This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
We're near the end of the 2021 KBO season, with just two weeks left in the regular season. The tail end of the KBO schedule contains a few weeks of makeup games for the frequent rainouts which occur every summer, so there aren't many full slates left. There are just four games on the schedule Tuesday and just three the following two days. With teams having more off days, however, that means they can skip their back-end starters, so the quality of starting pitching should in general be higher. That's certainly the case on Tuesday's slate, which features four foreign starters as well as a few strong Korean arms.
Ariel Miranda ($9,900) had what amounted to a bad start by his incredibly inflated standards his last time out against the Wiz. His 16.1 fantasy points (the result of a six-inning, three-run, seven-strikeout performance) represented his lowest total since mid-May, yet that would have stood as an above-average outing for all but one pitcher on Tuesday's slate, a group that certainly isn't weak. Miranda has simply been a tier above the rest of the league this season, as he leads all qualified starters in ERA (2.38) thanks in large part to a 32.0 percent strikeout rate. Only one qualified starter (Wilmer Font, who trails him by a fair margin at 26.7 percent) comes within seven percentage points of that league-leading mark. Miranda is pitching in a theoretically tough spot Tuesday, as he'll face the Lions in the league's most hitter-friendly park, but he strikes out so many batters that the stadium's dimensions may not matter much.
Woo Jin An ($8,400) carries the second-highest price tag on the slate, though he's still affordable enough that a Miranda-An pairing is possible if you can find a few cheap bats you're comfortable with. That pair would give you a ton of upside. An, a 22-year-old righty, stumbled to a 6.14 ERA and 1.91 WHIP in four April starts, but he's been among the best starters in the league since then, cruising to a 2.85 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in his last 15 starts while striking out more than a batter per inning. He did have one awful outing in his first October start against the Lions, giving up seven runs in three innings without recording a strikeout, but he turned the page quickly with a seven-inning, two-run, three-hit performance against the Dinos, meaning he's now allowed two or fewer earned runs in seven of his last eight starts. He should make that eight out of nine Tuesday against a Twins lineup that ranks eighth in scoring.
It's not often that you'll find Wes Parsons ($7,000) as one of the cheapest pitchers on the slate. He's coming off an outing in which he allowed six runs on 10 hits in six innings of work against the Heroes, but his 7:0 K:BB in that start suggests there isn't much reason to worry. He's been strong overall since the Olympic break, with his 3.69 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over eight starts narrowly beating out his 3.80 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 13 first-half outings. Like Miranda and An above him, he offers plenty of strikeout upside, as his 25.0 percent strikeout rate ranks fourth among pitchers who've thrown at least 100 innings. His 12.1 percent walk rate does make him a bit of a risk, but it's one that's well worth taking at his surprisingly low price, even against the second-ranked Wiz lineup.
Few hitters are as hot as Shin Soo Choo ($5,400) is right now. The 16-year MLB veteran isn't fading down the stretch like you might expect a player of his age would but is instead in the middle of one of the best stretches of his season. Over the last month, a stretch of 23 games, he's hit .346/.514/.538, walking more than once per game while adding four homers and five steals. His .261 average on the season is perhaps below expectations, but it comes with a .414 on-base percentage thanks to his league-leading 17.7 percent walk rate. He actually only has two hits in the last five games of that stretch, but he's still gotten on base over half the time in those games thanks to his seven walks. He should get on base multiple times yet again Tuesday, as he'll get the platoon advantage against Tigers righty Bo Takahashi, who's allowed 12 runs on 18 hits over his last two starts.
Jung Hoo Lee ($4,500) is confusingly affordable on this slate. If the 23-year-old outfielder was in a slump, his price tag might make some sense, but it's tough to say he is. He's gone hitless in two straight starts (and three games overall), but that immediately followed a seven-game stretch in which he had five multi-hit performances. The modest power that Lee showed last season, when he smashed his previous career high of six homers by clearing the fence 15 times, has mostly dissipated, as he only have five homers this season, but he's hit an excellent .354/.435/.505 nonetheless, ranking second with 39 doubles despite appearing in just 114 games. Twins righty Chan Kyu Im, who owns a 3.76 ERA, won't be the easiest opponent, but Lee is too good to pass up at this price.
While I did mention Wes Parsons as a strong budget pitching option above, you're going to have to select some batters against some solid starters on this slate, as there are very few weak links on the mound. Han Joon Yoo ($2,800) provides an inexpensive way to bet against Parsons if you're wary of paying up for the Wiz's biggest bats. Yoo has frequently occupied the cleanup spot in recent weeks and benefits from getting to hit behind the likes of Baek Ho Kang and Jae Gyun Hwang. He doesn't have much power at this stage of his career, homering just three times in 293 trips to the plate, but his overall .296/.416/.387 slash line is more than good enough to justify his very low price tag.
Sticking with the theme of selecting batters who are stuck facing strong pitchers, you may wind up looking at a few Dinos against Wiz righty Je Seong Bae, who owns a 3.37 ERA on the season but a 5.06 mark over his last three starts. If Bae scares you off the team's more expensive bats, consider Ki Hwan Kim ($2,800) instead. Kim isn't anything special at the plate, as he owns a .624 OPS on the season, but he's led off for the team in three straight games. Anyone who gets to hit in front of players like Sung Bum Na, Eui Ji Yang and Aaron Altherr is someone worth considering, so Kim (or whoever hits in that spot Tuesday) is worth a look at this kind of price almost regardless of their own profile. While Kim doesn't do much at the plate, he's quite a threat on the basepaths, as he's stolen 15 bases in just 54 games.
Stacks to Consider
Min Jun Choi stands out as the clear outlier among this strong group of pitchers, justifying a stack of the anemic Tigers lineup. Even Choi is perhaps less of an appealing target than he normally is, as he's allowed just two runs on five hits across his last two starts, but his overall track record still marks him as someone you'd like to load up against. The 22-year-old's previous KBO experience included just five innings back in 2018, and he hasn't done much to impress this season. Through 10 starts and 25 relief appearances, he owns a 5.70 ERA and 1.63 WHIP, striking out 15.4 percent of opposing batters while walking 12.9 percent. We'll go here with the typical top three lefties in the Tigers' lineup, begrudgingly turning to Hyoung Woo Choi and Tucker despite their disappointing seasons in hopes that a matchup this good helps them hit like they did last season, when they finished second and sixth, respectively, on the OPS leaderboard.
Ordinarily, Montgomery's unimpressive first nine KBO starts wouldn't be enough to place him as one of the bottom two starters on a given slate. Players with MLB experience deserve the benefit of the doubt through some early struggles, and his poor 5.49 ERA and 1.56 WHIP at least come with a 22.2 percent strikeout rate. Given how strong the competition is Tuesday, however, he's an appealing target, especially given that he'll be pitching in the most hitter-friendly park in the league. We'll prioritize the Bears' righties here to get the platoon advantage against the southpaw, though you could potentially substitute a left-handed bat for Heo, who's been slumping lately and has dropped down the order.