This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Wednesday's four-game KBO slate on DraftKings was mostly low-scoring, with seven of the eight teams scoring between two and four runs. The Lions were the lone exception, as they put nine past the Heroes (including seven against the typically excellent Woo Jin An), with Ja Wook Koo driving in four. Strong pitching performances were much easier to find, with David Buchanan striking out nine while allowing just one run in six frames in the aforementioned game while Drew Rucinski's seven shutout innings beat Je Seong Bae's seven-inning, one-run performance in the Dinos' win over the Wiz.
We're back to a usual five-game slate Thursday. Note that the starters for the Giants-Bears matchup have not been confirmed as of writing, as the teams will first be completing a suspended game which began back in June. The normally-scheduled game between those two clubs will take place after the conclusion of that suspended game and will be part of DraftKings' contests. In Bok Lee and Ariel Miranda will be on turn to start that game, so they're the assumed starters for the purposes of this piece.
Bo Takahashi's ($5,800) very limited KBO track record means he's one of the cheapest pitchers on the slate, but there's little reason to believe his price accurately reflects his talent. The Brazilian righty has been excellent through his first two starts in Korea and has yet to allow a run through 10 innings of work, striking out 11 while giving up just five hits and three walks. That's obviously a tiny sample size, but given that any pitcher deemed worthy of one of a team's two foreign pitcher slots is usually among the best in the league, the immediate dominance isn't too surprising. He'd be worth selecting even if he cost $4,000 more than he currently does, so he's a clear steal here even without considering that he faces the eighth-ranked Twins lineup.
It takes a bargain like Takahashi to push Ariel Miranda ($10,000) out of the top spot in this section, though the lefty still looks like one of the better deals on the slate even as its most expensive pitcher. He's been completely dominant in the strikeout department this season, with only Wilmer Font standing as the only qualified starter who comes within six percentage points of his 32.1 percent strikeout rate. He's gotten over some early command struggles and now pairs that mark with an 8.6 percent walk rate, helping him to a 2.33 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. You're all but guaranteed a huge performance with him on the mound, as he's struck out eight or more batters in 10 of his last 12 starts, a stretch in which he owns a 1.81 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. A matchup against the second-ranked Giants lineup isn't an easy one, but Miranda is as matchup-proof as it gets at the moment.
If you're shopping in the middle tier, consider Sang Back Um ($7,000). The Wiz have a very deep rotation this season, so Um would almost certainly have received more than seven starts if he played for any other team. He owns a 3.89 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, and he's gotten there in a fantasy-friendly way, offsetting a poor 13.8 percent walk rate with a strong 20.4 percent strikeout rate. That comes after he destroyed the Futures League since the start of last season, posting a 1.60 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 169 innings of work. The 25-year-old is still somewhat unproven, but he's a very interesting option in this price range against the seventh-ranked Heroes lineup.
Assuming it is indeed In Bok Lee who gets the ball for the Giants on Thursday, the Bears will have one of the better matchups of the night, as the 30-year-old owns a 5.66 ERA and 1.57 WHIP this season while spending most of his time in the bullpen. Kun Woo Park ($4,600) has been the best of the Bears' top bats of late and is the one to earn the mention here, though a number of the team's most expensive options deserve a look. He's riding a seven-game hitting streak, adding two steals over that stretch while striking out just twice. Park has been a solid second-tier outfielder for several years now, as his .850 OPS on the season marks the fourth straight year he's been between .841 and .862 in that category.
If the Tigers had a better lineup, they likely would have been one of today's top stack recommendations, as they'll face Twins righty Jae June Bae, who owns a 4.70 ERA as a swingman this season and hasn't finished the fourth inning in any of his four starts. Won Jun Choi ($4,900) deserves a look even if you aren't bold enough to fully commit to a Tigers stack, however. The leadoff man fits the traditional profile of that role, as he's homered just four times this season but sits third in steals with 28. He's also a strong contact hitter, striking out in just 9.4 percent of his plate appearances en route to a .294/.366/.383 slash line.
Sticking with the Tigers, I still can't quite quit Preston Tucker ($3,400), and getting the platoon advantage here against Bae makes me as interested in him as ever. Tucker was everything the Tigers could want in a foreign bat last season, hitting 32 homers and driving in 113 runs while slashing .306/.401/.557. His low price tag is well-deserved considering his poor performance this season, however, as he's cleared the fence just nine times while hitting .238/.335/.361. He's seemingly still seeing the ball just fine, as he's walked in 11.3 percent of his plate appearances while striking out 12.1 percent of the time, so his number should improve down the stretch along with his .256 BABIP. The matchup and his respectable .799 OPS over his last 10 games are enough to pull me back in here.
Ji Hoon Choi ($3,100) has moved back up to the leadoff spot in three of the Landers' last four games, and anyone who occupies that role for a good line up while being priced this cheaply is worth a look. Choi probably wouldn't be exciting enough to deserve a mention without considering that he gets to hit in front of the likes of Shin Soo Choo and Jeong Choi, but he's at least somewhat interesting on his own merits. He lacks power, but his .270/.350/.364 slash line is perfectly respectable. He's also added value with his legs and ranks fifth in the league with 23 steals. Toss in that he'll get the platoon advantage Thursday against Eagles righty Min Woo Kim, who owns a mediocre 4.20 ERA, and it all adds up to a package worth considering.
Stacks to Consider
Stacks against Landers starters will continue to show up frequently here, as the Landers have sent 17 different pitchers to the mound to open a game as they try to stay afloat amid an injury crisis. Jo is about to become the 13th of those pitches to make at least three starts, but he doesn't appear to be in line for many more. Through his first two outings, the 19-year-old rookie has allowed five runs in 5.2 innings, striking out seven while walking five. He doesn't seem to have all that much potential, either, as he was merely a third-round pick in the most recent draft and struggled to a 5.45 ERA in the Futures League prior to his promotion. The stack listed here features the Eagles' likely top three hitters. It bets on a bounceback from lefties Jung and Ha given that they'll get the platoon advantage here against Jo, pairing them with Choi, who has one of the best lineup positions in the league among all catchers.
Choi has been either excellent or awful lately. In three of his last six starts, he's allowed just one run. In the other three, he's given up 24 runs in just 7.3 innings of work. Overall, the bad has mostly started to outweigh the good, as he now owns a 4.76 ERA and 1.59 WHIP on the season. Much of the problem stems from the fact that he simply allows far too much contact, as he now owns a strikeout rate of exactly 14.0 percent for the second straight season. Allow that much contact to a lineup as good as the Wiz, and things aren't likely to go well. We'll go here with a trio who have frequently hit third through fifth for the Wiz in recent games. Kang is the clear gem here, as he's rebounded from a brief slump to post a 1.364 OPS over his last seven games, so you could really go with any hitters who wind up batting near him Thursday.