This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Strong pitching performances were available throughout Thursday's KBO slate. Ariel Miranda was excellent as always, striking out 10 while allowing just one run in six innings, but the Giants wound up winning 7-2 following a bullpen implosion by the Bears. Elsewhere, Wes Parsons allowed one run in six innings while Tae In Won allowed two runs in seven, but Won's Lions went on to win by a 5-4 score after scoring four runs in the ninth inning. On the offensive side, Jared Hoying led the way in the Wiz's 9-2 win over the Heroes, going 3-for-4 with a grand slam, while Hernan Perez homered and reached base four times in the Eagles' 4-3 victory over the Landers.
We'll have another full, five-game slate on DraftKings Friday. The set of games features a fairly deep group of playable pitching options, though there are still a few pitchers worth stacking against.
Casey Kelly ($9,900) deserves his spot as the most expensive pitcher on Friday's slate. He was merely good in the first half, finishing with a 3.56 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, but he's been dominant since the break. In 12 starts, he owns a 2.15 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, striking out 61 batters in 62.2 innings. He's been among the most consistent starters in the league even since he arrived in Korea in 2019, as he ranks second in ERA (2.94) and third in WHIP (1.17) among pitchers who have thrown at least 300 innings over that stretch. That all adds up to a pitcher who easily justifies his high price tag, though the deal gets considerably better once you add in the fact he'll get to face the last-ranked Tigers lineup.
Won Joon Choi's ($9,400) track record as a starter only goes back to the middle of last season, but he's been just about as good as Kelly this season. He's been ahead of Kelly by a hair in both ERA (2.84 to 2.97) and WHIP (1.19 to 1.22), though he's gotten there in a less fantasy-friendly way, as his standout control (as seen in his 5.9 percent walk rate) has been more than enough to offset a slightly below-average 17.1 percent strikeout rate. Choi has been strong throughout the season, though he's been particularly strong lately, cruising to a 1.41 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. He'll face a tough assignment against a surging Giants lineup that now leads the league in scoring, but he'll at least get to do so at Jamsil Baseball Stadium, the most pitcher-friendly park in the league.
For an inexpensive option, consider Min Hyeok Shin ($6,300). The 22-year-old hasn't been particularly good for much of the season, though his overall 4.88 ERA and 1.45 WHIP are arguably decent enough on their own to justify his low price. He's been far better recently, however, allowing one or fewer earned runs in three of his last four starts. Of course, he did allow eight runs on 12 hits in just three innings in the other start during that stretch, but on the whole he's done enough recently to look like a risk worth taking. On the season as a whole, he owns a 6.6 percent walk rate, a number which should generally be strong enough to offset a slightly sub-par 16.4 percent strikeout rate. He'll face a Lions lineup that ranks a mere fifth in scoring despite the fact that their home park (where they won't be playing Friday) is the most hitter-friendly venue in the league.
Not many hitters can carry a .400 average into mid-August, but Baek Ho Kang ($5,600) did just that this year in his age-21 season, hitting .400 as late as Aug. 17. He's since proved he's human, as he hit 240/.315/.416 over his next 34 games, but with a talent as remarkable as he is it doesn't take much to believe in a turnaround. He's provided plenty of reason to believe over his last eight games, hitting .400/.595/.640. He should justify his lofty price tag Friday, as he'll get the platoon advantage against Heroes righty Chan Heon Jeong, who owns a 14.81 ERA and 3.48 WHIP over his last three starts.
Aaron Altherr ($4,500) has been slightly disappointing for much of this season, as he owned an .834 OPS as recently as two weeks ago after posting an .897 OPS last year in his first season in Korea. He's been on an absolute tear over his last 10 games, however, hitting .389/.436/.806 with four homers and three steals. He now sits third in the league with 28 homer runs; no one else in the top 10 in that category has double-digit steals, but he's swiped 16 bags after stealing 22 last season. His all-around production should continue Friday, as he'll get the platoon advantage against fellow former big-leaguer Mike Montgomery, who's struggled to a 5.23 ERA through his first seven KBO starts.
Hernan Perez ($4,000) hasn't been a top-tier bat like many foreign hitters are in the KBO, but he's certainly justified his price tag here as a mid-tier option at either second or third base. There's nothing to complain about in his .300/.347/.471 slash line, while he's added a respectable five homers and four steals. He's been particularly hot over his last five games, going 9-for-19 with a pair of homers. He and several of his Eagles teammates look like interesting options Friday against Landers righty Sam Gaviglio, who's struggled to a 6.56 ERA through his first 11 starts in Korea.
Byung Ho Park ($3,700) was once among the best hitters in Korea, crossing the 50-homer threshold in both 2014 and 2015 before making the jump overseas to briefly play for the Minnesota Twins. He's certainly not that same player any more, but he's still worth a look as a budget option at first base when he's on his game. His .224/.328/.431 slash line on the season is nothing special, but he's been seeing the ball well over his last 15 games, hitting .333/.358/.608 with four homers. He'll get a decent enough matchup Friday against William Cuevas, who's been very inconsistent this season and owns a 4.54 ERA.
Stacks to Consider
Nam has been fine enough thus far in his KBO career, but that career has lasted just 5.1 innings. He's made a pair of starts but hasn't thrown more than three innings in either. The fact that the Landers should face relievers for as many as six or seven innings is certainly part of what makes them the top stack here, though if Nam is asked to go deeper than usual, that won't hurt. He's only allowed two runs thus far at the KBO level, though he's struck out just two batters while walking three and hitting two more. He also owns a low 12.2 percent strikeout rate in parts of two seasons at the Futures League level, so he's unlikely to miss many bats at the highest level in Korea. The stack listed here features a trio of lefties who hit third through fifth Thursday, headlined by longtime MLB veteran Choo, who's hit .368 with five homers over his last 20 games.
The Giants drafted Seo in the regional round of the 2019 draft (a round which precedes the bulk of the draft in which teams can select one player from their local area), but he's yet to do much to demonstrate that potential through his first three KBO campaigns. He recorded ERAs of 5.47 and 5.18 in his first two seasons, but things have gone significantly downhill this season. In 50 innings as a swingman, he owns a 7.38 ERA and 1.92 WHIP. He's been particularly poor in his last four starts, allowing 21 runs (19 earned) on 33 hits in just 16 innings. Most of the Bears' top bats look good given the matchup against Seo, but we'll go here with the top three lefties in the order. Jung's inexpensive price should make it easier to fit in Kim and Fernandez.