This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Despite rain threatening several games Friday, we wound up with close to a full slate of KBO action, with only the Giants-Tigers game getting washed away. With a strong group of starters taking the hill, it's perhaps no surprise that the eight active teams averaged just 3.4 runs apiece, with none scoring more than six. The most offense came from the Wiz, who rode a three-hit performance from Jae Gyun Hwang and a quality start from Young Pyo Ko to a 6-4 win over the Landers. On the pitching side, Ryan Carpenter was excellent, striking out nine while allowing just one run in seven innings of work, but he was robbed of a win when the Heroes scored three runs after he left the game to win 4-3. Min Ho Lee also turned in a very strong performance, giving up just one run on four hits over eight innings of work as the Twins beat the Lions, 3-1.
Thankfully, the rain appears to have finally disappeared, and we should get a full, five-game Saturday slate. Games kick off slightly earlier at 5:00 a.m. ET and feature a deep group of playable pitchers.
Casey Kelly ($8,100) has been on a bit of an odd run recently, allowing exactly four or exactly zero runs in each of his last six outings. The three of those which have come since the Olympic break have largely been encouraging, however. He threw a combined 14 shutout innings against the Landers and Giants in his first two, and while he allowed four runs in six innings against the Dinos in his most recent start, he also struck out eight batters, his second-highest total of the season. He now owns a 20:1 K:BB in 20 innings since the break, dragging his strikeout rate up to 17.8 percent, a number not far from his 18.4 percent mark last year. He'll look to stay hot in pitcher-friendly Jamsil Baseball Stadium against a decent Heroes lineup that ranks fourth in scoring but is without star outfielder Jung Hoo Lee (side).
Nick Kingham ($7,900) is another strong mid-priced option. He didn't look like a particularly good signing for the Eagles early in the year, as he produced a mediocre 4.59 ERA through his first six starts, but even that stretch came with a perfectly fine 29:9 K:BB in 33.1 innings and a 1.20 WHIP. Over his last eight outings, he's been quite good, cruising to a 2.79 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. He's benefited from an unsustainable .250 BABIP this season, but his 20.1 percent strikeout rate and 8.0 percent walk rate are both better than league average and make for a strong combination. He'll face a Dinos lineup that has managed no more than four runs in four straight games and isn't nearly as intimidating as it used to be after four starters were suspended due to health-protocol violations over the break.
If you've got the budget space and can stomach some risk, consider Wilmer Font ($8,800). For most of the season, Font was excellent, posting a 3.36 ERA and 1.07 WHIP through the end of June while striking out 82 batters in 75 innings of work. He's stumbled over his last five starts, posting a 5.46 ERA over that stretch, but his underlying numbers suggest things aren't all that bad. He still has a 1.07 WHIP over that stretch and has whiffed an impressive 35 batters in 28 innings. His strikeout prowess is the primary reason to be interested in him, as his 27.7 percent strikeout rate ranks second among qualified starters and gives him big upside on any given night. Look for him to bounce back here against the ninth-ranked Tigers lineup.
Ja Wook Koo ($5,800) has featured frequently in this section in recent days, but it's hard not to keep mentioning him given how well he's hitting. He's recorded at least one hit in all 14 games since the break, slashing .370/.453/.611 over that stretch. He's also showed off his wheels, stealing six bases to bring his season total to 22, already a career high and tied for the third-best mark in the league. Just one of the 13 other players with double-digit steals can beat his 13 homers (Shin Soo Choo), and just one (Chang Ki Hong) can beat his .855 OPS. The all-around threat should stay hot Saturday, as he'll get the platoon advantage against Wiz righty Odrisamer Despaigne, who had a strong first half but has allowed 13 runs in 13.2 innings since the break.
On the opposite side of that same contest, selecting some Wiz batters seems like a good idea against Lions lefty Chae Heung Choi, who finished with a 3.58 ERA last year but has a 5.94 mark this season. Jae Gyun Hwang ($4,900) may be the team's best value Saturday given that the excellent Baek Ho Kang comes in north of $6,000 despite getting the platoon disadvantage against Choi. Hwang can't match his teammate's ridiculous numbers, but his .325/.393/.473 slash line on the season is certainly nothing to complain about. He's been particularly hot over his last three games, going 10-for-13 at the plate while scoring eight runs.
In Tae Kim ($3,900) has led off for the Bears in two of the team's last three games and will be a strong option at his inexpensive price if he occupies that same spot Saturday. The 27-year-old was a fourth-overall pick back in 2013 but played infrequently prior to this year, topping out at 110 plate appearances in a season. He's made the most of his regular role this season, however, hitting a respectable .266/.390/.384. Excellent plate discipline has been his best skill and makes him a good fit for the top of the order, as he's walked in 16.4 percent of his plate appearances while striking out 15.4 percent of the time. He'll get the platoon advantage Friday against Giants righty Enderson Franco, who owns a mediocre 4.41 ERA.
While Wilmer Font was mentioned above as a pitcher worth targeting due to his bounceback potential against a weak Tigers lineup, Preston Tucker ($3,600) deserves consideration if you'd rather bet on Font's slump continuing. Tucker was one of the best hitters in the league last season, with his .955 OPS tying him with Baek Ho Kang as the fifth-best mark among qualified hitters. He hasn't come anywhere near that this season, hitting just .239/.351/.345, but that player should still be in there somewhere. His line should rise down the stretch along with his .262 BABIP, and he's still showing excellent plate discipline, walking more than he's struck out for the second year in a row. Things may finally be turning around for Tucker, as he's reached base nine times over his last three games, and given the talent he's shown in the past, it may be smart to jump quickly at any small hot streaks considering his very inexpensive price tag.
Stacks to Consider
There's no better stack target than Young Ha Lee on Saturday, though that's been true for nearly all of the 23-year-old's starts this season. He returned to the rotation at the start of this season after having success as a reliever late last year, but things could hardly have gone worse for him and the Bears. Through nine starts, he owns a 10.95 ERA, and while it's tough to fully deserve an ERA quite that bad, the rest of his statline doesn't paint a much more optimistic picture. He owns a 2.35 WHIP and has walked 17.4 percent of opposing batters while striking out just 10.0 percent. He's coming off his worst start of the season, as he allowed 10 runs in 3.1 innings his last time out against the Eagles, the lowest-scoring team in the league. Things can't get much worse for Lee, but they're unlikely to get much better any time soon.
Figuring out exactly who to select from the Giants' lineup is rarely an easy task, as the team has six regulars that average between 7.3 and 8.6 DraftKings points per game, revealing good depth but no true stars. Dae Ho Lee was a superstar at the KBO level 10 to 15 years ago and remains a very useful player, hitting .295 with 14 homers. Son's .295 batting average matches his lowest mark of the previous 11 seasons, and while he's been in a bit of a slump since the break, he's the lone Giant who regularly hits near the top of the order who will get the platoon advantage Saturday. An earns the third spot here, though it could just as easily go to any of the Giants' similarly decent hitters. An has been a strong contact hitter this season, slashing .304/.369/.441.
It's unusual for me to recommend stacking the last-ranked Eagles lineup, but it's hard not to recommend stacking against Song, who's been one of the worst starters in the league this season. Out of the 39 pitchers who have thrown at least 60 innings this season, his 6.20 ERA is the highest mark. His underlying numbers don't tell quite as bad of a story, as his 1.67 WHIP is merely fourth-worst and his combination of an 18.7 percent strikeout rate and 9.0 percent walk rate is completely fine. Song is still young at age 21 and produced a 3.70 ERA as a swingman last season with similar strikeout and walk numbers, so it's possible he could turn things around at any time. He hasn't shown any signs of doing so recently, however, allowing 18 runs in 18.1 innings over his last four starts, striking out 13 while walking 12.
Stacking the Eagles is somewhat uncomfortable, and it's even more uncomfortable to do so without my usual favorite Eun Won Jung, but he's far too expensive at $5,100 and has been slumping recently. Perez is perfectly capable of headlining this stack. He hasn't done much through nine games in Korea, posting a .609 OPS, but that sample size is small enough that it shouldn't override the fact that he's appeared in 651 games at the MLB level. He's also riding a six-game hitting streak, with his overall line dragged down by his 1-for-12 performance over his first three games. Choi is a solid option at catcher, as not many backstops have a lineup position nearly as good as the number two spot he typically occupies. He's looked good at the plate over his last 10 games, posting an .859 OPS. Kim is very inexperienced, coming to the plate just 105 total times in his KBO career, but the Eagles seem to love his bat, as he's hit third or fourth in 10 of his 11 starts this season. He's done nothing to suggest the role is undeserved, hitting .450/.511/.600 in his tiny sample.