value this year by stealing 19 bases, the second-highest total in the league. Oh signed as a free agent over the winter after helping lead the Bears to six straight Korean Series appearances. He's certainly enjoying the move from pitcher-friendly Jamsil Baseball Stadium to hitter-friendly Daegu Samsung Lions Park, as his .938 OPS is his best mark since 2017.
There are several ways to go for this spot, but it's hard not to target a pitcher with numbers as bad as Lee's have been this season. He's only made three starts and one relief appearance, but it's nearly impossible to understate just how bad his 5:18 K:BB in 11.1 innings has been. He's walked over a quarter of opposing batters, so it's no surprise to see his 10.32 ERA and 2.74 WHIP. He was much better than that last year, as it's hard not to be, but it's not as if he pitched well, finishing with a 5.68 ERA, 1.52 WHIP and 91:81 K:BB. It's hard to see him sticking around long Wednesday unless he suddenly remembers where the strike zone is.
Kang is a worthy inclusion almost regardless of the matchup. The 21-year-old has been one of the best hitters in the league since his debut back in 2018 but is reaching another level this season, hitting .407/.496/.582. He's recorded multi-hit games in 26 of his 51 appearances this season, going hitless just seven times. Almonte has stepped things up lately after a somewhat disappointing start to his KBO career. He's hit .444/.512/.611 over his last 10 games. Yoo hasn't been great this season, but even his modest .275/.395/.333 slash line is good enough to make him worth a look at his near-minimum price. That's especially true given the matchup against Lee and the fact that he's hit directly behind Kang and Almonte in the number five spot in the Wiz's last three games.