This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Just two days remain in the KBO regular season, but there's plenty still to play for. The Wiz and Lions are tied atop the standings, and the Twins are technically still in the mix for the number one seed, as they sit 1.5 games back. No one else has clinched a playoff spot, though the Bears and Landers both hold a magic number of one. The Heroes can still catch one of them if they win out while the other two lose out, but the defending-champion Dinos have been eliminated.
Friday's slate features four games, with the Landers and Eagles set for a day off. I'll break down all four contests here, giving my thoughts on all eight starting pitchers and the hitters I'd look to use against them while also offering a pick on the moneyline and over/under.
Wiz at Heroes
Odrisamer Despaigne, Wiz ($8,400): Despaigne's second season in Korea has been a very successful one, and he's a big part of why the Wiz have a shot at the number one seed. After posting a merely decent 4.33 ERA and 1.45 WHIP last year, he's recorded a much better 3.29 ERA and 1.32 WHIP this season. A drop in BABIP from .326 to .294 accounts for some of that improvement, but he's also seen his strikeout rate jump from 16.4 percent to 20.7 percent. The veteran righty has remained strong down the stretch, posting a 2.33 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in four October starts, though his 5.0 K/9 over that stretch is cause for at least some concern. He isn't a steal here at his fairly high price, but he's a playable option against the fourth-ranked Heroes lineup.
Heroes hitters: Despaigne doesn't quite reach the threshold of scaring me away from the opposing lineup completely, but I wouldn't be excited to roster many Heroes here. That said, it's always tough to pass up Jung Hoo Lee ($4,600), who has a 12-point lead over Baek Ho Kang in the race for the batting title after hitting .600 with 10 RBI and two steals across his last five games.
Hyun Hee Han, Heroes ($7,200): Han had a solid first half, posting a 3.79 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 13 starts and one relief appearance. He was hit with a suspension for violating COVID-19 protocols over the break, however, and didn't return to the roster until mid-October. His first appearance since his return saw him allow four runs on eight hits against the Lions while striking out just one batter, and since then he's been limited to a pair of relief appearances. That five-inning start against the Lions presumably means he's stretched out enough to pitch deep into this contest, and he'll be on full rest, having last pitched Sunday, but he'll come with workload questions attached to merely modest upside, as his decent 3.95 season ERA comes with a sub-par 17.1 percent strikeout rate. That said, as the third-cheapest pitcher on the slate, he's at least a defensible budget selection.
Wiz hitters: Han is far from terrible, but I'd still be happy to include a few Wiz hitters in my lineup. Baek Ho Kang ($4,300) isn't the dominant force he was in the first half, but he has no business being anywhere near this affordable given his .346/.456/.521 season slash line. Han Joon Yoo ($2,500) hits directly behind him and remains one of my favorite budget options, especially as he's riding a streak of four straight multi-hit games.
Pick: Wiz (-140) and Over 7.5 runs (+100). I don't love the Wiz's odds here given Despaigne's lack of whiffs in his recent starts, but I think they're just barely good enough to lean in that direction considering the questions surrounding Han. Given that I'm not fully convinced about either pitcher and given that both lineups rank in the top half, the over/under seems to be at least a run too low.
Twins at Giants
Chan Kyu Im, Twins ($7,500): Im's overall 4.08 ERA and 1.29 WHIP are adequate enough, but they improve to 3.10 ERA and 1.14, respectively, if you toss out his two disastrous starts to open the year. If those latter numbers represented his true talent level, he'd be quite an interesting option here, but there are many reasons not to fully trust him. He's been helped by a .251 BABIP this year, as his combination of a 16.6 percent strikeout rate and 10.9 percent walk rate is unimpressive. He's also coming off a pair of poor starts, allowing a combined seven runs on 10 hits in 9.1 innings while walking six and striking out just five. That makes him a tough sell here against a Giants team that's tied for second in scoring.
Giants hitters: Im falls in the bottom half of the starters on Friday's slate and the Giants have a strong offense, so this looks like one of the better stack options. Ah Seop Son ($4,400), one of the team's only left-handed hitters, is the obvious choice to lead the stack, as he's hit an incredible .579/.619/.921 over his last 10 games. There are plenty of options to pair him with, with Dae Ho Lee ($4,800), Jun Woo Jeon ($4,600) and Dong Hui Han ($3,900) all swinging fairly well in recent games.
Dan Straily, Giants ($8,100): Straily has struggled significantly at times this season, as his 4.09 ERA and 1.38 WHIP are nowhere near the 2.50 ERA and 1.02 WHIP he posted last year. Both his strikeout and walk rates have trended in the wrong direction by approximately three points, though his combination of a 23.3 percent strikeout rate and 9.2 percent walk rate is still a strong one and suggests he deserves better than his modest results. He's looked like the 2020 version of himself down the stretch, cruising to a 2.51 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in his last five starts while striking out 35 and walking six across 28.2 innings. His past success makes it much easier to believe that his recent run aligns with his underlying talent, making him easily the best value on the slate at his surprisingly affordable price.
Twins hitters: Straily is one of the best pitchers on the slate and is in good form, while the Twins rank third from the bottom in scoring. I wouldn't recommend any of their hitters for Friday's contests.
Pick: Giants (-140) and Under 9 runs (-120). The only reason to pick the Twins here is that they technically still have something to play for while the Giants have already been eliminated, but Straily is too good right now to pick against. While the Giants do have a strong lineup, I'd expect Straily to hold the Twins to a low enough score to keep this game under nine runs.
Bears at Tigers
Myeong Sin Kim, Bears ($5,600): In theory, any pitcher who starts against the last-ranked Tigers lineup is worth a look, but that only applies to actual starting pitchers. Kim won't be one of those, as he's already pitched out of the bullpen twice this week, tossing an inning Tuesday and another Wednesday. He's topped out at three innings this season and hasn't thrown more than two since late May, so don't expect him to throw more than two here. While he does own a respectable 4.13 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 65.1 innings of relief, he won't pitch deep enough in this game to be worth consideration.
Tigers hitters: Even a lineup as poor as the Tigers' is worthy of stack consideration against a true bullpen game. Many of the team's best bats have been on the bench for the past few games, however, so it may simply not be possible to put together a palatable stack. Dae In Hwang ($2,500) is worthy of consideration on his own as a budget third baseman, as he's hit .309/.333/.600 with four homers and 12 RBI over his last 13 games.
Joong Hyun Yoon, Tigers ($5,900): Yoon may own a decent 3.58 ERA in 78 innings as a swingman this season, but the rest of his statline fails to back that up. He's failed to strike out more than three batters in any of his outings this season, with his 9.2 percent strikeout rate coming in barely above his 8.4 percent walk rate. That lack of whiffs isn't a surprise considering that Yoong was merely an eighth-round pick back in 2018, is just now making his KBO debut at age 26 and averages just 85.3 mph with his fastball. His inability to generate whiffs makes him an uninteresting fantasy option against most lineups, so it would be tough to look his way even if he weren't facing a strong Bears unit. If you're desperate to save cash, he's your best option, since Myeong Sin Kim is merely an opener, but I'd recommend saving space elsewhere.
Bears hitters: The Bears are probably the best lineup to stack Friday, as they're tied for second in scoring and face the day's weakest starting pitcher. Jae Hwan Kim ($4,400) has started to pull himself out of a funk, grabbing a hit in three straight games. Pairing him with Jose Fernandez ($4,600) and Soo Bin Jung ($3,700) gives you a trio of lefties who hit in the top four spots in the order.
Pick: Bears (-155) and Over 9 runs (-120). Even on a bullpen day, the Bears still stand as clear favorites against the toothless Tigers. They could well reach the over all by themselves here, but even the poor Tigers lineup should be able to do its part in hitting that number given that they get to face relievers all day.
Lions at Dinos
Jung Hyun Baek, Lions ($8,900): Judging purely by ERA, Baek is the best pitcher on Friday's slate, as his 2.58 mark leads the pack Friday and sits second overall among qualified starters. The rest of his numbers don't come close to suggesting that he's one of the league's elite pitchers, however. His 1.25 WHIP is nothing special, but even that mark likely owes a lot to his .271 BABIP. His control has been good but not elite, as seen in his 8.6 percent walk rate, a number which normally wouldn't be nearly good enough for an ERA this good when paired with a below-average 16.6 percent strikeout rate. His high price tag makes him a somewhat unappealing choice given those mediocre peripherals, but a matchup against a Dinos team that could be resting regulars from its seventh-ranked lineup after getting knocked out of the playoffs Thursday does make him at least worth consideration.
Dinos hitters: While Baek's ERA overrates him by a fair amount, he's still a solid starter, so I'm not all that excited about rostering any Dinos hitters here, especially given that I'm worried the team might rest players immediately after getting eliminated from contention. If Aaron Altherr ($5,200) plays, however, he could be worth shelling out for, as he's hit .337/.413/.663 with eight homers and seven steals in his last 25 games.
Drew Rucinski, Dinos ($9,200): You could make the case that Rucisnki should be cheaper than Dan Straily, but he doesn't look very out of place as the most expensive pitcher on Friday's slate, especially as the sixth-ranked Lions lineup looks even more mediocre away from the team's hitter-friendly home park. After posting an identical 3.05 ERA in both of his first two seasons in Korea, Rucinski looked set to finish with even better numbers this year, as he owned a 2.72 ERA as recently as October 6. His next two outings went terribly, however, as he allowed 16 runs (14 earned) on 18 hits across just seven innings of work. That could make him an unappealing choice here if not for the fact that he rebounded with a gem his last time out, striking out 11 Tigers while walking none and allowing one run on six hits across seven innings of work.
Lions hitters: Rucinski is one of the best pitchers on the slate, so I'm not very interested in selecting any Lions. His poor outings in mid-October could potentially have made the Lions interesting, but his bounceback start his last time out means I'm no longer interested.
Pick: Dinos (-120) and Under 7.5 runs (-105). This is the one I'm least confident about, as I'm unsure how much the Dinos will care about the result. Assuming a full-strength lineup, I like Rucisnki enough to give them the slight edge here even though the Lions have something to play for, but a Lions pick isn't hard to justify. I'd expect a low-scoring game given the quality of the starters, though the over/under is low enough that I don't hate the opposite pick.