This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Friday's KBO slate was shortened to four games, as the Twins-Lions contest wound up getting rained out. The games that remained provided more than their fair share of scoring, however, with four of the eight teams crossing the plate at least nine times. The Heroes led the way with their 14-5 blowout win over the Tigers, with Geon Chang Seo going 3-for-5 with a homer while Hye Seong Kim drove in five runs. The Dinos and Landers had quite the shootout, with the former scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 11-10. Sung Bum Na, Jin Hyuk No and Jae Won Lee all had four hits. Meanwhile, Walker Lockett had a rare poor outing, allowing six runs in four innings as the Giants scored a 9-1 win, with Jun Woo Jeon going 4-for-5 with a homer and Dan Straily throwing six innings without allowing an earned run. Elsewhere, William Cuevas struck out seven and allowed just two hits over five innings as the Wiz beat the Eagles by a 2-0 score in a game which was cut short by rain.
Saturday's slate will also contain just four games, as neither half of the Twins-Lions doubleheader will be included. The small slate offers a few reliable pitching options alongside plenty of viable stack targets.
Eric Jokisch ($10,700) feels like a lock in on this slate, partially because he's facing the last-ranked Tigers lineup, and partially because the only other reliable starters (Hyeong Jun So and Ryan Carpenter, who could have featured here if not for the fact that I try to include at least one cheaper starter per slate) are facing each other. Jokisch hasn't quite matched his excellent numbers from last season, when he led all qualified starters with a 2.14 ERA and finished fourth with a 1.06 WHIP, but he hasn't been far behind that pace. After allowing a total of just two earned runs across his last three starts, his ERA now sits at 2.46 on the year, the fifth-best mark among qualified starters. He also struck out 20 batters in 19 innings over that stretch, raising his strikeout rate to 19.4 percent.
Hyeong Jun So ($9,200) started last year slowly before figuring things out and becoming a very reliable arm, winning the Rookie of the Year award with a 3.86 ERA despite a modest 15.2 percent strikeout rate. He appears to be following the same formula again this season. He struggled to a 6.83 ERA and 1.84 WHIP over his first six starts before figuring things out and cruising to a 1.20 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over his last five. In his last three trips to the mound, he didn't allow a single earned run. He still doesn't have big strikeout upside, as his strikeout rate sits at a still-mediocre 17.1 percent this season, but he could post a big number in that category Saturday against an Eagles team which strikes out more than any other.
There's really not much reason to recommend any of the five cheapest starters on Saturday's slate, but if you really want to fit in more expensive bats, Min Gyu Kim $5,900 looks like the only one worth considering. The young right-hander will face a righty-heavy Giants lineup in the league's most pitcher-friendly park, Jamsil Baseball Stadium, and he's coming off a strong outing in his lone start of the year, as he struck out five while walking two and allowing just three hits in 5.1 scoreless innings against the Wiz. Kim's 6.39 ERA and 1.62 WHIP are both quite poor, but they're inflated by a pair of relief outings which have accounted for 13 of the 18 runs he's allowed all year. In his other 13 appearances, he owns a 2.08 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. "Ignore his bad outings and he suddenly looks like a good pitcher" isn't exactly sound analysis, but relievers often get left in to protect others' workloads at the expense of their own numbers, which appears to be what happened here. At the very least, it's enough of a reason to look at him as a bargain option given the lack of alternatives.
Jeong Choi ($5,700) is one of the best KBO hitters of all time, as he ranks second with 385 career homers. At age 34, he still has plenty of time left to close the 82-homer gap that separates him from all-time leader Seung Yeop Lee. He certainly isn't showing any signs of slowing down, as he's homered in each of his last two games and five times in his last 11 contests, giving him 18 for the year and tying him with Eui Ji Yang for the league lead. There's no reason he can't keep the hot streak going Saturday, as he'll get the platoon advantage against Dinos lefty Yoon Goo Kang, who's making his first start since 2017 and his first appearance of any kind this season, having struggled to a 6.86 ERA and 2.00 WHIP in 21 innings of relief last year.
Choi's teammate Jamie Romak ($4,600) will also get the platoon advantage against Kang, making him a strong second-tier option at first base or in the outfield. The veteran Canadian slugger isn't having his best season, but he can likely blame his .232 BABIP for that, as he's maintained an .825 OPS despite a .238 batting average. His 14.2 percent walk rate is above his career 13.1 percent walk rate, while his .238 ISO isn't far below his career mark of .266. There's no doubt about his ability to hit for power, as his 151 homers since he joined the KBO back in 2017 trail only Choi, and he's shown plenty of pop recently, clearing the fence three times in his last six games.
While Min Gyu Kim did earn a mention above as the best cheap option on the slate, he's certainly not nearly intimidating enough that you should avoid using any Giants against him if you don't select him yourself. Ah Seop Son ($4,000) will get the platoon advantage against him and is the team's best option. Son is one of the best contact hitters in the league, posting a batting average of .295 or better in each season since 2010. It looked like he would fail to keep that streak going this season, as he was hitting just .257 through his first 43 games, but he's since gone on to hit .425 over his last 22, including multi-hit games in five of his last six, dragging his batting average all the way up to .312.
In Tae Kim ($3,300) has jumped back up to the top two spots in the Bears' order in his last six starts thanks to Kun Woo Park's surprising demotion. Anyone who's this affordable while occupying a key spot in one of the league's best lineups deserves consideration almost regardless of their skillset, but Kim isn't useless there either. The 26-year-old played merely a part-time role prior to this year, never receiving more than 110 plate appearances in a season, but he's hit a very respectable .267/.384/.386 this year in his first campaign as an everyday player. He's especially interesting Saturday, as he'll get the platoon advantage against Giants righty Yeong Hwan Choi, who's only allowed one earned run in a small sample of 11 innings this season but whose career ERA sits at 6.16.
Stacks to Consider
The Heroes dropped 14 runs on the Tigers in Friday's series opener and should be set for another strong performance against another struggling Tigers starter. Kim probably wouldn't still be in the team's rotation if not for the fact that both of the team's foreign starters, Aaron Brooks (arm) and Daniel Mengden (elbow) are injured. In 37 innings this season, he owns an 8.27 ERA and 1.73 WHIP, numbers that should come as no surprise given his 19:24 K:BB. He was similarly poor in his 13-inning debut last season, struggling to a 9.69 ERA and a 6:6 K:BB. It's unclear how deep he'll be asked to go in this one, as he was called on to throw an inning of relief Thursday, but replacing Kim with a long reliever early in the game won't make this stack any less appealing.
Kim may be a lefty, but I'm comfortable starting Lee against him anyway because he's just that good and because Kim may not be in the game for long. The 22-year-old is already one of if not the best contact hitter in the league, batting .348 thanks in large part to a tiny 6.2 percent strikeout rate. Joining him in this stack is a pair of righties. Dong Won Park isn't nearly as hot as he was over his last 11 games of May, when he homered seven times and recorded a 1.815 OPS, but he's still hitting well enough for a catcher, posting a .780 OPS over his last 13 games. Byung Ho Park has also had his share of ups and downs, but he's on an up over his last seven games, hitting .333/.412/.556.
Kim has made three starts at the KBO level this season but has failed to advance beyond the fourth inning in any of them. That may be a small sample, but nothing about his 6.10 ERA, 1.94 WHIP or 12:11 K:BB gives any cause for optimism. He wasn't good in 32 innings at the Futures League level, either, striking out 29 while walking 22 and posting a 5.06 ERA and 1.78 WHIP. It's not just the transition to a starting role that's given him trouble, as he was poor as a reliever as well last season, walking more batters (45) than he struck out (42) and finishing with a 5.13 ERA and 1.73 WHIP. There's no reason to believe the 27-year-old lefty will suddenly figure things out against the league's best lineup Saturday.
We'll go with a trio of righties here against the struggling southpaw. Yang is on an incredible tear, homering seven times and driving in 19 runs over his last 11 games while posting a 1.422 OPS. Altherr had been in a slump but is pulling out of it over his last four games, homering twice to give him 16 for the year, good for a share of third place. Kwon is included here despite the fact that he hasn't started the last two games, as he grabbed a hit off the bench in both and should return to the lineup against a lefty. A 17.3 percent walk rate and .222 ISO have kept his OPS up at a strong .877 despite the fact that a .253 BABIP has helped hold his batting average to a modest .259.