This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Ariel Miranda reached double-digit strikeouts for the third time this season Thursday, striking out 11 Eagles while allowing three runs on six hits and a walk over eight innings as the Bears earned a 10-3 victory, with Kun Woo Park (fatigue) returning to the lineup and grabbing a pair of hits. Elsewhere, the Heroes scored an even more convincing win over the Giants, emerging 13-1 victors thanks to Woo Hyun Song's five-RBI day and Jake Brigham's seven strikeouts in seven innings. Closer contests were available as well, including most notably the Lions' 8-7 win over the Landers in which Sang Su Kim's 10th-inning solo shot, his first homer of the year, proved to be the decisive hit.
Sam Gaviglio ($5,600) earns top billing here despite (or rather because of) the fact that he's the cheapest pitcher on the slate. Signed nearly a month ago to replace the injured Artie Lewicki (pectoral), Gaviglio will be making his KBO debut. As with all foreign starters, it's tough to predict exactly how well he'll pitch right away, as you can't directly conclude from a player's MLB resume how well they'll handle a step down in competition due to unknowable factors such as how good a player is at quickly adapting to life in a new country. That said, Gaviglio's 4.88 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 296.2 career innings at the highest level are perfectly respectable numbers. There's some concern here about workload in his first outing for his new team, as he threw just 3.2 innings in a Futures League tune-up Sunday, but he doesn't have to last much more than five frames to be worth his very low price here, even against a decent Giants lineup.
Wes Parsons ($10,300) is certainly a risk at his high price after he skipped his previous start with an elbow issue, but the upside he offers is huge. He showed very little in his first five starts in Korea, struggling to a 4.88 ERA and 1.75 WHIP, but he followed that up with a run of six straight quality starts in which he cruised to a 2.75 ERA and 0.94 WHIP while striking out 8.5 batters per appearance. He wasn't good in his last time out against the Heroes, allowing four runs and walking five batters, but if the brief break gets him back to his previous form, he'll be among the best starters in the league, as his 28.6 percent strikeout rate on the season is good for second among pitchers who have thrown at least 60 innings. He'll face a seventh-ranked Lions lineup Friday, a unit which doesn't have the same roar when not at the team's hitter-friendly home.
In the middle tier, Casey Kelly ($8,400) perhaps hasn't been the most convincing version of himself this season, but he's still far too good to have merely the fifth-highest price tag on the slate, especially as he faces the ninth-ranked Eagles lineup. Kelly's 3.33 ERA through 14 starts this season is almost a perfect match for his 3.32 ERA from last year, but his underlying numbers are less convincing. His WHIP has risen from 1.15 to 1.30, his strikeout rate has fallen from 18.4 percent to 16.1 percent and his walk rate has jumped from 5.5 percent to 8.8 percent. The 2021 version of Kelly is still a very competent starter, however, and while his reduced strikeout rate does dent his fantasy upside, he could be in line for a big number in that category nonetheless against an Eagles team which strikes out more than any other.
The Twins may be without a foreign hitter for several weeks, as Roberto Ramos (back) has been cut due to injury and underperformance while Justin Bour will take some time to join the team, but they have plenty of talent remaining in the lineup. Hyun Soo Kim ($4,900) has the team's strongest track record and should be more than capable of leading the lineup until Bour arrives. He's a career .321/.402/.495 hitter and is not far from that mark in his age-33 season this year, slashing .301/.391/.488. He'll get the chance to boost his numbers Friday, as he'll get the platoon advantage against Eagles righty Min Woo Kim, who was having a solid season before giving up 12 runs on six homers over his last two starts.
Suk Hwan Yang ($4,400) was mostly a part-time option for the Twins in recent years, but he's thrived this season following an offseason trade to the local rival Bears. The 29-year-old had never previously finished with an OPS north of .758 but owns an .869 mark this season, the product of a .288/.348/.521 slash line. He's homered 16 times already, well on his way towards smashing his previous career high of 22. Six of those have come in his last 19 games, a stretch in which he's hitting .342/.375/.618. He'll get the platoon advantage Friday against Tigers lefty Eui Lee Lee, a promising rookie but one who's allowed four runs in four of his last six starts.
While I like Casey Kelly at his mid-tier price, as discussed above, his diminished underlying numbers this year mean he's not at the level where you should be scared to roster anyone against him if you don't select him yourself. Ryon Healy's ($3,400) strong last few games have piqued my interest to the point that I'll be trying to fit him in if I don't wind up looking Kelly's way. He's gone 6-for-15 with a homer, a double and five RBI over his last four games, and while that's a tiny sample, I'm interested in any positive signs from struggling former MLB players. You could make the case that Healy's 66 games with a .711 OPS on the season are enough of a sample size to write him off, but anyone with a career 101 wRC+ in over 400 games at the highest level deserves the chance to prove that they've merely been in a slump. At Healy's price, it doesn't cost much to take that gamble.
The Tigers really ought to have been one of today's top stacks, as they'll face Hui Kwan Yoo, whose 79.7 mph fastball has unsurprisingly led to an 8.45 ERA and a 5.8 percent strikeout rate. The team doesn't really have three hitters I'm comfortable recommending for a stack, unfortunately, but this could be a time to take a chance on Hyoung Woo Choi ($3,200), despite the fact that he'll open the game with the platoon disadvantage. Choi's price looks like a massive discount compared to his numbers from last season, when he won the batting title while hitting .354/.438/.590 with 28 homers. He's having an awful time this season, slashing just .191/.358/.321 over 35 games while missing time with both eye and hamstring issues. He can blame a .198 BABIP for some of his struggles, however, and he's still seeing the zone quite well, walking more than he's striking out. He went 2-for-4 in his return from the injured list Thursday, which is enough for me to give him a shot at his very low price here.
Stacks to Consider
Yeong Hwan Choi is a former second-overall pick and has a 1.72 ERA this season, but that's about where the positives end. He was drafted all the way back in 2014, and the fact that he's thrown just 111.1 career KBO innings and made just three starts since then matters far more than his draft position. It's not hard to see why he's failed to establish himself, as he owns a career 6.06 ERA and 1.76 WHIP. Prior to this year, the only time he's finished with an ERA south of 6.00 is when he made just a single relief appearance back in 2015. While he's avoided allowing many runs in his two starts and five relief appearances this year, his 9:9 K:BB indicates that he's benefited from more than his fair share of good fortune. That good luck should run out Friday.
Any combination of the Landers' typical top six hitters will look quite good in this one. The stack featured here goes with the three who've been the hottest lately, even though they fall slightly awkwardly in the leadoff, cleanup and number six spots. Cleanup man Jeong Choi feels like an automatic inclusion in any Landers stack these days, even without the platoon advantage. The 34-year-old leads the league with 20 homers this season, hitting 15 of those in his last 40 games, a stretch in which he owns a 1.239 OPS. Leadoff hitter Ji Hoon Choi benefits greatly from hitting in front of a strong set of sluggers, but the second-year outfielder is becoming an interesting hitter in his own right. He's riding a 13-game hitting streak, a stretch in which he's slashing .392/.475/.569. You could swap number six hitter Han for one of the team's more expensive bats, but he's arguably the Landers' most cost-efficient option at the moment. He's not an elite bat, but his seven homers in his last 18 games means he now has 27 in 127 games (slightly less than a full season) over the last two years.
At first glance, it looks quite strange to recommend stacking against a pitcher who owns a 2.81 ERA on the year after giving up a total of four earned runs across his last six starts. It's hard to have a mark that good look much more undeserved than Baek's does, however. While he owns a stellar 1.00 ERA over that six-start stretch, that's come with 14 strikeouts against 21 walks over 36 innings. On the season as a whole, he's struck out 13.4 percent of opposing batters while walking 11.6 percent. Interestingly, the veteran lefty had far better peripherals last season, combining a roughly average 17.8 percent strikeout rate with a low 6.6 percent groundball rate, but he still managed just a 5.19 ERA. His ERA should jump up to that range quite quickly if he can't dramatically improve his strikeout and walk numbers.
We'll go with a trio of righties here against the 33-year-old southpaw. It's almost impossible to conceive of a Dinos stack that doesn't involve Yang at this point, as the relative value he provides at the catcher position is getting absurd. His 1.134 OPS leads all qualified hitters at any position, but it's more than 200 points better than the mark produced by any other backstop. Yang's dominance is somewhat overshadowing another strong year for Altherr, whose 18 homers place him just two shy of the league lead. Four of those homers have come in his last eight games, a stretch in which he has at least one hit every game. Kwon remains the Dinos' best value play, as it's a steal to get the number two hitter in the league's best lineup for under $4,000. Kwon would be a great value even without that context, however, as his .898 OPS is quite high for a player in his price range and could rise in the future along with his .268 BABIP.