This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
The Dinos and Giants proved to be the top lineups to stack on Thursday's KBO slate, scoring nine runs apiece in their respective victories over the Wiz and Eagles. Eui Ji Yang went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer for the Dinos, while Hoon Jung and Ah Seop Son each grabbed three hits for the Giants. Elsewhere, Eun Seong Chae had three hits and a homer to help the Twins past the Heroes by a 6-5 score, while the Landers' fourth through sixth hitters (Jeong Choi, Joo Hwan Choi and Yoo Seom Han) all homered to help their team defeat the Tigers, 6-3. On the pitching side, Won Joon Choi tossed 6.1 scoreless innings in the Bears' 6-2 win over the Lions, while Odrisamer Despaigne led the way with nine strikeouts despite allowing three runs and taking the loss against the Dinos.
It looks like we'll have another rain-free slate as we enter the start of a new set of matchups around the league. All five games will be included, despite the fact that the Heroes-Dinos contest starts half an hour after the rest.
The Landers didn't have much success with their foreign pitcher signings last season, so when Wilmer Font ($8,800) stumbled out of the gate by allowing four runs and lasting just two innings in his first KBO start, it understandably set off alarm bells. The alarm was evidently a false one, however, as he's been right up there with the best pitchers in the league ever since that outing, cruising to a 2.57 ERA and 0.96 WHIP over his last nine starts. He's also suddenly become one of the league's premier strikeout threats, raising his strikeout rate to 29.7 percent, the second-best mark in the league among qualified starters, after whiffing at least nine in each of his last four outings. That dominance should continue Thursday, as he'll get to face an Eagles lineup which ranks second-last in scoring and last in strikeout rate.
Ariel Miranda ($9,400) is the only pitcher ahead of Font on the strikeout rate leaderboard, sitting half a point ahead of him with a 30.2 percent mark. Early in the season, those whiffs were paired with a ton of free passes, as he issued 3.7 walks per start over his first six outings. He's since found the plate, however, walking a mere two batters per start over his last six trips to the mound. That's had the expected effect on his ERA, which sat at a 3.49 over the former stretch and 2.65 over the latter. Miranda doesn't have the easiest matchup Friday, as he'll be facing the second-ranked Wiz lineup, but his strikeout prowess gives him the potential for a huge point total on any given night and makes him always worth consideration.
Among the day's cheaper options, Woo Chan Cha ($7,300) looks the most interesting, primarily because he gets to face a Tigers lineup that's lefty-heavy at the top and ranks last in scoring. They've scored just 3.98 runs per game on the season and an even 3.00 thus far in June. Cha himself has made just two starts this season after missing the first part of a year while rehabbing the shoulder injury which cut his 2020 campaign short after just 13 outings. Those two starts have gone quite well, as he's allowed two runs on six hits over 10 innings of work, striking out 10 while walking five. The 34-year-old struggled to a 5.34 ERA last season, but he has several strong seasons on his resume, including one with a 2.14 ERA back in 2010. He's not the same guy anymore at the start of his 16th season, but he has enough left in the tank to justify his inexpensive price given the friendly matchup Friday.
Sung Bum Na ($5,500) isn't even at his best this season, and he's still one of the best sluggers in the entire league. His .878 OPS is his lowest mark since his rookie campaign back in 2013 but is a number most hitters in the league would love to match. He's tied for sixth with 13 homers and tied for fifth with 47 RBI. He's also been trending in the right direction lately, hitting .333/.375/.550 over his last 15 games, with three multi-hit games over his last five contests. He should stay hot Friday with the platoon advantage against Woo Jin An, a talented young righty who's yet to put everything together and has failed to complete the fifth inning in either of his last two starts.
Jae Il Oh ($5,100) has thrived since joining the Lions as a free agent over the winter. The 34-year-old was still a productive player for the Bears the past few seasons but appeared to be declining as one would expect at this stage of his career, slugging less than .500 in both 2019 and 2020, something he hadn't done in any of the previous four seasons. Through his first 40 games for his new team, however, he's hitting .299/.380/.556. He's been particularly hot over his last 18 contests, homering six times and driving in 20 runs while hitting .368. The veteran first baseman will get the platoon advantage Friday against Giants righty Enderson Franco, who's struggled to a 5.16 ERA through his first 12 KBO starts.
Geon Chang Seo ($3,300) has fallen short of expectations this season, hitting a modest .261/.384/.333. The Heroes have kept faith in the former MVP, however, batting him leadoff in each of their last four games. The role makes some sense, as he's still an on-base threat despite the fact that his batting average is as low as it's been in any of his 10 seasons with the team, with his 14.6 percent walk rate nearly matching his 15.3 percent mark from last season. He doesn't offer much power, homering just twice this season, but he's a good bet to score a run or two Friday if the Heroes go off against Myung Gi Song, who's struggled to a 5.93 ERA this season.
Ah Seop Son ($2,900) earns yet another mention in this space, as his price continues to drop despite the fact that it's quite clear he's turned his season around. The 33-year-old used to have some power and speed, homering 26 times in 2018 and stealing 42 bases in 2016, but he doesn't offer much except contact at this stage of his career. He's typically elite in that area, however, hitting .295 or better in every season since 2010 and finishing second among qualified hitters with a .352 average this year. He was hitting just .266 through the end of May, but he's hitting far better thus far in June, posting a .388/.464/.469 slash line. He's a good bet for multiple hits Friday with the platoon advantage against Lions righty Tae In Won, who started the year brilliantly but owns a 5.48 ERA, 1.74 WHIP and 16:14 K:BB over his last four starts.
Stacks to Consider
Jang wasn't particularly good last season, finishing the year with a 5.02 ERA and 1.61 WHIP, a near match for his 4.95 ERA and 1.64 WHIP from the season prior, but at least he struck out an above-average 19.1 percent of opposing batters, making him an occasionally usable budget fantasy option. That strikeout rate has collapsed to 12.6 percent this season, though that's hardly the only way he's regressed. His already poor 12.3 percent walk rate spiked from 12.3 percent to 16.4 percent, leading to a 5.97 ERA and 2.08 WHIP. That ERA could potentially be even higher if not for the fact that he's somehow avoided giving up any homers. He's coming off his best start of the year, as he allowed just two unearned runs in 5.1 innings against the Wiz his last time out, but that outing came with a 5:5 K:BB, so it's hard to say he's truly turned a corner.
We'll go with a trio of lefties here against the struggling right-hander, though Jang has been poor enough that you could certainly use the Landers' top righties as well. Bad batted-ball luck plagued Choo throughout the early part of the season, as he hit a modest .204/.368/.757 over his first 30 games in his home country, but he's looked like a player with 16 years of experience at the MLB level ever since then. Over his last 24 games, he's hitting .333/.477/.548. Choi was on a tear at the start of the season, posting a 1.013 OPS through his first 19 games, before missing nearly a month with a strained hamstring. He hasn't maintained that form since his return, but he does have three homers in his last six games. Han is consistently one of the best budget outfield options on most slates. He's homered four times in his last seven games and has now cleared the fence 24 times in 116 games over the last two seasons.
If the Tigers had any credible alternatives, Kim probably wouldn't still be in the rotation, but the team already ranks ninth in run prevention and is without both Aaron Brooks and Daniel Mengden due to injuries. The team could get sick of Kim any time now, however, given his awful 8.42 ERA and 1.77 WHIP through seven starts and one relief appearance. He gave up seven runs on nine hits in just 3.1 innings in his previous outing, which came against these same Twins, and there's little reason to expect anything different this time around. The young lefty is still just 22 years old, so he still has plenty of growth ahead of him, but he needs a ton of it to be a viable KBO starter, as he's struck out just 12.7 percent of opposing batters this season while walking 15.5 percent.
The biggest problem with stacking the Twins against Kim is that the lineup skews heavily left-handed, though they handled the young southpaw easily the last time they faced him. The stack features one lefty in Hong and a pair of righties. Hong does have the expected platoon split, but the leadoff man is still reaching base at a .412 clip against same-sided pitching, so he should have plenty of chances to score Friday. Chae has emerged as not just the Twins' best right-handed bat but arguably the best bat, period. He's tied for the team lead in homers (8) and RBI (34) and leads the team's regulars in slugging (.503). Lee isn't having nearly as good of a year, but he can at least partially blame a .244 BABIP for his .209/.341/.373 line. He's still frequently batting second in the order and is coming off a season in which he homered 17 times in 81 games while posting a .917 OPS, giving him plenty of upside for a low price.