This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
The start of a new week of KBO action sees the Wiz sitting atop the standings after winning five straight games, with the Twins, Lions and Landers all no more than one game back. Last year's Korean Series contestants, the Dinos and Bears, are tied for the final playoff spot at 3.5 games back. The first set of matchups this week features two pairings between those top six teams, with the Wiz visiting the Dinos and the Lions visiting the Bears. Unfortunately, rain threatens Tuesday's Wiz-Dinos contest as well as the game between the Landers and Tigers, though neither game looks like a guaranteed cancellation as of writing.
Tuesday's slate contains several top foreign starters, but many of them have been somewhat shaky lately. Eric Jokisch ($9,500) may not be recreating his dominance from last season, when he paired his league-leading 2.14 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP, but he's looked quite good recently and for most of the season. He owns a 2.66 ERA and 1.24 WHIP overall, but he's been particularly strong over his last five starts, recording a 1.20 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. That makes him a very strong option against the eighth-ranked Twins lineup Tuesday.
The best reason not to select Jokisch is because you'd rather start Casey Kelly ($7,300) against him instead. Kelly was dominant in his first two KBO campaigns, posting a combined 2.93 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, numbers that ranked in the top three among pitchers who threw at least 250 innings. He hasn't been quite the same guy this year, though there's nothing wrong with his 3.38 ERA or 1.25 WHIP. While his 9:6 K:BB over his last two starts isn't particularly good, he's allowed a total of two runs on just seven hits across 12 innings over that stretch. He may not be the top-tier starter he was in previous seasons, but he's still far better than what his price tag suggests.
I'm less interested in Dan Straily ($9,900) here than usual, as it's tough to be fully confident in him as the day's most expensive starter given his recent struggles, but if there's ever a matchup which should help him turn things around, it's against the ninth-ranked Eagles lineup. His high price tag certainly would have been justified throughout most of last year, as he was one of the best pitchers in the entire league, finishing with a 2.50 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 26.4 percent strikeout rate. Through the end of May this season, he was worse but still good, posting a 2.95 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, but his first two outings of June have been disasters. He's allowed 15 runs (12 earned) on 14 hits in just 9.2 innings, striking out nine while walking seven. That's a rather discouraging stretch, but his ceiling is still incredibly high given the matchup, so he's worth consideration especially in larger tournaments given that those bad outings could turn others away.
Few hitters are hotter than Hoon Jung ($4,500) right now. The 33-year-old has been a good hitter but not a great one over his 12-year career, with his .809 OPS last season representing his best mark as a regular. He's blown past that with an .885 OPS this season, the product of a .320/.410/.475 slash line, though much of that is down to his dominant performance over his last 10 games. He's recorded at least one hit in all 10, posting a .477/.489/.591 slash line with 19 RBI over that stretch. Not only is he riding a 10-game hitting streak, however, he's also riding a seven-game multi-hit streak. He'll get the platoon advantage Tuesday against Eagles lefty Ryan Carpenter, who owns a strong 3.01 ERA on the year but has allowed at least four runs in four of his last five starts.
If you want to bet against Dan Straily given his recent struggles, Eun Won Jung ($4,100) remains the most cost-efficient choice among the Eagles' best bats. The 21-year-old leadoff man continues to display his excellent eye, walking in 18.8 percent of his plate appearances, a number which trails only Shin Soo Choo and his 16 years of MLB experience among qualified hitters. When combined with his .290 batting average, that's led to a .426 on-base percentage, the sixth-best mark among qualified hitters. He has only modest power, homering just twice while slugging .411, but that's baked into his price, making him a solid, affordable option at second or third base, two of the thinner positions in the league.
If the Wiz-Dinos game is able to be played, you'll likely want to load up on Wiz hitters against Jae Hak Lee, who posted a 6.55 ERA last year and gave up 12 runs over 7.2 innings at the start of this season before being demoted. Zoilo Almonte ($3,800) offers an affordable way to grab a piece of the team's lineup. Almonte's modest .287/.349/.416 season slash line is below expectations for a foreign hitter, but that doesn't reflect the way he's been swinging the bat lately. He struggled to a .702 OPS over his first 41 games in Korea before hitting .358/.424/.528 over his last 14 contests.
Sei Hyok Park ($3,400) didn't fit into the Bears stack featured in the following section, but he makes for a solid budget option behind the plate given the matchup against Dae Woo Kim (discussed below). Park isn't one of the KBO's top offensive catchers, but he's generally swung a decent enough bat, posting a wRC+ north of 90 for four straight seasons. His .220/.340/.268 slash line this season is quite poor, but that's come in just 15 games. He struggled to a .439 OPS in 10 games to start the year before being shut down for nearly two months after a pitch hit his face. He's been much better since his return last week, going 4-for-10 at the plate with a pair of doubles, walking twice while striking out just once.
Stacks to Consider
Dae Woo Kim served as a swingman last season, making nine starts and 19 relief appearances, and it's not hard to see why he wasn't given more opportunities in the rotation. Neither his 5.10 ERA nor his 1.56 WHIP were very encouraging, and neither came as much of a surprise given his 10.6 percent strikeout rate. The story is much the same this season even with just one of his 15 appearances thus far coming as a starter. His 11.4 percent strikeout rate is slightly better but still very poor, making his 5.93 ERA and 1.45 WHIP come as little surprise. He gave up four runs in five innings while striking out just two batters against the struggling Tigers his last time out, and it would be a surprise if he fared much better here.
We'll go with a trio of lefties here against the veteran righty. Fernandez is perhaps slightly overpriced as the most expensive hitter on the slate, but he's perfectly usable given the matchup. He's been the same player as usual this season, striking out just 7.0 percent of the time while hitting .330. Jae Hwan Kim has been in a bit of a slump, grabbing just three hits in his last seven games, though two of those hits have cleared the fence. His 14 homers on the season tie him for second, the same place he occupies with his 47 RBI. In Tae Kim never received more than 110 plate appearances in any of his first five years in the league, but he's looked quite capable in his first year as an everyday player, hitting .267/.373/.404 with more walks (26) than strikeouts (25).
The opposite side of the same contest features the other most appealing stack, at least among the games that aren't threatened by rain. The 25-year-old Jung Soo Park has never made more than four starts in any of his five KBO seasons, which is hardly a surprise given his career 6.50 ERA and 1.63 WHIP. He's made four starts and one relief appearance this season with very similar results, struggling to a 6.75 ERA and 1.69 WHIP. He was particularly poor his last time out against the Giants, his first outing for the Bears after coming over from the Dinos as compensation when his former team signed ex-Bear Yong Chan Lee as a free agent, giving up nine runs (eight earned) on eight hits in 4.1 innings of work.
Pirela leads this stack despite not getting the platoon advantage against Park, as it's hard not to include the player who's leading all hitters in DraftKings points per game. He's gotten to that mark via a .975 OPS and a league-leading 15 homers. Oh missed the start of the year due to an abdominal injury but has been great since returning in late April, homering nine times in 37 games while matching Pirela with a .975 OPS. He's been particularly hot over his last 12 games, hitting .467/.529/.844 with four homers and 16 RBI. Leadoff man Hae Min Park is a quality table-setter, hitting .297 with a 12.9 percent walk rate. He's also boosted his fantasy value with 19 steals, the second-best mark in the league.