This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Wednesday's four-game KBO slate featured a number of top pitchers, most of whom delivered as expected. Ariel Miranda and Je Seong Bae both allowed three runs in six innings, with Miranda striking out seven batters, but it was Miranda's Bears who emerged 5-3 victors after scoring twice in the late innings. Elsewhere, Mike Montgomery's Lions defeated Bo Takahashi's Tigers by the same score, with Takahashi striking out eight batters to Montgomery's seven but also allowing four runs to Montgomery's two. On the offensive side, the Heroes provided the best stack options, scoring eight runs in total and six off of Wes Parsons, with Hye Seong Kim and Jung Hoo Lee both grabbing two hits while Will Craig homered and drove in four.
We'll have another four-game slate Thursday, with neither the Landers nor the Eagles scheduled to play. The pitching pool is stronger than average again but not to quite the same extent as Wednesday.
Casey Kelly ($9,000) is an outstanding option in cash games, where the balance tilts towards high ceilings over high floors. A bad game for the veteran righty these days involves him allowing four earned runs, as he hasn't given up more than that number in any of his last 17 starts. That's not to say he's all about floor, either, as he owns an excellent 2.54 ERA over that stretch. His control has been a bit shaky recently, as he's walked 11 batters over his last three starts, but he only allowed three total runs over that stretch, so there doesn't appear to be too much to worry about. The third-ranked Giants lineup isn't an easy matchup, but they do skew heavily right-handed, and Kelly is more or less matchup-proof at this stage.
While Kelly may be the safest option on the slate, Tae In Won ($7,800) is the clear top value. It's hard to see why the pitcher who's scored the most points per game on the slate would be cheaper than four other options. It's true that he's been shakier recently than he was for most of the season, producing three single-digit performances in his last five starts, but he's coming off a strong performance against the Dinos in which he allowed just two runs over seven innings of work. Overall, he owns a 2.88 ERA on the season even while making half his starts at Daegu Samsung Lions Park, the most hitter-friendly venue in the league. He won't be held back by that stadium Thursday, as he'll be on the road against the Tigers, who rank last in the league in scoring.
For an even cheaper option, Min Hyeok Shin ($6,300) deserves strong consideration. Even looking at just his season-long numbers, he's at a fine price point, as his 4.61 ERA and 1.42 WHIP certainly aren't exciting but also aren't unplayable. If he maintains his strong recent form, however, he'll be a steal. Over his last three starts, he's allowed just a single earned run on 11 hits in 20 innings of work, striking out 15 while walking five. On the season overall, control has been his strength, and his strong 6.9 percent walk rate should continue to offset his below-average 16.6 percent strikeout rate. It won't cost much to bet on his strong streak continuing here against a Heroes lineup that sits a modest fifth in scoring.
The Lions are more exciting when they play at home, but Ja Wook Koo ($5,400) is worthy of consideration in any stadium. He remains one of just two players (alongside Shin Soo Choo) with at least 20 homers and 20 stolen bases, as his 20 bombs tie him for 11th in the former category while his 27 steals are good for fourth in the latter. He's done all that while hitting .305/.365/.512, with his .877 OPS representing his best mark since 2018, when the KBO's baseball was still juiced. Koo owns an excellent 1.030 OPS and a 7:7 BB:K over his last 17 games and should stay hot Thursday, as he'll get the platoon advantage against Tigers righty Daniel Mengden and his mediocre 4.20 ERA.
The Twins have struggled to get all of their top bats going at once, but it's now Hyun Soo Kim ($4,800) who looks like the team's most exciting option. Over his last 10 games, the veteran outfielder has hit .325/.386/.500 while striking out just twice and even adding two steals. Don't expect him to keep swiping bags, as he only has three stolen bases on the season and had zero in 2020, but the strong performance at the plate should continue. Kim has been a very steady presence at the plate throughout his career, posting an OPS north of .800 in 11 of his last 12 seasons and an .893 mark overall. He'll be a strong option Thursday against Giants righty Se Woong Park, who's been strong overall this season but owns a 7.54 ERA and 1.68 WHIP in his last four starts.
While I did mention Min Hyeok Shin as a budget pitching option above, he's certainly not good enough to scare you away from selecting any Heroes hitters should you elect to look elsewhere for your pitching spots. Byung Ho Park ($3,700) offers a budget option at first base (typically a very expensive position) for those who would rather pay up on the mound. The 35-year-old isn't close to the player whose resume includes a pair of 50-homer season in Korea and a brief stint at the MLB level with Minnesota, but he's been swinging a hot bat recently. He has five hits in his last two games and a 1.020 OPS over his last 17.
It's often worthwhile to keep an eye on recent changes atop a team's batting order (which can be done using our batting order pages), as you'll sometimes see inexpensive options suddenly step into a prime spot in the batting order. Ji Chan Kim ($3,300) has taken over the leadoff spot in the Lions' last two games and will deserve far more consideration than normal if he bats there again Thursday. The 5-foot-4 infielder is as light of a hitter as you'd expect someone of his stature to be, as he's homered just once in each of the last two seasons and has a grand total of 13 extra-base hits in 244 career games, but he's far from a total zero at the plate. He makes good contact, striking out just 9.5 percent of the time while hitting .281, and he's a threat on the basepaths, where his 21 steals are good for ninth in the league. That's enough of a package to make him a solid budget option at second or third base as long as he continues to hit in front of the Lions' best bats.
Stacks to Consider
There really isn't a pitcher on the slate that I'm particularly excited to stack against, but we may as well start with the starter whose 4.64 ERA and 1.57 WHIP both rank last among this group of arms. Choi's primary problem is that he allows far too much contact, as his 13.6 percent strikeout rate ranks last among pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings. Often, that contact finds his teammates' gloves, as he's actually allowed two or fewer earned runs in eight of his last 10 starts. Sometimes, however, that contact keeps finding holes, as he allowed a combined 20 earned runs in the other two starts over that stretch. Given that he's struck out just a single batter over his last two outings, he seems due for another implosion here. With some affordable pitchers available on this slate, we'll pay up for the Dinos' three big bats here, trusting that getting the platoon advantage against Choi will help drag Na out of his recent slump.
So's inclusion as a top stack target here is mostly a reflection of the strength of this group of pitchers, as the 2020 Rookie of the Year is typically too good to find himself in this section. That's not to say he's been dominant this season, however, as his 4.46 ERA and 1.50 WHIP aren't anything to wrist home about. He's been inconsistent lately and frequently quite poor, giving up five runs in 3.2 innings against the Eagles in his last start in August before allowing seven runs while recording a single out in his second start of September. While he's only allowed three runs across his last two outings, that's come with a 4:5 K:BB, so it's hard to say he's turned things around. We'll load up on the lefties here to maximize the platoon advantage, though you could certainly make a case for ignoring that factor and selecting Kun Woo Park ($4,700) ahead of Kim, who's struggled in recent games.