This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Last week's KBO action saw a shakeup atop the standings. The Wiz, winners of seven of their last eight and 13 of their last 17, jumped to the top of the standings and now rank second in both runs scored and runs allowed per game. The Twins sit half a game back, while this year's surprise teams, the Lions and Landers, sit 1.5 and 2.5 games out, respectively. The Dinos are now 4.5 games back of the lead but hold onto the fifth and final playoff spot by a game and a half over the Heroes, whose five-game winning streak saw them jump up into sixth, ahead of the Bears, who've lost four in a row. The Giants, Tigers and Eagles remain out of the picture entirely, with the latter losing eight games in a row.
This week's midweek series will feature two matchups between the top four teams in the league, as the first-place Wiz visit the second-place Twins while the third-place Lions take on the fourth-place Landers. Rain doesn't appear to be a factor for a slate which features just one foreign starter but a number of the league's most interesting Korean arms.
Drew Rucinski ($9,700) is that lone foreign starter and is deservedly the most expensive option on the slate, as the fact that he's facing the anemic Tigers lineup is more than enough to offset the fact that he's coming off a start in which he got blown up for seven runs. It's been a rather odd season for Rucinski, who's given up no more than one run in 10 of his 14 starts this season but no fewer than six in each of the other four. None of those awful outings have come in consecutive starts, and the most recent one prior to his last trip to the mound came back in late May, so there's no particular reason to fear that an offense as weak as the Tigers can give him a rough time Tuesday. Taking the bad with the good reveals a starter who owns a strong 3.08 ERA on the year. That's a near match for the 3.05 ERA he produced in both of his first two seasons in the league, so there's every reason to believe he can maintain a similar performance level going forward.
Won Joon Choi ($8,500) began last season as a reliever and wasn't a particularly notable one, posting a 5.40 ERA in 30 innings out of the bullpen. He was called upon to enter the rotation in mid-July due to injuries and underperformance by other Bears starters, however, and he pitched well enough to remain there the rest of the year, finishing with a 3.29 ERA in his 18 starts. He's only getting better in his first full season as a starter this year. Through 13 starts, he owns a 2.48 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. He's given up more than three runs just once all year and is riding a streak of five consecutive quality starts. The only thing holding him back from being a top-tier fantasy starter is that he's done it all despite a modest 16.6 percent strikeout rate. That may cap his upside, but he should have a very high floor Tuesday against the ninth-ranked Eagles lineup.
Plenty of the day's cheaper arms have at least something going for them, but I'm particularly interested in Chae Heung Choi ($7,200). That may come as a surprise given his poor 5.74 ERA and 1.70 WHIP on the season, but those numbers don't reflect his talent. Choi led all qualified Korean starters last season with a 3.58 ERA and finished second among that same group with a 1.25 WHIP. He missed the first part of this season with an abdominal injury, and it sure looks as though he wasn't fully healthy when he returned in early May. He struggled to a 7.82 ERA and 1.93 WHIP in his first four starts, but he's since turned things around, producing a 2.65 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in his last three outings. That's enough to make him fairly interesting at his modest price, even against a Landers lineup that ranks fourth in scoring.
Baek Ho Kang ($5,400) has shown no signs of slowing down this season, bringing his batting average back above .400 after going 1-for-1 Sunday. You might think that statline means he got hurt, but he in fact came to the plate four times, walking in three of them. That wasn't even his highest walk total of the week, as he was issued four free passes by the Tigers on Thursday. He's now at better than a coin flip (.507) to reach base in a given trip to the plate, the product of his incredible .402 average and a 16.6 percent walk rate. The only thing missing from his offensive game right now is elite power, though he did homer twice Saturday to give him nine for the year. He should stay hot Tuesday, as he'll get the platoon advantage against Twins righty Chan Kyu Im, who owns a 9.26 ERA and a 6:12 K:BB in three starts this year.
The Lions aren't as strong of a lineup when they aren't at home, but Min Ho Kang ($4,800) is worth a look nonetheless Tuesday. Even at age 35, he remains one of the top offensive catchers in the league, ranking second among regulars at the position in batting average (.329), on-base percentage (.391), OPS (.898) and RBI (40), trailing only Eui Ji Yang in each category. Yang is nearly always an excellent choice given his transcendent talent, but selecting Kang to differentiate yourself from the crowd doesn't mean giving up on getting a real threat at the position. He'll be especially interesting Tuesday, as he'll get the platoon advantage against Landers lefty Won Seok Oh, whose decent 4.28 ERA comes with a poor 1.51 WHIP.
Ah Seop Son ($4,000) remains a great budget choice whenever the Giants face an unintimidating righty, though he may not qualify as a bargain for much longer. Won Tae Choi certainly fits that category, as his 3.36 ERA isn't supported by his 1.45 WHIP and 14.8 percent strikeout rate. Son struggled at the plate through his first 45 games, hitting just .261/.341/.287, but he's since turned things around dramatically. He's gone hitless just twice in his last 19 games, slashing .436/.500/.577 over that stretch. He obviously won't maintain that kind of performance for the rest of the year, but he should maintain a very high batting average, as the last time he hit below .295 came all the way back in 2009.
Hui Dong Kwon ($3,400) remains one of the best inexpensive outfielders on most slates. Anyone who cost this much while regularly batting second for the league's best lineup would be worth a look, but Kwon would easily justify this kind of price even without those circumstances. His .274/.411/.504 slash line is already quite good, but it could be even higher if not for a .267 BABIP. Both his 17.3 percent walk rate and .231 ISO represent career highs. Kwon has hit .417 in nine games since returning from a hamstring injury, and he should stay hot Tuesday against Gi Yeong Im, who's been pitching better lately but still owns a 4.54 ERA on the year.
Stacks to Consider
We might not be stacking against Kim in a few years, as the 18-year-old lefty had enough potential to be selected second-overall in the most recent draft. He hasn't come close to making good on that potential through four starts this year, however, as he's struggled to a 6.35 ERA and 2.00 WHIP. His 11.0 percent strikeout rate and 12.2 percent walk rate hardly suggest he deserves much better. His time in the Futures League also doesn't provide any reason for optimism, as he owns a 5.70 ERA and 2.24 WHIP in five outings at that level. He hasn't really even hinted at success thus far in his short professional career, so there's little reason to think he'll give the Bears much trouble.
The Bears are without one of their top right-handed bats in Kun Woo Park, who was demoted last week due to fatigue. That means we'll pair the left-handed Fernandez here with two right-handed bats. Fernandez certainly hasn't struggled against same-sided pitching this season, hitting .388/.494/.507 against them in 83 trips to the plate. Yang never produced an OPS higher than .758 in his five seasons with the Twins, but he's hit far better following an offseason trade to the Bears. After hitting .343/.371/.612 with five homers in his last 17 games, he now owns an .862 OPS on the season. Hur is primarily a contact hitter, but he's among the KBO's best in that area. He's striking out just 6.5 percent of the time this season while hitting .307/.359/.417.
The Heroes have featured here quite a lot lately, but it's not hard to see why, as they've averaged 6.8 runs per game over their last eight games, going 7-1 over that stretch. That run should continue here against Noh. The 37-year-old was out of the league entirely and pitching in Australia in 2019 but returned to produce a respectable enough 4.87 ERA and 1.35 WHIP last year. He's fallen off a cliff through nine starts this season, however, posting a 6.97 ERA and 1.79 WHIP while striking out just 13.3 percent of opposing batters. He's been slightly better lately, allowing five runs in 10.2 innings over his last two starts, but it says quite a bit about how his season is going that a 4.41 ERA counts as a good stretch.
This stack skips Jung Hoo Lee, who's gone hitless in three straight games, in favor of three other lefties, though Lee is talented enough that betting on a bounceback certainly isn't a bad idea. Kim has been perfectly capable of leading a stack on his own this season, though. He's now hitting .295 on the season after recording six multi-hit games in his last 12, and he's boosted his fantasy value throughout the year with a league-leading 25 steals. Seo was bumped up to the leadoff spot on June 13 despite the fact that he was hitting just .260/.380/.323 up to that point. The 2014 MVP has thrived in the role, hitting .286/.385/.518 in 13 games since the switch, homering three times and scoring 10 runs. Yong Kyu Lee toiled away for a struggling Eagles team the last few seasons, but he's seemingly enjoying being part of a much better lineup. His .767 OPS is his best mark since 2016, and he's been particularly hot over his last 11 games, hitting .432/.523/.568.